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Steynsburg, the small town with a big church

The town of Steynsburg in the Eastern Cape’s Karoo Heartland developed around the Reformed Church which was established in 1872 and was administered by a village management board controlled by the church.  Steynsburg is named after Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn, grandfather of President Paul Kruger.

The members of the Dutch Reformed Church from the district had to travel long distances (64km) to Burgersdorp by horse, horse cart and ox wagon to go to church and there was a need for their own church in the area. Not long after the town’s foundation, the town committee came up with a recommendation to donate 22 plots of land to the Dutch Reformed Church. However, the Reformed Church members were jealous of their monopoly and froze the idea.

Only six months after the committee’s proposal it was decided to donate and transport the plots as soon as a congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church was established. The transport of the 22 plots was given at the request of the Burgersdorp congregation in 1874 on the condition that money that was collected from its sale could solely be used for the benefit of Steynsburg.

In 1874, the construction of the first church building had already begun, the cornerstone of which was laid in March 1875. Especially through the hard work of Johannes C.M.D. du Plessis, the congregation was founded on 26 January 1876. In 1910 a tower was erected on the church building and further improvements were made in the late 1920s when a wing was added and a very efficient organ was built in. The organ was inaugurated on 12 and 13 March 1927.