13 February 2012

Jerusalem-Gangers: From the Cape to Jerusalem

The river which the Jerusalem-ganagers believed was the Nile

The first white settler in the Marico was Coenraad De Buys who arrived in the area in about 1815. Other settlers started moving into the region from 1844 onwards. One particular group found around the 1850's, living in the Enzelsberg, became known as the Jerusalem-gangers.

They were visited by Rev Andrew Murray, a well travelled Dutch Reformed Minister, at the time and engaged in fierce theological dispute with him.  The group concluded that he must be the antichrist and Rev Murray barely escapes being stoned.

Their spokesman, Jan Adam Enslin elected to lead the group to Jerusalem.  Jan was born on the 17th of June 1800 and died in 1852 during a malaria outbreak.  Jan's parents were Johann Adam Enslin (born 26 Jul 1772, died 18 Sep 1812, Paarl) and Maria Magdalena Ackerman. Johan Adam married Cornelia Aletta Viljoen and had 3 children.

Their objective was to find the source of the Nile after which it should be child's play to get to Egypt, and from there reach the promised land with the aid of the maps at the back of their Bibles. Enslin, it seems, died of fever before the pilgrimage had commenced.

Undeterred however, they set off, believing steadfastly that if they travelled long and far enough, they would find the Holy Land and a pyramid-shaped hill nearby strengthened their conviction that they had crossed Africa and reached Egypt.  They found a north-flowing river and, believing it was the Nile, christened it the Eye of the Nile, which is close to present day Nylstroom. The river was known to the locals as Mokgalakwena ('fierce crocodile').  The village of Nylstroom was laid out on a farm in February 1866. Today the town of Nylstroom has been renamed Modimolle after the prominent hill close by which the locals regard as their holy mountain (Modimolle meaning ‘god has devoured’). It is believed that they did not get beyond the Waterberg area.

Groot Marico
North West History: Jan Adam Enslin
Image source: http://www.places.co.za/html/nylstroom.html

1 comment:

  1. Johan Adam Enslin was the Jerusalemgagers since the groot trek when they reached the KEI.
    According to Ds/Prof PJ Claasen Jan(Hans)didn't believe in killing and turned away with this groep. you'll find Enslin places and farms by DeAar, graspan Hopetown, Kimberley Fochville, Sannieshof, Groot Marico.Enslinsaal in Rhodesie. They reached Kenia and Angola with the Dorslandtrekkers.
    He grandfather was born in Oberdorf/Bobfinen Baden-Wurtemberg Germeny in 1729 and died in the Paarl in 1801. I decended from his youngest brother GF Enslin. Freddie Enslin. www.enslinfam.co.za