Sandies Glen

Depending from which side you drive to Sandies Glen it can also be named as Sandy Glen. Anyway it’s tucked away in the heart of the Overberg and many escapists from Cape Town know to find the diverse retreats such as Sondags Kloof and Hearth & Soul (just google). The nearest supermarket is about 50 kilometres, mainly via a gravel road. Central in Sandies Glen is the Moravian Church. The original population has mainly migrated to more habited areas for work and since long the church is not in use anymore. The lock at the gate tells its own story.

The old Moravian church

Somewhere in nowhere in a remote area far out of the village there is this church.

Christened by a bishop in 1971, and by the looks of it, not much has happened since then.

It’s a pity that buildings like this are seemingly forgotten. There are those local heritage committees ‘nitpicking’ about not much by all or not allowing somebody to build a house in ‘local style’ ….

This church is situated in the Houtkoof area 20 km out of Napier. It dates back to 1830 and in the sixties the tatched roof was replaced with a corrugated steel one. In 1970/71 a school was added plus a hostel. It used to be a dependance of the Moravian church in Elim. Since the eighties the local Moravian community has scattered away to other places.

Tomorrow …

This is the last week Emile Richter shows tourists around the restored watermill in 19th century village Elim. The village land is owned by the Moravian church and only villagers are allowed to build a house on a designated plot. Emile is one of the driving forces behind the restoration of the village including upgrade of the roads in and to/from. The watermill however is his favourite and he was deeply involved in the recent restoration of this monumental living piece of old-fashioned craftsmanship. Emile had this plan to grain locally harvested wheat and sell it locally and to tourists. The funding was already taken care for 3 years ago but as in everything the ‘mother church’ in Germany (‘Herrnhuters‘ ; English: Moravian Church) has to give permission first and that can take a long time Richter experienced. “In the church I always learned to tell the truth and nothing else but the truth. Now I’ve told them the truth they dismissed me as guide on a very short notice”.

Tomorrow is Emile Richter’s last day as host at the watermill.