Original Research

The Moravian heritage of community musicking

Devandre Boonzaaier, Alethea C. de Villiers
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 15, No 1 | a641 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v15i1.641 | © 2019 Devandre Boonzaaier, Alethea C. de Villiers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2018 | Published: 28 November 2019

About the author(s)

Devandre Boonzaaier, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
Alethea C. de Villiers, Department of Music, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


In this article, the authors firstly provide a brief historical narrative of the origin of the Moravian Church and its hymnody. Secondly, they proceed to trace the origins of Moravian hymnals and their use in South Africa. Thirdly, they discuss the history of Moravian hymnals in South Africa and the contribution of South African composers and musicians. Several articles and books were consulted to trace the contribution of the Moravian hymnal from its origins in Herrnhut in Germany to Genadendal, the first Moravian mission station in South Africa and the spread of the Moravian denomination to the rest of the country. The authors also provide short biographies of selected South African Moravian composers and highlight the connectedness of Moravians across time through their hymnody. Moreover, in this article the authors use the term, ‘musicking’ to describe the musical activity from composing to performing to listening-in-audience to singing.


Moravian; heritage; community; musicking; South Africa; hymns.


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