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Swiss Mission in South Africa
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Swiss Mission in South Africa

  • ZA HPRA A1379
  • collection
  • 1876 - 1896

UNISA Documentation Centre for African Studies, May 1981.

The documents of the accession, totalling 118 pages, relate to the early work of the two missionaries in Valdezia between 1874 and 1899 and give an insight into the difficulties and hardships of early missionary life in Southern Africa of that period.

There is an extensive and almost complete set of correspondence (including copies and translations) and other documents in connection with the missionaries' requests to the authorities, namely of the Transvaal Republic, for permission to "preach the gospel to the heathen" of the Spelonken area. The request was refused in spite of the fact that the Church already owned a farm in Valdezia. Later after the two men had been taken to Marabastad and kept prisoner there for a considerable time for ignoring the orders from the State Secretary to cease their activities, permission was eventually granted to do missionary work - but only on their own farm! So the battle for recognition continued. Of special interest here is the 'Declaration' of the 'Commission des Missions' of October 1876 and a copy/translation of a letter from the President of the Swiss Confederation asking for the same rights to be given to Rev. Creux and Berthoud as to other missionaries of "friendly nations".

There is further considerable correspondence between Creux and the 'Commissaris naturellen' re various troubles concerning the local inhabitants in connection with work, taxes and warfare with chiefs Modjadji and Magato. Other letters deal with diseases and the need for vaccine, gifts of fruit, milk and meat. Documents concerning Albasini, 'Commissioner over the Natives of Spelonken' and 'Knopneus kaptein,' are kept separately.

All letters are, except where indicated, handwritten and in the original. They are in English, French and Dutch with a few in Tsonga.

The spelling of names of places and persons are given as they appear in the documents and therefore varies.

Swiss Mission

Sans titre

Letter from Secretary of State. Swart, to Mr A. Mabille re refusal of State President to grant permission to Parisian and Swiss missionary Societies to establish missions in the Republic: 18 December 1874, Pretoria.

Sans titre

Letter from D. Mare, Landdrost, to Rev. P. Berthoud, Spelonken: 17 January 1876, Marabastad. With translation into French.

Sans titre

Letters from D. S. Mare and W. Grieve, Veldcornet to Rev. E. Creux and P. Berthoud, forbidding them to do missionary work: 30 May, 1876, Marabastad and 7 June, 1876, Spelonken. (2).

Sans titre

Letter from Messrs Pullen and de Villiers to S. Schoch, Boschdal, re a resolution of the Executive that Rev. Creux and Berthoud produce credentials: 1 September, 1876, Pretoria.

Sans titre

Request from the President of the Swiss Confederation that the declaration above be taken cognizance of and that Rev. Creux and Berthoud "may enjoy the same rights as those who belong to other friendly nations": 9 November, 1876. (Copy and translation?).

Sans titre

Letter signed by "ministers of different churches of Jesus Christnow present in Pretoria" to Chieftain Magato of the Mapulana tribe advising him not to take part in unrest between Malaboch and the present government: 18 May, 1894, Pretoria.

Sans titre

Letter from Makatu Ramapulan (no addressee) in response to the above letter. 26 May, 1894 (in Tsonga).

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