« Capecelatro, Alfonso Cape Colony Capen, Elmer Hewitt »

Cape Colony

CAPE COLONY: The most important of the British possessions in South Africa, comprising, in general, that portion of the continent south of the Orange River; area, 277,000 square miles; population (1904), 2,409,804, of whom less than one-fourth (not quite 580,000) are Europeans or whites; the remainder (still predominantly heathen) includes 1,114,100 Kafirs and Bechuanas, 310,720 half-breeds classed as Fingo stock, 91,260 Hottentots, 15,680 Malays, and 298,340 classed as half-breeds and of miscellaneous origin.

The more important religious bodies of the colony are as follows: (1) The Dutch Reformed Church, with 399,500 members (1904), of whom 296,800 were white. It is the church of the original European (Dutch) settlers, who spread widely through the land by conquest from 1652 onward. Their Church is governed by a general synod, whose sessions are held every three years. The separate congregation is administered by a church council (kerkeraad), and six to twelve congregations constitute a congregational circuit ("ring"), whose chosen representatives become members of the General Synod. A standing committee of the Synod administers the principal affairs of the Church as a whole. The colored congregations are for the most part the result of missionary labor; only a small number of their clergy have a higher education. (2) The Church of England, 281,440 members (122,560 white). The diocese of Cape Town was founded in 1847; the incumbent has borne the title of archbishop since 1897 and is metropolitan of the province of South Africa, which comprises nine dioceses besides the metropolitan see, viz.: Bloemfontein (formerly the Orange Free State, formed 1863), Grahamstown (1853), Lebombo (1891), Mashonaland (1891), Natal (formerly Maritzburg, 1853), Pretoria (1878), St. Helena (1859), St. John's, Kaffraria (1873), and Zululand (a missionary bishopric, 1870). (3) The Wesleyan Methodist Church of South Africa, 277,300 members (35,900 white). This body very early employed colored teachers and has applied less rigorous tests of conversion than others; in 1891 it had about 1,250 lay helpers. Two other Methodist bodies have an inconsiderable aggregate membership. (4) Congregationalists, 112,200 members (5,000 Europeans), for the most part connected with the London Missionary Society. The Congregational Union of South Africa was formed in 1900 from the Union of South Africa (1877) and the Union of Natal and Southeastern Africa (1882). (5) Presbyterians, 88,660 members (26,360 of European origin). The Scotch Church began missionary activity in the east of the colony in 1821. (6) Lutherans, 37,050 members (13,100 Europeans), mostly of German origin. They are united in the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of South Africa. (7) The Rhenish Mission Church has 20,800 members and (8) the Moravians 23,100, nearly all colored. (9) The African Methodist Episcopal Church has 12,060 members; (10) the Baptists number 14,100, of whom 9,950 are white, their congregations being organized practically on a European basis; (11) the Church of Christ has 7,600 members (1,075 Europeans), and (12) the South African Reformed Church 6,210, nearly all Europeans. Further, there is a group of mission congregations, of which the largest is Dutch (4,790) and the smallest American (215), and more than forty additional sects or denominations witness the tendency to religious division which manifests itself in English-speaking lands. For further information concerning missionary activity, see Africa, II.

The Roman Catholic Church has had a vigorous growth in the last ten years, and now counts more than 37,000 members (28,500 of European origin). The organization includes the apostolic vicariates of western and eastern Cape Colony, dating respectively from 1837 and 1847, with residence at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and the apostolic prefecture of central Cape Colony (1874), with residence at Cape Town. The Roman Catholic Church is active throughout South Africa and has established vicariates for Natal (1850), the Transvaal (1904), and Orange Free State (1886), and a prefecture of Basutoland (1894).

The Greek Orthodox Church reckons 1,050 adherents, almost exclusively European. The Israelites have decreased on account of emigration; still 19,500 remain. Mohammedanism is represented by 22,630 members (among them 15,100 Malays), 403and 2,035 Hindus are enumerated. In spite of the missionary zeal of so many Christian sects, more than half the natives continue in heathenism, the official figures of colored heathen being 1,015,230.

The number of illiterates, after deduction of children under school age, is 1,368,000. The religious bodies are engaged in active rivalry to meet the needs of education and thereby to increase their numbers, and the government has latterly applied itself to the building and equipment of schools on a scale of greatly increased expenditure. Attendance at school was made compulsory in 1905.

Wilhelm Goetz.

Bibliography: For general facts and status, J. Bryce, Impressions of South Africa, London, 1899. For statistics, South African Year Book, annual, London. For phases of mission and other church work consult: A. T. Wirgman, History of the English Church in South Africa, London, 1895; A. G. S. Gibson, Sketches of Church Work in the Diocese of Capetown, Cape Town, 1900; Mission Chronicle of the Scottish Church, with the Kaffrarian Diocesan Quarterly, Edinburgh; South African Catholic Magazine, Cape Town; Reports of the Wesleyan Missions in the Cape of Good Hope District, annual, Cape Town; Almanak voor de gerefoormeerde Kerk, annual, Cape Town; Handelingen [der Vergadering van de synode der gerefoormeerde Kerk, Cape Town (published subsequent to the meeting of each synod); J. Mackenzie, Day-Dawn in South Africa, London, 1884: idem, London Missionary Society in South Africa, ib. 1888; A. Brigg, Missionary Life in the South of the Dark Continent, ib. 1888; W. S. Walton, Cape General Mission, ib. 1889; A. G. S. Gibson, Eight Years in Kaffraria, ib. 1891; T. Cook, My Mission Tour in South Africa, ib. 1895; Merensky, in Missionszeitschrift, 1897–1898; Basler Missionsmagazin, 1900.

« Capecelatro, Alfonso Cape Colony Capen, Elmer Hewitt »
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