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Old Reformed Church Theological Seminary, Burgersdorp

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: In this building the Theological Seminary of the Gereformeerde Kerk in Suid-Afrika was established in 1869. In 1905 this institution was moved to Potchefstroom where it eventually gave rise to the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.
The Reformed Church in South Africa was founded at Rustenburg in the Transvaal on 11th February, 1859, with the Rev. Dirk Postma as the first and only minister. The need for more ministers arose immediately and already at the first session of the General Synod of the Church at Reddersburg, the training of ministers was discussed. At the outset the Rev. Postma himself trained the ministers, for instance Jan Lion Cachet. As a matter of fact, Postma acceded to a call to Burgersdorp in 1866 for he was convinced that conditions there were more conducive to the training of ministers. With the energetic support of the congregation he campaigned for the establishment of a theological school. The Church Council itself took the initiative and on 1st October, 1868, the above mentioned house, with the outbuildings, was purchased from a certain Wrench for £1 000 (+R2 000) as a second parsonage so that Postma could open the school there.
In 1869 the Synod approved of the establishment of a seminary and on 11th November, 1869, the opening took place at Burgersdorp with the Rev. D. Postma as first and the Rev. J. L. Cachet as second lecturer. The Rev. Cachet moved into the second parsonage and the outbuilding was used for the training of ministers. After that the church council transferred the property to the Reformed Church in South Africa.
At the outset the outbuildings were very unsuitable and they had to be rebuilt. The building contract, which a building committee of the Church concluded with the builder, William Warner, was drawn up on 1st September, 1875. Provision was made in the contract for one large classroom, 6 m long and 5,4 m wide with one door, one window, a fireplace and mantelpiece; one small room, 5,4 m long and 3,3 m wide, a cart shed and a stable.
The building was completed in 1876 and then put into service as a seminary. It was used as such until the end of 1904. In February, 1905, the Theological School was moved to Potchefstroom and out of it the present University of Potchefstroom developed.
This outbuilding has remained unchanged ever since it was built with this exception that the doors of the ‘wagenhuis’ and the stable were interchanged some years ago. Even the manger of the horses is still in the stable.
Proclaimed 1969
Visual Description: In Piet Retief Street, between President Swart Road and Chase Street, the old parsonage of the Reformed congregation of Burgersdorp is situated. Behind it stands a modest outbuilding. In this outbuilding the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in South Africa came into being in 1869.
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