The relationship between the Messina Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in Africa and the group that
left Kranspoort Mission Station, who settled in Nancefield in Musina, had an effect on the
researcher. The despondent feelings, sentiments of bitterness and grief of the group were felt
during church services, Holy Communion services and even during choir practices. The attitude
of the Kranspoort arrivals affected many leaders including the researcher s father who was one of
the leaders in the congregation in Musina. The continued resistance and ill feelings of the
Kranspoort forced removals were always echoed in their conversations.
Events were repeatedly told, which demonstrated the deepest dissatisfaction of how the land was
lost unexpectedly. The myth of how the land was rightfully acquired by the missionaries and how
it was bought remained unanswered.
The big question that was always asked was how the aim of mission work related to the occupation
and sudden takeover of the land. The land for Africans was never for sale, but for sharing, for the
sense of belonging and even for building good relations.
The approach of the whites was to obtain land first and do mission work second. This approach
was a recipe for conflict. The researcher s deep question then is this: why did these conflicts arise
if the core reason for the mission station was the Gospel? Why was there so much pain if the aim
of the mission station was the Gospel?
Chapter One of this dissertation is an introduction to the study. Chapter Two of the study starts
with the events in the Cape that led to the DRC getting involved in mission work outside of the
Cape. Influences from other churches that made the DRC get involved in missionary work are also
mentioned. This is followed by a discussion of the arrival of DRC and Lutheran missionaries in
the north. The role of black evangelists and their coincidental convergence with missionaries
around the area of Soutpansberg is also mentioned. Although black missionaries played a vital role
in pioneering mission work among their people, they are missing from the records of missionaries
despite the fact that white missionaries would not do anything without them. These black evangelists served as preachers in the remote areas where missionaries could not go
and served white missionaries personal needs such as getting wood and maintaining their gardens
and surroundings. The black evangelists were also bodyguards and served as advisers to the white
missionaries in cases where these missionaries were ignorant. These unsung heroes knew the
language of their people, they knew the cultural impediments that held people back from accepting
Christian teaching and they were also more mature and human to interact with their people.
Chapter Three traces the factors that were responsible for the development of mission policy. Land
issues, the plight of the poor white and the emergence of the black elite that fought against
inequalities made the white government introduce stringent rules that would ensure forced
compliance. The 1935 DRC Mission Policy was a direct product of the forces of the 1913 and
1936 Land Tenure Acts that pushed black people into barren land, rendering them hewers of wood
and drawers of water (Malala 2015:23).
Chapters four, five and six analyse the actual events that took place at the Kranspoort Mission
Station. The roles played by resident missionary Rev. Lukas Van der Merwe and mission secretary
B.F. Stofberg are discussed. Moreover, individual black leaders such as Walther Segooa,
Ramphele and others are scrutinised. Conflicts between Stephanus Hofmeyr s descendants and the
DRC about the ownership of the land are also assessed. In addition, ensuing court cases including
the Land Claim Court of 1998 with former Kranspoort residents who were forcefully removed in
1957 receive attention. The last chapter contains a summary and conclusions.
Lastly, the question posed for the researchers who will explore the question further is: How can
the former and the present community that originated from Kranspoort benefit from this history
and avoid making the same mistakes? Does the aim to do mission in South Africa still exist? How
does one read the signs of time?