South Africa

Historical Sketch

The first Lutheran missionaries to the Cape area of southern Africa, sent by the Berlin Mission Society, arrived in 1834.  Ten years later, Hans Paludan Schreuder of Norway was sent by a mission committee, which eventually became the Norwegian Missionary Society, to begin working among the Zulus in Natal (now Durban).  Schreuder established the first permanent mission station among the Zulus in 1851; the first baptism of a Zulu person took place in 1858.  In 1873, a policy disagreement led Schreuder to leave the N.M.S.  His missionary endeavors, renamed the Schreuder Mission, subsequently came under the administrative oversight of the Church of Norway.  After the merger that created the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (later renamed the Evangelical Lutheran Church) in 1917, the Schreuder Mission in South Africa was recognized as an “official mission” of the new church body.  The NLCA took over management of the Schreuder Mission in 1927, at which time the name was changed to the American Lutheran Mission in South Africa.  When a synod was formed in its area, it was named the Mankankanana Synod, after the Zulu name for Schreuder.

In 1960, a merger occurred between the Mankankanana Synod and three other Lutheran synods in the Zulu-speaking area, including those which had developed from the efforts of the Berlin Mission, the Church of Sweden Mission, and the Norwegian Missionary Society.  The new church body was named the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa-South Eastern Region (ELCSA-SER).  In 1963, the Hermannsburg Synod also joined.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) was formed in 1975 when the ELCSA-SER and three other regional churches merged.

Lutherans have had a history of involvement in the most urgent social issues in South Africa, including racial equality, opposition to apartheid, ministry to those affected by AIDS, and women’s issues.

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials pertaining to Lutheran missionary activities in what is now the country of South Africa.  Minutes and correspondence of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Southern Africa (FELCSA), the Council of Churches on Lutheran Foundation (CCLF), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA), the South African Council of Churches (SACC), and the Joint Committee on South Africa (JCSA).  Additional materials from ELCSA, including constitution, budgets, and officers’ records.  Drafts, minutes and reports of ELCSA-SER, originally in Zulu with partial English translation.  Minutes and reports of Cooperation Lutheran Missions (CLM) in Natal.  Minutes, newsletters, and photographs from the Southern Africa Network (SAN).  Correspondence, particularly with the Mission Office in Minneapolis, A.L.M., and individual missionaries.  Budgets, reports, and yearbooks of Schreuder Mission and American Lutheran Mission.  Draft constitution, maps, and historical writings on the Mankankanana Synod.  Magazines, journals, and almanacs produced by churches and church bodies in southern Africa.  Minutes and reports from the Church of Norway Mission, predominantly in Norwegian.  Publications in Zulu, including Sunday school books, adult literacy books, hymnals, and altar book.  Publications of the South African government and materials on government education programs.  Materials on recent South African history, regarding post-apartheid challenges; HIV and AIDS; and prominent South Africans, including Nelson Mandela, Beyers Naude, and Alan Paton.  Clippings from secular periodicals and pamphlets on social issues.

Date span 1855 to 2003; bulk 1927 to 1994.

Box List

Box 1

American Lutheran Mission in South Africa.  - Schreuder Mission until 1927

Missionary Correspondence from 1939-1986 to the Mission Office in Minneapolis

“Church of Norway Mission in S.A.  – Schreuder Mission”   1927 –

MAIN RESPONSIBILITY TRANSFERRED TO Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (NLCA) – later Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC)

Minutes of committee in Norway, 1855-1925

Annual Reports, 1911, 1912, 1918, 1919 (in Norwegian)

Reports & Minutes, 1926-1963

Schreuder Mission and American Lutheran Mission (Schreuder Mission)

Reports, Budgets, Year Books, 1855-1925 (incomplete)  (Note:  In 1927, the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (NLCA) took over the responsibility of the Schreuder Mission in Norway and the Schreuder Mission in South Africa.)

American Lutheran Mission in S.A. (Schreuder Mission):  Reports, minutes, 1927-1963.

Box 2

Correspondence with A.L.M Superintendents-counselors  1961-1967

ALM treasurer  1956-1967

Misc. Correspondence – Rolf and Vi Aaseng, Phillip and Lou-Marie Knutson, Tom Soeldner, Solveig Otte.  Also Reports.

 Box 3

Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Southern Africa (FELCSA)   l966-1979

Minutes and correspondence and predecessor organization – Council of

Churches on Lutheran Foundation (CCLF)  1953-1966 Minutes  (not complete)

Radio Production (RVOG)   Radio Voice of the Gospel,  Carroll Ellertson, Director

Box 4         Church Publications

“Isithunywa”,  “The Messenger”,  Zulu Lutheran Periodical, October 1907 – misc. issues 1964-1974

“Isibani”  “The Lamp”  Hlabisa Hospital,  1966-19709 ,  1975-1981.  Incomplete

“ELCSA News”   1978 – 1991.   Incomplete

“Lutheran Information”   Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa – ELCSA (SER)  1968-1971  incomplete

“Ecunews”   So. African Council of Churches  (SACC)  1983 (incomplete)  Oct. ’93  East Rand Violence – Funeral   (EMPSH)

“Inkanyezi”    “Star”    Youth Magazine – Dec. 1960-Oct 1962 (Incomplete)

Almanacs – “Zulu Almanac” – 1963m ’64, ‘68

                   Lutheran Almanac, 1970, ‘’71, ‘72

                   ELCSA  Almanac, 1984, ’85, ’86       Incomplete

Box 5

Correspondence  - Superintendent, A.L.M.  1935-1960

One folder – Correspondence with ALM Treasurer, John Nelson 1930-

Box 6

Lutheran Medical Foundation  (LMF)  1969-1979

Lutheran Medical Work in ELCSA (SER)  and ELCA  (SED)

Constitution, Minutes, also 3 volume report by Ernest Holman, Organizing consultant, August 1967

Hlabisa Hospital – Misc. Information

Box 7

Minutes – Lutheran Mission Council,  11-26-52  (Meeting leading to Council of Churches on Lutheran Foundation. (CCLF)

Lutheran Conference, Feb. 1, 1957 with Dr. Heubner (LWF)  A call for one Lutheran Church in South Africa.

Conference of Lutheran Congregations in South Africa (Previously Board of Trustees for Extension work in Southern Africa)  Feb. 1962

St. Peters by the Lake Lutheran Church in Johannesburg.  1968-1976 Correspondence and reports

Box 8        Education – Government

“Bantu Education Journal”   1955

Natal Province – Ordinance, 1942 and “Report of Provincial Committee on native Education”  1944-1946

An evaluation of education as a missionary agency with special reference to Government aided schools in Natal, South Africa…W.O. Rindahl.  1949

Box 9

Reports of Consultations “Missionary Outreach in an Urban Society” Sept. 1966

“The Two Kingdoms”  April 1967

“The Healing Ministry of the Church”  Sept. 1967  (2 copies)

“Concepts of Death & Funeral Rites”  Oct. 1969

Letters – Memorandums

1. Healing Ministry  G. Lislerud & Dr. M.V. Gumede

2. Memorandum on April 1967  Pastoral Institute

3.  Material on LTC.  R. Aaseng  1980-1988

4. Letter from H. Häselbarth

Box 10      Publications – ZULU

Sunday School Books

Song Books

Box 11       M. Buthelezi – W. Kistner

Bishop M. Buthelezi – vita, Lectures/sermons  1967-1975    clippings

Dr. W. Kistner  - Lectures and reports, 1985-1996

Buthelezi – Banning Order

Box 12       Church and State, etc.

WCC Anti-racism campaign, 1970-1971

Churches – pre and post- apartheid  1944—

Church and State – 1980s

Church and Land issues  1991-1998

TRC  Truth and Reconciliation Commission

W.C.C. Cottesloe Consultation, Dec. 1960

Box 13

South Africa Recent History

“Secular History”  (2 folders) includes Freedom Charter


Post apartheid, 1994  Change- Problems – Challenge

“Peace Accord”  1991, and new Constitution adopted, 1996

Box 14       Missionary Correspondence and Documents

Box A:

Bishop H. Astrup  1876 -1916.  Dr. J. Astrup and Bertina Astrup, 1923-1955  

Nils Astrup, Marie Larsen, H. Schreuder

Mission History (Zulu Lutheran High School included)

Missionary Stories and articles etc.  1936-1968

Box B:

American Lutheran Mission in South Africa, Reports and Minutes, 1964-1978

J. Knutson Report of visit, 1975

P. Knutson Report, 1994

Box 15       Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa – (ELCSA):  Minutes and Correspondence

S.E. Diocese  1976-1979

Western Diocese  1976 – 1982  Includes  Re: Botswana  1977

Botswana Diocese  1982

C. Ulrich  Re:  The breakaway of the Botswana Circuit of the Western Diocese.  Formation of ELCB & ELCSA Botswana Diocese

Evangelical Lutheran Church in southern Africa

South Eastern Region  (ELCSA-SER)

Statement regarding Race Problem   July 2, 1963.  (First of its kind for an African Lutheran Church)

Correspondence  1968-1972   Bishop, Secretary, Treasurer, 1968-1972

Correspondence – Administrative Secretary – T. Homdrom, 1967-1973

ELC Overseas A/C

Audited statements, correspondence – Note:  This account started in 1968 when Ted Homdrom was asked to be treasurer for ALC, CSM and NMS missions in South Africa.  Also trustee for their property.  When he became general treasurer of ELCSA in 1976 based in Jo-burg, he took these accounts with him.

Correspondence  ELCSA-SER    Bishop Mhlungu and others, 1973-‘75

Box 16

HIV and AIDS in South Africa

Misc. clippings and reports

Box 17       Missionary Correspondence

(Mostly to Office in Minneapolis.  Material is listed alphabetically by Missionary’s surname.)

J. Ylvisaker, 1935-37

T.O. Ylvisaker, 1935-37

Johannes Astrup, 1939-53

Missionary Correspondence, 1939-1985  In alphabetical order:

Aaseng, J. Astrup, Henninge Astrup, Becker, A. Brownlow (Rabie), E. Eide, Evenson, Ellertson, Homdrom, Eva Jensen, J. Kjome, M. Knapcik, Knutson, Lislerud, R. Lohne, D. Nelson, H & L Nelson, C & L Otte, J & A Otte, Solveig Otte, Halls, Haugebak, Ruth Peterson, Reinertson, Rindahl,  L. Widdifield Scales, P. Solvik, Tom & Joyce Soeldner

Box 18       Drafts, minutes and reports  ELCSA - SER

Constitutions – Documents 1953- 1974  including draft constitution of United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa. Pre-ELCSA- SER

Consecration of Bishop P.B. Mhlungu, first Zulu Lutheran Bishop

Consecration of 2nd Zulu Bishop – L.E. Dlamini

Minutes – Reports  ELCSA –South Eastern Region ELCSA - SER 1960-1975

Brief History of the Johannesburg Circuit of ELCA-SER  Reports , 1968-71  J. Knutson

Statement on “Race Problem”

Constitution and “United Testimony”

Box 19       Cooperating Lutheran Missions in Natal  (C.L.M.)

Minutes – Reports  1911-1986  “The History”, 1912-1951  Herman Schlyter

“Umlando” (history)  -Zulu - O. Sarndal, 1962  (Zulu)

Articles in “Credo by Homdrom, Loken, Mpanza, Fortuin

Memorandum of a Committee regarding S.A. Government Commission…Report on “Native Education”

-         CLM and various “offspring”

-         Lutheran Mission council

-         Lutheran Advisory council

-         Liaison Committee – “ integration of missionary agencies into the younger churches”  by Ted Homdrom

-         Lutheran Theological Seminary – later Lutheran Theological College (LTC) 1951-1976

-         Governing Board for Lutheran Theological Institutions  1974-1979

-         Umpumulo Institute Inkanyezi – 3 issues. 

-         Folder on Zulu Lutheran H.S.  Eshowe

Under CLM category:

Indian Church Council    Minutes, reports, correspondence 1963-1971

Not under CLM

Marang Lutheran Theological Seminary (1968-1976)  Reports, minutes, correspondence 

Federal Theological Seminary of South Africa (Fed Sem) 1973-1979

Box 20       South African Council of Churches (SACC) 1969-1982: Minutes and correspondence

Predecessor Body – Christian Council of South Africa 1954  Material on “Bantu Education Act”

Under SACC – Division of Justice and Reconciliation, 1976-1977

Under SACC – Asingeni Relief Fund and Dependents’ Conference  1977-1982

1983  Report of the Commission of Inquiry into South African Council of Churches

The Christian Institute (1963-1982)  constitution, Newsletters, messages by Beyers Naude, Theo. Kotze.

Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings (1963-1975)

Resolution on Conscientious Objection by national Conference of SACC, 1974     Declaration by the Executive Council of the united Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (4 white Lutheran Churches) expressing opposition to the Resolution.

Violence, Detentions (1986-1991)

Investment, Divestment  (1971-1981)

Removals, Resettlement (70’s – 80’s)

South African Institute of Race Relations (1949-1979) (SAIRR): Minutes, Correspondence, Material of “Bantu Education Act”

Religious Broadcasting in South Africa –related to WACC – Gunter Kaiser

Box 21       Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) Constituted, December 1975

Standing Committee and Management Board, 1975

Constitution, also Rules and Regulations.  Constitutions of Women’s, Men’s and Youth Leagues and Music Organizations

Minutes of Constituting Assembly, Dec. 15-19, 1975

Church Council Minutes (1976-1985)

General Assembly Minutes, 1980, 1982

Presiding Bishop P. B. Mhlungu, 1976-1978, D.P. Rapoo, 1979

General Secretary, 1976 – 1982

General Treasurer, Theodore Homdrom  1976-1982

Pension Scheme

Budgets, 1979-1981

Box 22       Joint Committee on South Africa (JCSA)

Minutes, Budgets, Correspondence, 1962-1973

JCSA Standing Committee 1973-1976   - Constitution, Minutes, Correspondence, Budgets.  Consultation in Stavanger, 1975

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa Partners (EP’s) -1975-1989  (Successor to JCSA)

Convenor, Correspondence, Minutes, Consultations 1975-1989 including Swaziland 1977, Hillbrow (Jo-burg), 1982, Mbabane 1989

Box 23       Prominent South Africans

Box A

Nelson Mandela

Articles in TIME  2-1990, 2-1994

Address to 2nd Session of Parliament  2-12-95

Articles in Star Trib  2-12-90

Articles in “The Weekly Mail”  2-12-90 –Mandela’s Release; 2-16-90  – Souvenir supplement

Box B

Beyers Naude  1915-2004  Tributes, Articles after his death

File Folder 1a    Articles – The Afrikaner and Race Relations, and addresses, 1967

Article in Christian Century  - May 1975    McLeod Bryan

Article in Christianity & Crisis  - Robert McAfee Brown – “A

Prophet without honor”  Dec. 12, 1977.  Given in late 1974 on occasion of Beyers Naude being honored with the Reinhold Niebuhr Award

Articles in “Challenge”  Dec. 1991, June-July, 1995

File Folder 1b

Ecumenical Advice Bureau (Naude & Kistner)  News Letters re: Runup to election, March-April, 1994.  Open letter to pastors, 1996

Box C     Steve Biko    Misc. clippings, reactions after his death  9-12-77.  Address on Black consciousness, Oct. 1971

File Folder 1c     Alan Paton       Journey’s end  1986

Address to convocation of the Univ. of Natal, re: “Academic Freedom”

Box D  Christian Institute, Beyers Naude, Director

Box 24

A.  ELC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY  (note: PMC established in 1968 to hold land for the “Black Church”.  S.A. law forbad “Black” Ownership of Land in “White” areas.

Documents & Minutes.   Correspondence 1966-1982

B.  File Folder   “CAR policy”  of 5 mission agencies related to ELCSA

Box 25


A.  Pro veritate, Christian Institute, 1966-1977 (incomplete)

Diakonia news, 1985-1986  (Incomplete) Final issue before banning material on Christian institute and SPROCAS

B.  South Africa Outlook  1972-1973, 1978  (incomplete)

Box 26

A.  Church of Sweden Mission  (CSM)  1962-1968

CSM Mission council      Conference meetings

Medical Advisory Committee and Health Services

Boarding Homes Committee

B.  Correspondence with Home Board  1970-1976

Missionary Committee  1968-1978   Interim Committee

Fellowship Committee

Box 27       South African Government Publications

27a  Summary of the Report of Commission for the Socio-Economic Development of the Bantu areas within the Union of South Africa. (the Tomlinson Report, October 1955.)

NOTE:  Very helpful insights into the thinking of the S.A. government at that time as it worked out details of implementing “Separate Development”, even if many of the recommendations of this Commission were never fully implemented.

27b  S.A. Panorama

1989   May – Dec.

1991  March-April   (Incomplete)  Note:  Government propaganda

Box 28       Mankankanana Synod

A.  Mankankanana  is the Zulu name for Bishop Schreuder.  The Mankankanana Synod was constituted as an independent body – evolving from the work of the American Lutheran Mission (Schreuder Mission) which began in 1927 when the then Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (NLCA – later ELC) at the request of the Schreuder Mission Committee in Norway took over their responsibility in South Africa.

This synod continued until 1961 when it became a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa – South Eastern Region (ELCSA-SER).  (1960 Merger Convention.  Began to operate in 1961)  This body was constituted by the merger of 4 synods evolving from the work of the following mission organizations:  Berlin Mission, Church of Sweden Mission, Norwegian Missionary Society and American Lutheran Mission.  The Synod from the work of the Hermannsborg Mission joined in 1963.

1.  Documents: Draft Constitution,  Assembly minutes from 1954, 

Minutes and Correspondence  

Note:  Since Zulu was the “official” language of this synod, a much more complete collection of documents is in the archives in South Africa – in offices of the ELCSA-SED (South Eastern Diocese) in Umphumulo, Kwazulu – Natal.

This synod didn’t exist for a long period, but it was a very important step on the way to the formation of the South Eastern Region – ELCSA (SER) in 1960

2.  History of Entumeni Mission Station

3.  Maps including ELCSA-SER.  Dedication of Schreuder memorial Church Entumeni, 1956.   Mankankanana Synod in 1954.


1.  Statements on Race Relations 1963, This was the first of its kind by a Lutheran Church in South Africa.

2.  Budgets – financial statements, 1969-74

3.  Correspondence – Bishop, Secretary, Treasurer, 1968-72

Correspondence with Administrative Secretary – Ted   

Homdrom, 1967-1975

4.  ELC overseas account, 1969-1977.  Audited statements, correspondence.  (Note – This A/C started in 1968 when Ted Homdrom was asked to be treasurer for the ALC, CSM (Sweden) and NMS (Norway) missions in South Africa, also trustee for their property.  When he became treasurer of ELCSA in 1976 based in Jo’burg, he took these accounts with him.

Correspondence, 1973-75  mostly between ALC DWMIC (Knutson) and Bishop Mhlungu

C.  ELCSA – Arts and Crafts Centre

Minutes, reports, correspondence, 1970-1977

“Jabula Journal”  1981     Student Journal.  NOTE:  There is a very detailed and well illustrated book about this centre in the Luther Seminary Library

Box 29

File 1    Periodicals, 1966-91

-         “Time”  “Delusions of Apartheid”, Aug 26, 1966  (Verwoerd on cover)

-         “Courier”  UNESCO  March 1967.  “Apartheid”  Very good information articles by Alan Paton, Lewis Breytenbach, article on “Apartheid and the Church”

-         “Race Relations News”  S.A. Institute of Race Relations, Aug, 1974.  Questions and Answers.  Article on Lutheran Arts and Crafts Centre, Rorke’s Drift.

-         D.A. News”  International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, Nov. 1974.  Informative updates, helpful references

-         “Southern Africa”  Southern Africa Committee, N.Y, NY, March 1977.  Articles on Soweto, Mozambique, South Rhodesia, Namibia and US Policy.

-         “The Voice”, April-May, 1977.  Sponsored by the Churches in South Africa.  Banned by the South African government.

-         Articles/interview with John Thorne, first black General Secretary of the S.A. Council of Churches.  Interview with Bishop M. Buthelezi.

-         “New Era”, Summer, 1991.  Cover story on Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

-         “Drum”, Dec/Jan, 1991-92.  Supplement – a 40 year perspective of township life – Politics, Entertainment, Social life and Sport.

File 2  Misc. pamphlets

-         “Tyranny 90” – 90 day protest committee (90 day clause – any person suspected of possessing information re: political crimes can  be detained for 90 days (can be repeated) without trial, without contacts etc.     Signers to protest statement include Bishop H. Fossens, ELCA-SER, Rev. W.O. Rindahl, Supt. American Lutheran Mission.

-         “Robert Kennedy in South Africa”, 1966.  Visit of Robert and Ethel

-         “The New Terrorists”  by South African Student Organization (SASO).  Re:  Government actions against SASO members and others, June/July 1976

-         “One Step in the Wrong Direction”  - an analysis of the “Sullivan Principles.”  Episcopal Churchmen, later Episcopal Church People for a Free Southern Africa.

-         “Women for Change”  Consultation, Nov 30-Dec. 2, 1984.  Home and Family Division of the SA Council of Churches

-         “Strangers in Their Own Country”,  A curriculum guide on South Africa.  William Bigelow.  African World Press, Trenton, NJ, 1985.  Good summaries and bibliography up to that date.

-         “Until we are Free”  Study guide to South Africa’s Moment of Truth.  John and Patricia de Beer.  Friendship Press, 1988.  Good summaries and bibliography.

-         “A Woman’s Place in the Struggle- Not Behind Bars.”  Federation of Transvaal women.  The Africa Fund, NY, NY, Graphic interviews and accounts, 1988

-         “South Africa – a Land Divided”  A Black Sash Publication, 1982.  Removals and resettlement.  Joyce Harris, Sheena Duncan, Ethel Walt and others.  Very good.

-         “The Seven Days War”  March 25-31, 1990.  The Victims narrative.  John Aitchison Centre for Adult Ed.  Univ. of natal, Pieter Maritzly, 1991

-         “Growing up Tough”,  a natural survey of South African youth.    From Natural Youth Development for Conference.  Broederstroom, March 1993.  Community Agency for Social Enquiry. (CASE), 1993



Minutes, Reports

Schreuder Mission  1855-1927   (came under Norwegian Lutheran Church in America  (NLCA)  in 1927 at Request of Committee in Norway and Schreuder Mission in South Africa)

American Lutheran Mission in S.A.  (Schreuder Mission) 1936-1963


Note:  The April 1957 edition of “The Missionary” is a special edition devoted to reports from South Africa.

Publications by American Lutherans  Re: South Africa:

“Unkulunkulu in Zululand”  - Andrew S. Burgess

Mission in South Africa  - Pernle C. Pederson,  Augsburg, 1957

“Back of Beyond”  -June Kjome,  Augsburg, 19__

Exercise in Compassion -