Welcome to The Hermanus History Society
HERMANUS HISTORY SOCIETY MEMBERS MEETING
Monday, Aug 2: 16.00 (see link below)
SELF-SACRIFICING MINISTRY? MORAVIAN MINISTRY TO SOUTH AFRICA'S LEPROSY INSTITUTION IN THE 19TH CENTURY
BY DR PIETER BOON
To date, little systematic research has been done into the Moravians' involvement in the care for those infected and affected by leprosy. The research used for this presentation goes back to the primary sources. Whereas secondary booklets from the 19th century especially emphasize the sacrifices brought in this ministry, the primary sources convey a more nuanced picture. The research has unearthed a remarkable and relevant aspect of the Moravian mission in 19th century South African society.
The fear of infectious diseases has been felt throughout human history. Many past and present societies have become caught in the grip of epidemics. This presentation explains why the Moravian mission in South Africa acceded to the request of the colonial governor in 1822 to become managers of the only leprosy institution in the country. From 1823 until 1844, the Moravians supervised the leper institution in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, near present-day Hermanus. In 1845 this leper colony was relocated by the government – striving for more isolation – to Robben Island in Table Bay, away from the mainland. From 1845 until 1868, this institution was also supervised by the Moravians. Robben Island became known as the home of lepers and prisoners.
This presentation provides answers to questions such as:
- Why did the governor approach the Moravians with this request?
- What were the Moravians' motives in sustaining comprehensive work among the lepers?
- Was this really a self-sacrificing ministry?
- Did fear of infection play any role?
- How did they run this 'mission station' among the most despised of society?
- What were the ethical and social consequences of the government's wish for stricter isolation?
- Why did the lepers refuse to be relocated to Robben Island?
Dr Boon completed his BA and B Honours degrees cum laude at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). He received his Master's degree in Theology at the University of Kampen (Netherlands). In 2015 he received his PhD at the Jonathan Edwards Centre (the University of the Free State in South Africa and Yale University), focusing on Moravian mission history in South Africa. He is the author of three books, including: The Funeral of Mandela: Mission in a Changing Country and Hans Peter Hallbeck and the Cradle of Missions in South Africa. He has published several articles on similar topics in South Africa and internationally.
Meeting ID: 867 1500 2526 Passcode: 14597
New books in the library
The interest in history started in 2007 when the late SJ duToit a well-known writer of the people and places related to Hermanus and Stanford, introduced Angela Heslop to local history. Five key people formed a group to undertake the task to create a time line of the history of Hermanus, requested by the Heritage and Aesthetics committee.
The Hermanus History Society (HHS) is working towards becoming the premier source of information concerning the history of the greater Hermanus area (from Voelklip to Fisherhaven), the Hemel-en-Aarde valley and selected inland rural areas. This information will be made freely available to all interested parties.