Greyton self catering accommodation, bed and breakfast and farm accommodation

Greyton accommodation establishments offer travelers to the village a variety of Greyton self catering accommodation, cottages, bed and breakfast venues and farm accommodation located just outside of Greyton in the surrounding countryside of this Overberg village. Greyton, South Africa, offers many restaurants and cafes, and offers the perfect conference or wedding location, being just one and a half hours drive outside of Cape Town.

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Genadendal History near Greyton South Africa

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Genadendal, which means Valley of Grace, located just 5km from Greyton South Africa, was originally called Baviaanskloof (Baboon Ravine) and was established in 1738 by the young Moravian missionary, Georg Schmidt. He arrived at a time when the Khoekhoen, already suffering under the influx of white farmers, were reeling from a smallpox epidemic to which they had no immunity. As a people they were on the verge of extinction and, against enormous odds, Schmidt formed a small congregation and taught the Khoekhoen to read and write. His good works came unstuck, however, when he began baptising the converts and the Dutch clergy based in Cape Town threw up their hands in horror. According to them, Schmidt was not an ordained minister and therefore had no right to administer the sacraments. In 1743 Schmidt was forced to return to Europe a disappointed man.

The mission station was abandoned until almost 50 years later when three missionaries returned to resume Schmidt’s work. A famous story from Genadendal is that, when the men returned to the forsaken mission station, they met up with an old woman, Magdalena, who still had the Bible she had been given decades before when she had been baptised by Schmidt. Although nearly blind, Magdalena had treasured her Bible safely wrapped in a skin until the missionaries returned to their flock at Genadendal. Her Bible takes pride of place in the village’s Cultural History Museum, and is one of the main attractions for visitors staying over in one of the many Greyton accommodation establishments. The three missionaries, like their predecessor Schmidt, also faced a frosty welcome by the Dutch Church at the Cape. Once again there were all sorts of objections to the work the missionaries were doing and they were initially prohibited from building a chapel or church and they had to meet in the open or in their rudimentary cottages. They were even refused permission to ring a bell to call the children to school and the congregation to assemble. British occupation changed this, however, and by 1800 the first church was completed, but it soon became too small for the rapidly expanding congregation.

The Khoekhoen laws of 1808 instituted by the colonial government only served to boost the mission station – although this couldn’t have been further from their intention. Under these laws, all Khoekhoen without a fixed abode were liable to be forced into farm labour. Given the dire conditions on farms, the mission stations, which provided access to land in return for conversion to Christianity, quickly became attractive alternatives and it’s hardly surprising that formerly nomadic people streamed into the mission stations. Genadendal was so successful that at one point it was the largest settlement in the Colony after Cape Town. But, it wasn’t just the church authorities that were unhappy. A group of Strandveld farmers also threatened to put an end to the missionary work. It’s not hard to understand why. At the time, the farmers were largely illiterate and were enormously unhappy about the idea of an educated and skilled underclass. They also faced an economic crisis, because of potential labourers that flocked to Genadendal instead.

But, despite all the political machinations, Genadendal flourished until the end of the nineteenth century and, significantly, the first Teachers’ Training College in South Africa was built there in 1838. Genadendal also opened the first guest house and chemist shop in the interior and in 1830 it had one of the best public lending libraries at the Cape. Things began to unravel in the 1860s, however, when factories began producing mass products that were much cheaper and people turned away from the hand-crafted items Genadendal was famous for. Residents had to leave the village and head to the city in search of work, which brought with it all kinds of social problems. Legislation at the time was also far from equitable and the Communal Reserve Act of 1909 for Mission Stations, which granted inhabitants occupational rights only but prevented them from getting property rights, caused an enormous rift between the missionaries and residents. The final blow came in 1926 when the Teachers’ Training College was closed down by the Department of Public Education who argued that coloured people didn’t need tertiary education if they were going to be employed on local farms. Dr. Isaac Balie is a committed Christian who can trace his family history six generations back to the Khoekhoen people of Genadendal. He works as local historian and Director of the Mission Museum.

Today Genadendal, with its 3 500 registered occupants, is a forgotten, remote, underdeveloped and degraded village, he explains. Not even the new democratic dispensation or the former State President, Mr Mandela, in renaming his official residence Genadendal, in 1995, could change its plight. Many residents pray now for spiritual revival that will save the community from total destruction. There’s always the chance for redemption and rebirth and hopefully Genadendal will soon experience another golden age. For starters, each year the museum reaps honeybush tea from plants nearby and packages this fragrant tea for sale at the museum shop. They also make honeybush iced tea – the perfect thirst quencher on a blistering hot summer’s day. It’s a small start, but there are plenty of Biblical stories of humble beginnings and grand finales.