The South African Slave Church Museum, formally known as The South African Sendinggestig Museum, is housed in a modest church in Cape Town Central in Long Street. It is one of the busiest and most popular streets in the city. The building was the first slave church built in Cape Town and is now a museum with a small exhibition of Protestant missionary work.
Originally it was only used as a place for prayer meetings, Bible studies and literacy classes and that is why it was called a “gestig” or “goefeninghuis” which means meeting house. It only became a church in 1824 for the KhoiKhoi people and the slaves who had converted to Christianity. There were many slaves in Cape Town at that time, brought in from all over Africa.
The museum hosts functions that foster unity of the community with events such as:
This was the first building in SA with a basilica and an apsis. All the windows have been made to replicate the floor plan. It is the only building still standing that has a lime concrete roof with a steep pitched roof. The fascia consists of Corinthian columns with moulded Cornice and Gable including a circular ventilator and four Urns. The building was built with quarry bricks as well as bricks they made themselves and includes the use of Robben Island slate for the entrance.
1804 - Building is inaugurated as a meeting hall
1813 - Heathen children and the slave’s children were taught to read and write at the church and later adults were given evening classes.
1838 - Emancipation of slaves
1901 - Church had 1 153 members in its congregation
1930 - During the 1930s it served as the office of the African People's Organisation
1970 - Became run down and was damaged by a storm in 1977
1978 - Completely restored to its former glory with the help of a print of the façade by Frederick Willem de Wet. The interior was also meticulously restored.
1979 - Inauguration of SA Sendinggestig Museum, also called the South African Slave Church Museum
There is no charge
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