Congregation: Mdantsane Moravian Church
Formation of the Moravian Church in the East London Area
Mdantsane Congregation formation is as a result of migrants from Shiloh in Whittlesea and Goshen in Cathcart. The formation of Moravian Church in Shiloh and Goshen during the 1800s brought about developmental projects for the inhabitants of the area. The German missionaries taught them things like brick making, brick laying, general artisan skill and improved agricultural practises. When an East London trading post was constructed in the 1870s at Buffalo River mouth, Moravians families in Shiloh and Goshen had already acquired and gained craftsmen experience. This development attracted them mainly because a serious decline in agriculture had emerged due to drought. They were starting to look for greener pastures and job opportunities utilising skills obtained from the Moravian Church.
In East London these Christians organised themselves and a Moravian Church worshiping place was soon formed in the early 1900s. Amongst the Moravian families who gathered together in East London were the Maqungos, Qoto, Baku, Mbebe, Ngani, Ben-Mazwi, Madyaka, Dipha, Nyusela, Kata, Cecane, Hlwati, Makalima, Mgqamqo, Fata, Fali, Rete, Nyamende, Mlandu, Mqede, Hlonyane, Njokwana, Kakaza, Mbadu, Malan, Magwentshu, Kweyama and many more. Some of the families came from the Transkei Region in the east and there were also some coloured families from Enon and Port Elizabeth area. We lost a number or coloured membership due to the Group Areas.
In a densely populated residential area of kwaTsolo in Duncan Village the Moravian Church in East London grew and they built their first church hall at the famous Church Street where they gathered for the Moravian three legged pillars of Scripture; Prayer plus Music and Hymn-singing. Music lovers formed Church Choirs which also took leading roles in Inter-Denomational music settings of the East London community with the Mbebes, Baku, Maqungo, Kata taking the lead.
Forced Removal from kwaTsolo and the settlement at Nu 4 Mdantsane Township
The National Party Government introduced and reinforced apartheid laws and policies that mainly dealt with Blacks in Southern Africa and their influx to cities. These laws were the 1952 Native Laws Amendment Act; Group Areas Act; Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act; Homeland policy. The authorities started a formation of homeland system and the removal of people to about 20 km from town thereby creating the Mdantsane to house Blacks in the Ciskei District. Our Moravian Church at KwaTsolo in the Church Street, alongside other churches were demolished, and Moravians started to worship in houses until the allocation of land for new buildings in the new Mdantsane settlement area.
The role of Rev Karl Schmidt who would travel from Shiloh to East London later to Mdantsane for services is commendable. This young religious activist didn’t just oppose authorities, he was leading a group which was trying to see to the allocation of sites for churches like the Moravian Church in these new settlements. Liaising with our Mvenyane Office and other German Partners they raised funds to put a formal structure for the church in Mdantsane in the Fourth Native Unit (NU-4) and by 1967 work had started to build the congregation.
On the 1st of September 1968 the Moravians in the Border together with the Moravians in the Province gathered to celebrate a Mdantsane’a big day. Fifty years later, on the 16th September 2018 our Bishop R. G. Ruiters, flanked by the MCSA Vice President Rev M. Abrahams and the local Minister Rev N. C. Tyokolwana witnessed a 50 year memorial Stone unveiling; ‘God has brought us this far’, 1 Samuel 7:12 as well as unveiling of a notice board which is part of remembrance where all the ministers and evangelists who served this congregation are listed. What a memorable even it was, the congregation is indebted to its Local Organising Committee.
The congregation recently formed its first Brass Band in the Border District, thanks to Brother Tyrone Hitzercth and Sister Jo-Lynn Telling of BBSA Eastern Cape. Our Brass Band has already participated in two BBSA-EC Festivals.
Although very small due to the fluctuating numbers because she is in an Industrial City, the Mdantsane Moravian church is growing slowly. It is a one of the financially strong and progressive congregations which is led by very capable and gifted individuals that can make sacrifices for their church.
No 9122 Nu 4, Opposite Cecilia Makiwane Hospital,
Minister: – Rev N. C. Tyokolwana
073 5299 616
Church Council: – Sr. N. Mabutyana
PLACES OF WORSHIP
TIMES OF SERVICE
Normal days and times of services)
Sunday Services 10H00
Women’s Manyano (MWASA) Prayers 15H00 (Thursdays)
Br. D Maqungo
065 1142 379
Sr. Z Hlonyane
072 1129 707
Sr. G. Melaphi
072 3459 278
Sr. KK Mabutyana
082 8230 995
Sr. Pat Magwentshu
082 3152 872
Br. B. Soyizwaphi
079 2686 350
Br. S. Maqungo
082 9562 820