The village of Wupperthal in the heart of the Cederberg has been devastated by fire which destroyed dozens of homes and community facilities. Below I will outline how you can help, and the historic importance of the village and its people.
Situated 250 kilometres north of Cape Town, the 1,600 people have strong links to the Cape’s coloured community and the Moravian church, which established the mission station in 1865.
Moravian Church minister Reverend Martin Abrahams says the extent of the damage is widespread. “We’ve lost a school hostel, which is supposed to house 220 children in two weeks’ time. We’ve also lost a community hall, along with a shopping complex and restaurant.”
Appeal for help
The families of Wupperthal desperately need help to rebuild their lives.
Moravian Church in South Africa
Account Number: 072906189
Reference: Wupperthal Fire
Address: Kenilworth Centre
Shop 32 A
Cnr Chichester and Converted Str
Swift Code: SBZA ZA JJ
You can also donate via this page
The information below is from Bishop Augustine Joemath of the Moravian Church:
Official drop- off points for Wupperthal as accepted by the Church together with disaster management:
1. Belhar: Helena Goliath, 1 Plein Street, Belhar, Tel: 021 953 3088
2. Brackenfell: No 2 Swart Street, Morgenster, Brackenfell
3. Citrusdal: NG Kerk Citrusdal and Clanwilliam, Elouise Jonker, Cell: 082 831 0775
4. Clanwilliam: NG Kerk Clanwilliam, Elouise Jonker, Cell: 082 831 0775
5. Fish Hoek: 1 Antique Avenue, Capri (Fish Hoek/Kommetjie area) Cell: 082 443 3038
6. Fish Hoek: Gail Marais, 8 Ash Street, Milkwood Park, Sunnydale, Fish Hoek, Tel: 021 785 4199
7. Goedverwacht: Moravian Church Parsonage (Rectory), Contact person: Debby Booys
8. Goodwood: No 63 Paarl Street, Good wood, Cell: 082 738 2702
9. Graafwater: No14 Olienhout Street, Graafwater, Cell: 073 538 3848
10. Kuils River: AJ van Rooy-Brandt, 19 Dreyer Street, Kuils River, Cell: 076 686 5816
11. Mamre: Moravian Church, Church Street ( Church Office)
12. Mitchell’s Plain: 15 Kunene Way, Portlands, Marcia Pearl Stemmet, Cell: 083 486 1445
13. Parow Valley: No 9 Eland Street, Parow Valley
14. Piketberg: 23 Calendula Street, Ray van Rooy, Cell: 083 657 9615
15. Saron: 41 Church Street, Cell: 076 686 5816
16. Vanrynsdorp: Tourism Office. Megan Gelandt, Cell: 082 611 3999
17. Vredendal: Tourism Office, Megan Gelandt, Cell: 082 611 3999
18. Ravensmead: 58 Hennie Fortuin Crescent, Ravensmead, Gaylin Daniels, Cell: 074 899 9687
Historic importance of Wupperthal
The villages date back to 1830, when German missionaries came to spread Christianity to the people of what was then a wild and often violent frontier. Theobald von Wurmb and Johan Gottlieb Leipoldt established Wuppertal with seven Khoi (or Hottentot) families.
The settlement grew with the abolition of slavery in 1838.
Leipoldt was a shoemaker and he established a shoe factory to provide some income for the community. ‘Velskoen’ as the shoes are known locally, are still made at a factory in the village. Many of the older villagers still remember the Moravian pastors who came from Germany, but today the church is run by the local community.
The people depend on a variety of sources for their income. Rooibos tea – enjoyed around the world – is grown on small farms in the area. There is some tourism. Trails have been developed, to bring cash to local people, who rent out their homes to the hikers.
The town also has a unique culture, drawn from its Khoi-San and Christian origins.
But right now this wonderful community needs help. Please give what you can.