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They are not towns, just places near Wakkerstrom in Natal. I have lumped them together because they are small, are geographically close together and both originated from the activities of the Hermannsburg Mission Society in the 19th century.


Braunschweig is further down the page

Luneburg churchLüneburg, sometimes written as Luneburg or Luneberg is at 27.3151°S and 30.6178°E at 1146m altitude.


The instructions from the mission society was for the missionaries to go and live amongst the natives, so that they are part of their daily lives and to get a first hand knowledge of their customs and culture. But then the society found it necessary to send out trades men to help the missionaries to build their station. What happened in Lüneburg was that the society ran out of money and couldn't pay the trades people. They started to make a living by cutting down trees in the natural forests, cutting into blanks and sending them off to Barberton to exchange them for farming requisites. Thus the area around Lüneburg became colonised by people from Germany.
Luneburg Meyer graveA start was made with forming a congregation of the Lutheran faith when H.Meyer's two year old son died by drowning and had to be buried. A cemetery was laid out which is seen as the beginning of the community. The place was named after the town Lüneburg in Germany from where many of the settlers had originated. Next was to build a church from sod, that is pieces of grass piled on top of each other.
A year later came a school, initially mainly for religious instructions.

The Filter monument

Luneburg Filter monumentNext to the road between Lüneburg and Braunschweig is a monument, position: 27.2989°S and 30.672°E. The text on the English plague reads as follow:Luneburg Filter monument text The German H.Filter and the Dane Larsen
died in the Zulu War 1879
what the granite expound for the
descendants bind our gratitude to their
names you gave your life so that others
could live. The grateful descendants
This translation from German is a bit stilted, but I have to admit I would not have been able to do it any better, for some of the words it's difficult to find an equivalent in English.
The background to this, the father of H.Filter was Jakob Filter, the missionary stationed at Lüneburg. J.Filter did have a somewhat uneasy relationship with the Zulus and wished 'the British would take over to bring a war in which the British would be victorious thereby Christianity, education, law and order will be established, or the Zulus would be victorious, thereby heathenism, tyranny, and barbarism would prevail.' A quote found in Ref.2 from his communications with the Hermannsburg Mission Society (Germany). The British army occupied the area during the Zulu war of 1879 and built a fort at Lüneburg. J.Filter allowed his son to work with the British to do reconnaissance. During one of those missions he was captured and killed by the Zulus.
I have found no information about the Dane Larsen.
A more detailed account of events involving H.Filter from Rev 2. Prince Mbilini, a son of the Swazi king Mswati, was marauding with his horde of warriors through the area, stealing and pillaging. And that because he had been overlooked to become the new king on his father's death. He made his 'home' in the northern parts of Zululand, in the area around Lüneburg and made a nuisance of himself. The Zulu King Cetshwayo actually ordered him to be captured and killed. But somehow when the Zulu war came he became an ally of King Cetshwayo.
A skirmish at the eNtombe river cost the British 78 lives, some of them are buried in the Lüneburg cemetery, others at the site of the battle (a place I still need to visit).
The sources don't say where and when, H.Filter shot and wounded Mbilini who later died of his wounds.

Lüneburg cemetery

A well kept cemetery is over the road from the church. The picture of the first grave, that of H.Heyer, is shown above. Another interesting grave site is that of the officers that died during the skirmish at eNtombe river. I am sure there are many more noteworthy graves in that cemetery, but that will have to wait for the next visit.


Braunschweig at 27.2903°S and 30.6718°E at 1152m altitude, is also just a church. The distance by road to Lüneburg is about 9km.


Braunschweig church It had its origin from the Hermansburg Mission Society (HMS) just like Lüneburg and in fact was originally the same community.
But than there was a split off, the split happened in 1892 and had to do with church politics in far away Germany. It started with the war between Prussia and the Kingdom of Hanover (remember the place that supplied a few kings and queens to the British crown). Prussia won that war and there was a concern in the HMS (who was situated in the kingdom of Hanover) that the Hanover Lutheran State church would be incorporated into the Prussian Unitary church. The HMS didn't like that because of nationalism and because the Prussians allowed secular marriage. Theodor Harms (the MD of the HMS) thus decided to split from the state church and to form his own Free Lutheran church.
In 1890 there was an agreement of merger between the Free Lutheran church and the state church. Some members of the HMS objected and the ripples went as far as South Africa (and Australia by the way). In Lüneburg the majority of members decided against the unification and opted to split off and because they were in the majority they could stay in the Lüneburg congregation, whilst the members (105 of them) that opted for the new unity church formed a new congregation and named it Braunschweig.


A church was built starting in 1896 It is not clear what became of this church, a new one, as it is standing today, was erected in 1928.

Braunschweig Cemetary

Braunschweig grave WagnerThe cemetery in Braunschweig is near the church. Braunschweig WagnerI was just passing through and had thus no time to take a detailed look and just shot a few pictures at random.
I was lucky to have a picture of the grave of CHR Wagner, born 20-7-1829, died 3-2-1908. Christian Wagner was one of the early arrivals in Natal, 1862. Many of those years and especially the last years were spent at his mission station eNtombe, not far from Braunschweig. I actually found a photograph of him in Ref 3, a picture supplied by the University of Natal Library. It was taken during a missionary conference in 1888.

From the Ed: there is still lots more ground to be covered with these places, and there are also other Lutheran churches in the area. The one's I know of are Augsburg and Wittenberg, to be 'done' in the near future.

Ref 1.: Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa, Nasou Limited, 1974
Ref 2.: FROM THE LÜNEBURGER HEIDE TO NORTHERN ZULULAND A HISTORY OF THE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN THE SETTLERS, THE HERMANNSBURG MISSIONARIES, THE AMAKHOSI AND THEIR PEOPLE, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO FOUR MISSION STATIONS IN NORTHERN ZULULAND (1860-1913), Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Theology in the School of Theology University of Natal Pietermaritzburg, December 2002
Ref 3.: Lutherans, Germans:Hermannsburgers Natalia 22 (1992), H-J. Oschadleus

Just a comment to Ref 2, FROM THE LÜNEBURGER HEIDE TO NORTHERN ZULULAND. It is a master thesis prepared by Prince Bongani Kashelemba Zulu. The author has gone into lots of details, it is well written and very informative. I actually think its worth a PhD, but than I am not a professor.
And what I value most is that the theses is written from a Zulu perspective. History of South Africa has mainly been written by pink people and has thus, even if unindented, a white bias. A work like this written by a Zulu (I presume) is thus a very welcome addition to the body of history of this country.

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