Methodist mission stations in South Africa play an intricate part in our recent history. Methodism was brought to South Africa in 1805 by British soldiers stationed at the Cape, and by 1860 there were several Methodist missionaries in the Eastern Cape and Natal. In the surrounding region of Pretoria, the Kilnerton Methodist institute was established in 1886. The institute was named after Rev John Kilner, then secretary of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary society.
The Methodist church in South Africa encouraged the formation and education of an indigenous South African clergy. This created some tension between the church and the local government. Leading the church to protest and work against the apartheid regime, from the initial adoption of the ideology in 1948 to its downfall in 1994. An example of this is when Rev Seth Mokitimi was elected as president of the 1964 South African Conference, in spite of the possibility that the Church could be declared to be black and therefore be deprived of its properties. The Kilnerton institute became the site of the revival of John Wesley College, marking the re-establishment of Kilnerton as an education institution in 1994.
Some notable Alumni from this institute:
- Dr Stanley Mogoba (was the first Presiding Bishop of the MCSA)
- Dikgang Moseneke (is the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa)
- William Nkomo (was a medical doctor and a teacher, and President of the South African institute of Race Relations)
- Enos Makhubedu (a successful and respected artist)
- Miriam Makeba (was a Grammy Award-winning South African singer and civil rights activist)
- Lilian Ngoyi(was a South African anti-apartheid activist, she was the first woman elected to the executive committee of the African National Congress, and helped launch the Federation of South African Women)
- Sefako Makgatho(was a Politician, journalist, teacher and president of the South African Native National Congress)
The Kilnerton institute is located in Weavind park (a suburb of Pretoria) and is 300m from my doorstep. I’m amazed that several inspirational individuals are connected to this heritage site, and that we all at some time shared the same zip code. I walked past this heritage site daily, but new nothing of the history or significance of the Chapel on the hill. Great stories are waiting to be found, all we have to do is be more curious about the world around us.
Foster, D 2008. Prophetic witness and social action as holiness in the Methodist church of Southern Africa’s mission, viewed on the 11 June,
Wikipedia 2014, John Wesley College, viewed 11 June 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley_College
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) 2014, History, viewed 11 June 2014, http://www.methodist.org.za/heritage/south-african-history