NG church becomes Muslim school

2012-04-15 13:25

Johannesburg - The conversion of the first Dutch Reformed Church in Johannesburg into a Muslim school has caused an uproar among several Langlaagte residents, it was reported on Sunday.

The City Press reported that the church was "the latest casualty" of the migration of Afrikaans-speakers from Johannesburg's inner city suburbs.

Reverend Hennie van Rooyen told the newspaper the church was sold to Muslim buyers because its maintenance was too high.

"I wish it could've been different... But we can't afford hundreds of thousands of rands to maintain the building," he said.

"And the demography of the area has changed to a predominantly Indian community."

Bishop Ryan Sooknunan, a pastor who used to rent the church for his independent Pentacostal church services, accused Van Rooyen and the Dutch Reformed Church of violating an agreement made with him by selling the church.


He threatened to take legal action, and would arrange a march in protest of the sale.

He also lambasted Van Rooyen's congregation for allowing a "foreign religion" to move into the building.

The church grounds also contain the graves of its first minister, and his wife.

Van Rooyen said the deed of sale specified that the building's historical nature would be respected, and that the graves would be protected. "Interested parties" could still have access to the site.

A member of the Dutch Reformed Church told the newspaper that there were few church members left in Langlaagte.

"There is just one other couple. And the children in the [neighbouring children's care] home. But that's all of us who are left," he said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  religion

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