Moffat Mission / Kuruman Mission

hamilton house - robert MoffatRobert Moffat, a Scottish missionary and his wife Mary lived in Kuruman for many years and it was here that his daughter got married to David Livingston, the discoverer of  the Victoria Waterfalls.

Before this, the Kuruman Mission was established by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1816 at Maruping near Kuruman where a town of about 10 000 Batswana were resident. Robert Moffat arrived in Kuruman from Scotland in 1820, and soon organised permission from Chief Mothibi to relocate it to the present position at Seodin in the valley of the Kuruman River. From here he preached Christianity to the local people. Today the Moffat Mission Station is now a museum and open to visitors.

Moffat (1795-1887) laboured at the mission for 50 years, and his period is considered the “golden age” of missionary work amongst the Batswana. He was a man of considerable talents and oversaw the building of staff houses, a school house, store rooms, and the “cathedral of the Kalahari”, the great Moffat Church (1838) which can seat 800 people.

Not content with this he was as the same time working on what would be his greatest legacy: the Setswana Bible. He taught himself Setswana, developed the orthography and (with a broader team) translated the Bible. Once this was done, he then proceeded to print it on a hand press – being the first entire Bible printed in Africa.

David Livingstone tree The mission is also well-known as the first African home of Dr. David Livingstone. He arrived as an LMS missionary in 1841, and remained in contact with the mission due to his marriage to Moffat’s eldest daughter Mary jr. The image of the tree are what remains of the famous wild almond tree under which David Livingstone proposed to Mary Moffat and can still be seen today.

The mission also witnessed the first ordination of a Motswana, Rev. Maphakela Lekalake who served the church to the ripe age of 97.

Thompson Avenue
P O Box 34, Kuruman, 8460
Tel (053) 7121352/7122645
Tel/fax: (053) 7121352
email: moffat@spg.co.za

Visiting hours:
Monday-Saturday: 08:00 – 17:00
Sunday and Public holidays: 15:00 -17:00

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