On 4 August 2017, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) Chief Executive, Sonwabile Mancotywa, will be visiting a historic church building in Peelton situated a few kilometres out of King Williams Town. The Peelton Congregational Church was built in 1875 by Reverent Birt from the London Missionary Society. This 142 years old church also hosted a school that produced many of South Africa’s leaders such as Walter Rubusana, Steve Tshwete and others.
The building is said to be in a terrible state even though it is still being used by the largely impoverished community. The visit of Mancotywa, accompanied by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and some of the elders as well as alumni will assess the heritage value of the church and come up with interventions to rescue this historic building from disappearing.
“This could be one of the historic landmarks that represents the impact of mission stations to the people of the Eastern Cape province and later the country. It is important for the history to be preserved and find its place in the heritage landscape of South Africa. The value that this site may add to the lives of the community cannot be underestimated”, says Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa the CEO of the NHC.
In accordance with the National Heritage Resources Act (NAHRA), 25 of 1999, a building that is older than 60 years old should be protected and preserved. It is required that the government must grant permission for any construction that will temper with the building’s original state.