As a melting pot, Genadendal mainly has three blood lines that one can trace to Africa, West Europe and Asia. Most inhabitants reject the terms "coloured", "black" and "white", because a cultural group is not determined by pigmentation, but rather factors like language, religion and their daily customs. As an Afrikaans-speaking Christian community, the daily customs are acquired through acculturation from the above-mentioned pedigree lines. Miscegenation which took place over centuries, made Genadendal a close knitted community. In this article I want to focus only on our African (Khoi-Khoi) roots. It was in 1975 that I stood in front of a large painting in Zeist, Holland done by J. Haidt.
Johann Valentin Haidt may not be counted among the best artists of all-time in the art world, but he is surely regarded as a great artist who portrayed the soul of the Moravian faith-born on 4 October 1700 in Poland and studied Fine Art at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin. As a young Lutheran he was attracted to the more conservative and less ostentatious Moravian Church (seen as a sect at that time ) and in 1740 decided to join the religious community after participating in a "love feast" in London. After he had accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, he wrote: "After the Lovefeast (a traditional Moravian custom) …I wept about my sinful life…I had a mixed feeling of shame, grief, regret and joy. In short, I experienced heaven on earth and had afterwards no more doubts whether to join the Brethren Church (Moravian Church)." In the same year he settled in the Moravian town of Herrnhut, Germany ,where he began to paint both portraits and religious history works. In March of 1747, Haidt began work on a painting that would become one his best known pieces of art: “The First Fruits” or “Erstlingsbild”. This enormous painting depicts 21 people standing around the throne of Christ in heaven. These were the first Moravian converts to have passed on and who were considered as the first to enter heaven as the “the first fruits” of Moravian missionary work. Among them, on the far right hand corner is Kubido, one of Schmidt's Khoi converts , dressed in his karos . The original “First Fruits” painting (Haidt painted similar ones for Moravian congregations in Germany) was moved to Zeist, Netherlands, where it can still be admired today. It was here that I saw it for the first time. It was a touching moment for me, because I could relate with Kupido. cocktail party wears in yellow
Back in South Africa, the Genadendal Museum launched a major family research (genealogy) project. All available historical records, like baptismal, marriage, school and death registers (dating back to 1744) and meticulously kept by the missionaries, were used. The end result was that Genadendal is one big family and each traditional inhabitant can trace his or her family lineage to Kupido who was baptised by Georg Schmidt and who got the new name of Jonas. It took me two years to link the traditional families to one another for the period 1744 - 1844. Since then, there is a growing interest among people to come and trace their family history at the Genadendal Museum in order to set up their own family trees. Even some families on other mission stations, like Elim, Mamre and Enon can also find their ancestry in the Genadendal registers, because when the work started on these stations, many Genadendallers left to assist with the founding of these stations.
Our biological origin does not determine our eternal destination Yes, I am proud to be a South African, a Genadendaller, but above all thankful to be a sinner saved by grace , through Jesus Christ my Lord!
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8.