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By S. Duff

This ebook opens up histories of formative years and early life in South African historiography. It appears to be like at how childhoods replaced in the course of South Africa's industrialisation, and strains the ways that associations, first the Dutch Reformed Church after which the Cape govt, tried to form white early life to the long run advantage of the colony.

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Extra info for Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony: Dutch Reformed Church Evangelicalism and Colonial Childhood, 1860–1895

Sample text

The longer I knelt, the more anxious I became. ’ Miss Sheasby moaned beside me. ) But that was the extent of Petronella’s conversion – and, indeed, of that of her friends. Within a few weeks, their fear of damnation receded and everything went back to as it had been. Van Heerden’s account is useful because it describes how a child from a Dutch Reformed, but not especially pious, family responded to the church’s revivalism. The daughter of a prominent Orange Free 42 Changing Childhoods in the Cape Colony State family, Van Heerden was accustomed to attending church, Sunday school, and DRC events for children, but resisted ministers and teachers’ attempts to push her into conversion.

This revival did not pose any threat to the authority of the DRC or its ministers. It was encouraged within the confines of the school, and by a set of methods employed by a minister who had a clear aim in mind: to persuade as many children as possible to confess a desire to become saved. Children’s sermons permitted children to behave emotionally, irrationally, and noisily as they participated in the revival, but within a carefully controlled and patrolled space and with very particular aims. In the middle decades of the century, the DRC altered from being a moribund social gatekeeper to the evangelical centre of congregrants’ lives.

Other ministers were as suspicious of the shouting, wailing, weeping, fainting, and speaking in tongues which occurred at revivalist meetings. H. 49 These ministers were unsettled by their inability to control prayer meetings often begun and sustained by young people, many of whom were black. 51 However, having participated in and witnessed revivals abroad and aware of their usefulness for reinvigorating churches, the DRC’s leadership chose to direct, rather than discourage, the 1860 awakening.

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