“Kat River Mission, South Africa”

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0001 For April, 1839. 55

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Kat River Mission, South Africa.

A brief but gratifying account of the state of the Mission church schools in the Kat River settlement was inserted in the Missionary Magazine for December last, at which time we had also the satisfaction to communicate the return to the station of the Rev. James Read, sen., together with the turly pleasing circumstance under which he had recommenced his labours.  Since that period we have received a further report of the Mission from the Rev. James Read, jun., comprising a view of its state and progress during a greater length of time and including a number of interesting statements not contained in the former account.  Mr. Read, jun., arrived at the settlement in March, 1837, and the report which we have now the satisfaction to present, is dated Oct. 9, 1838, and embraces the chief details of the operations of the Mission during the whole of that extended interval. Mr. Read commences by noticing the extension and progress of education in the settlement.

Examination of the Children.

Since my return from England the number of schools has been increased to 17; in which are daily taught, 400 pupils, whose progress is very encouraging to us, and credible to the young native teachers who have the charge of them.  The course of instruction comprehends reading, (English and Dutch,) writing, arithmetic, geography, scripture history, and elements of the use of the globe.  During the past year we have had several most interesting examinations, which excite great interest among both parents and children.  Besides our monthly examinations of individual schools, we have had an annual and general examination of all the schools; and, as these are widely scattered, we invariably take 3 days to accomplish this eating cutie.  The children have to bring their provisions and bedding with them.

At our last annual examination we were honoured by the presence of Capt. Stretch, diplomatic agent in Caffreland, as our chairman.  This gentleman feels deeply interested in the education of the rising generation among the Hottentots.  We had about 1000 pupils present.

Juvenile Missionary Society.

After the examination was over, and the prices had been distributed, we had a most interesting meeting of the children in the evening for the purpose of forming a Juvenile Missionary Society; speeches were delivered by the schoolmasters,, and letters received from some of our young friends in England were read to the young people of Kat River.  It was, indeed, a most gratifying little meeting; and we hope it has served to interest our children in welfare of their neighbours the Caffres and the Tambookies, whose still unenlightened state was very impressively contrasted with their own

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by the speakers, and strongly urged upon their minds the necessity of eary associating in their feelings the spread of the Gospel in the world, with the moral improvement of mankind.

Names of Stations and Teachers.

The names of the stations at which schools have been established, are as follow : —Philipton, Balfour, Buxton, Lushington, Wilsonton, Bruceton, Upshall, Readsdale, Mankasana, Eyland's River, Upper Eyland's River, Blinkwater, Middle Blinkwater, and Lower Blinkwater, Maasdorp Valley, and three infant schools at Philipton, Buxton, and Readsdale.

The following are the names of the schoolmasters, and female teachers :—Henry Heyn, Coenrad Windroogel, Weyel Hunno, Philip Aithobel, John Frederyk, Nicholas Klaasen, Boozak Boosman, Gert Erasmus, John Foire, Frans Iamagen, Nićolas Christian, Adam Platjes, Dirk Hather.

Sarah Stoffles, Miss A. Read, infant school teacher at Philipton, and Elizabeth Foire, teacher of the infant school at Readsdale.

Appointment of Schoolmasters.

Within the last eight months, six of our pupils from the Philipton day-school passed their examinations for the office of schoolmaster, and have been appointed to their several spheres of labour; and it is pleasing and encouraging to see the attitude that evince in imparting instruction, and the pleasure they take in communicating knowledge to their little countrymen.  The more I see of working the system of native agency, and of growing intelligence and devotedness of our young men, more confirmed I become in the police we must ultimately look for the great results of Missionary enterprise.  Whether we look at the system in point of economy, the constitutional qualifications of the natives to endure the influence of climate, their acquaintance [with the habits, customs, and language of their countrymen, facilities they possess of ingratiating themselves with the people; and consequently the ready access they can obtain their understandings and affections:—all these considerations seem to warrant the conviction we entertain of the success that would attend the establishment of a comprehensive and well organised system of native agency.  The appointment of native schoolmasters has had a suprisingly beneficial effect on the young men, and even on the school children; as many of them are thereby encouraged to hope that they may at some future time be enabled to fill the situation of teacher, or other office of respectability, and are consequentaly led to apply themselves more diligently to the improvement of their minds, in order to qualify themselves to undertake it.

Education of Schoolmasters.

Previous to appointment the schoolmasters go through the following course :—English reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, Roman and English history, use of the globes, natural history, and English grammar.  After their appointment they are expected to pursue their studies by coming to Philipton once a week to receive such aid as we can give them; and I am glad to say that their improvement is very encouraging.  The books the Society sent us have been particularly serviceable in promoting our object.

Building of School-rooms.

Since my return from England, three new school-rooms have been built, and fourth is building, and all the people's own expense, except the furnishing them with seats, &c.

Local School Committee.

A committee under this name has been appointed, whose duty it is to co-operate with the Missionaries in extending the work of education in the Settlement, and watching over the instruction of the children.  I have found it advisable to invite some of the most intelligent and respectable of our young men to become members of the committee.  No sooner was the proposal made to them, that they came forward to join it.  Their principal work, as I have said, is to assist the Missionary in founding new schools, to see after the conduct of the schoolmasters, to take care that the people contribute regularly towards their support and to oversee the building of school-rooms, &c.  In the first place, but the appointment of such a committee, the people become interested in, and qualified for, the management of their own affairs, so as gradually to carry on the education of their own children, without looking ofr assistance to the parent Society; and, secondly, it supplies a stimulant to the exertion in our schools. There is nothing like giving men a voice in the management of their own institutions.   it seldom fails to produce good effects.

Besides superintending the schools, I take my regular turn in preaching and itinerating among the people.  To this I add superintendence, in part, of the two recently established settlements of Blinkwater and Fish River; both of which I am happy to say are doing well under the care of our two native teachers, Dirk Hather, and Andreis Jagers.  On my last visit to the Fish River,I was truly gratified to see the activity and devotedness of the native teacher to the

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concerns of the people, both spiritual and temporal.  I would conclude by desiring the continuance of an interest in the prayers of the Directors, and our other Christian friends in England, that the Lord would grant unto us greater grace, more devotedness to the work to which we trust he has called us, and make us faithful unto death.

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Item Details

Author(s) & contributor(s): Anonymous; James Read, Jr.

Date(s): 9 October 1838; 1 April 1839

Form & transmission history: Original letter, as edited and published in a British missionary periodical.

Original publication details: Missionary Magazine and Chronicle; Relating Chiefly to the Missions of the London Missionary Society 3, no. 25 (1 April 1839): 55-57

Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2020

Critical editing & encoding: Mary Borgo Ton, Adrian S. Wisnicki

Cite this digital edition (MLA): Anonymous; James Read, Jr. “‘Kat River Mission, South Africa’” (9 October 1838; 1 April 1839). Mary Borgo Ton, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, site launch edition, 2020, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020033_TEI.html.

Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Explore complete/original item: Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals, Part II: Empire

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