A mission for tourists

2012-01-30 00:00

SCENIC and historic Reichenau Mission, near Underberg, is on its way to being restored to its former glory.

Developments in progress are aimed at benefiting both tourists and the impoverished community around it.

“We have received R5 million from the provincial corridor fund and we have gone into an agreement with the (Roman Catholic) Diocese … to promote mission tourism,” Sue McAlister, manager of the KwaSani Municipality said yesterday.

She said the project also aimed to increase job opportunities for the nearby community of Nhlanhleni where there was “high poverty”.

Under a separate project, a boarding establishment for 60 girls is scheduled for completion later this year, said mission priest Father Lungelo Shezi.

The mission school presently has 146 primary school children attending classes at the no-fees school.

“Some walk 15 km to school,” said Jacque Kellerman, who manages development work there.

Reichenau was built as an outstation of Mariannhill Monastery, near Pinetown, at the end of the 19th Century by Trappist monks, who were not allowed to speak and communicated using 187 different hand signals.

The mission boasts one of South Africa’s only stone ground flour mill.

It’s inside a building built against a cliff, powered by water from the Polela River.

Saturday saw the inauguration of both the church’s new organ, from Holland, and the Drakensberg Children’s Choir, made up of 50 pupils from the school.

“It’s the first time a Mondri (the make of electronic organ, built on classical lines) has been played in public in KwaZulu-Natal,” organiser John Tungay told guests who came to hear a recital by Dr Robin Walton, of Hilton and formerly of Wits University’s Music Department.

Tungay, who founded the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, said there was “already the boys’ choir in the central Drakensberg that is well off”.

“Now there’s the children’s choir in the southern Drakensberg that is poor, but not in spirit.”

Although the Reichenau choir has not had any training, it has already won two local awards.

“It’s my dream that the whole of the Drakensberg should always be filled with, and echoing, beautiful music,” said Tungay.

The well-trained Thembelihle Children’s Choir, from Howick, also performed in the Reichenau church, which is decorated with detailed artwork, including frescos, some of which are in need of restoration.

The R5 million is scheduled to be spent on developing accommodation and a coffee shop, landscaping and investigating the viability of a hiking trail to connect Reichenau with Centocow Mission.

Centocow, which has a hospital, is a similar institution that was also built as an outstation of Mariannhill — a day’s horse ride away from Reichenau.

It’s downstream of Reichenau, beside the Mzimkulu River into which the Polela River flows.

* Reichenau development worker Jacque Kellerman asks readers who are able to donate anything for Reichenau’s school to please do so. “Books, clothes, food, uniforms, medical help, soap, blankets, cement, sand … ” She can be contacted at 033 701 1890.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Graphic Designer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Creative Sourcing
R7 000 - R9 000 Per Month

CSR Inbound

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
O'Brien Recruitment
R14 000 - R16 000 Per Month

Debtors/Creditors Supervisor

Century City
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R10 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.