Phillippe Menache established his reputation in partnership with Daryl Earl David with three books documenting South Africa’s country churches. Those books enticed the reader and heritage sleuths to venture into the villages, dorps and towns of the countryside to find beautiful architectural examples of churches of all denominations and place a range of 19th and 20th century church architects in a context. The objective of this book is to identify the architectural treasures of the Dutch reformed church in South Africa. The authors seek recognition of this superb legacy: their passion and commitment glows. This book documents in photographs and text 139 such churches from Aberdeen to Zastron. I was delighted to find Swellendam's magnificent baroque church, a giant building in an unusual style designed by Folkert and Francois Hesse and completed only in 1911. This year ‘s Heritage association (HASA ) symposium took place in Swellendam and included a splendid organ recital in the church together with a talk on Church history and the graves in the church yard. So often these churches bloom and blossom when the organ is played; the acoustics are perfect and the soul cannot but be moved.  

I was delighted that at least some of the churches designed by Hermann Kallenbach and his partner Arthur Reynolds working with the architect on the spot, William Henry Ford, also featured. Menache and Wolff’s book is visually appealing with the right combination of colour photographs and explanatory text. NG kerk congregations are shrinking throughout South Africa but the churches are the evidence of a deep faith and great architectural magnificence. It is part of the wood and weft of the country’s cultural legacy. Unfortunately the book is only in Afrikaans but it is a book that deserves to reach a wider audience with an English translation. Nonetheless, the written language is not a barrier to enjoyment.

  • Price R270
  • The book can be ordered from the author Philippe Menache and will be dispatched via postnet at a postal charge of R99.00
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Book Cover

Objects Artefacts Books
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 11:08

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