SAOrgans
The only site on the web dedicated to

Southern African organs
 
 
 
Early Period (1652-1806)
General
The Dutch colony of the Kaap de Goede Hoop (Cape of Good Hope) was founded in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company as a halfway-house for ships on the way to India and the East. It remained a Dutch colony until 1806. However, Dutch occupation was interrupted from 1795 to 1803 when the British annexed the Cape, but seeing as very little happened during this time, it is largely ignored. From 1803 to 1806 the Cape was again under Dutch control. With the ending of the Batavian Republic in 1806, the British again annexed the Cape. It remained a British Colony until the founding of the Union of South Africa in 1910.

For more than three quarters of a century after the landing of Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope on the 6th April 1652, there was no development on the pipe organ scene. Until the founding of the Lutheran congregation in 1778 the only faith permitted was that of the Dutch Reformed Church. The first sacraments were administered on the 12th May 1652 by ds. Johannes Backerus, who came on shore from the Oliphant (which arrived on 7th May ) whilst en route to India. The first permanent minister was ds. Johannes van Arkel who conducted services in the fort - first in the hall and later (once the government's seat had moved to the Castle) in the hall of the governor’s quarters.

The Dutch congregation’s first church was located near the Castle and was consecrated in 1666. It was made of wood with a stone gable front, bricked floor and tiled roof. It had a rather transient existence, occasionally being required to do duty as a storeroom. It was destroyed by a gale in 1679. The cornerstone of the second church (later dubbed the ‘Groote Kerk’) was laid on the church's present site at the corner of Adderley and Wale Streets on 28th December 1700 by Gov. Simon van der Stel. The completed building was consecrated on 6th January 1704.

There was certainly no organ accompaniment in church during the 17th century. Congregational singing was led by a ‘voorzanger’. With the arrival of the French Huguenots in 1688 the need and desirability of organ accompaniment increased drastically. We can perceive the enthusiasm with which the various congregations acted in attempts to procure organs for their churches from an early date. The Metrical version of the Psalms was introduced on 21st May 1775 and this added impetus to the enthusiasm of congregations to aquire an organ.
 
Cape Colony (1795)
 
Map
 
Kapkolonie 1795
 
 
 
 
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