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.

Themes

  • Christian mission work and mission stations
  • Christian missionaries and the impact they had on slaves and the indigenous people of South Africa
  • History of the museum building
  • History of the SA Gestig congregation

Collections

  • Church objects
  • Documents
  • Furniture
  • Photographs

Activities

The museum hosts functions that foster unity of the community with events such as:

  • National Day events
  • Youth Events

Architecture

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.

Supporters

  • Former churchgoers and families
  • Museum staff members

History

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

Hours

  • Monday to Friday, 09h00 - 16h00
  • Saturdays (School Holidays only), 09h00 - 12h00
  • Admission

    There is no charge

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