Georgetown Buildings

Georgetown Mission in Edendale dates back to the 1850s and was originally the land grant farm ‘Welverdiendt’ which Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius received as a reward for his part in the Battle of Blood River (Ncome). About six thousand acres of this land were purchased by the missionary James Allison in 1851 to settle Swazi and Hlubi converts he brought with him to the area. The mission was named Georgetown after Governor George Grey, the Governor of the Cape, who supported the initiative. The black settlers became shareholders in the land, making the area unique.

 

The early dwellings, based on a Victorian veranda cottage profile endemic to the area, were originally built by out of mud brick, the mud obtained from the Msunduzi River. At the end of the 1860’s, a fired brick church was built which still holds the original Yellowwood pews and suspended yellowwood floors. Most of the local houses built at the time followed this Victorian aesthetic standard, with suspended timber floors, corrugated sheeting roofs, clipped eaves, usually with a saddle ridge and occasionally with a wolwe-end or Dutch Hip.

 

Pupils at the school have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Luthuli, Musician Caluza, the activist brothers Selby and Richard Msimang, authors Professor Nyembezi and RRR Dlomo, Inkosis Dambuza and Mini, the artist Gerard Bhengu and environmental activist ‘Treeman’ Mazibuko. The buildings at Georgetown did fall into disrepair but much restoration work has been done including that to a house known colloquially as Potolozi, which is attributed to Andries Pretorius. Efforts have also been made to develop the site for tourism.

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