The history of the parishes in the Diocese of Eshowe
Early in 1939, Bishop Thomas Spreiter bought a forty-two hectare property at Fort Louis in the farming district of Babanango. The property was right next to a socalled black reserve and offered, therefore, ideal conditions for the establishment of a mission station. A start was made in 1946 with the opening of a school. The Catholics in the area used one of the class-rooms to gather for Sunday services. Fr. Wolfgang Stelzer (19031967) became the first resident priest at Gezahlale. He opened the station on May 1, 1955, and dedicated it to Our Lady the Queen of the World.
The station became known as Gezahlale, a Zulu name that recalls an event which, according to oral tradition, happened near Fort Louis. One day, the chief of the area invited his people to meet at his kraal. They came and when it was time for a meal, they washed their hands and waited for the food to be served. However, they sat there and nothing happened. The food never arrived because the chief had not given any order to prepare a meal. The name Gezahlale (= sitting there with hands washed) makes sure that the people always remember that stingy chief.
The parish of Gezahlale grew steadily and had some 1600 members when it lost its resident priest. Lack of personnel forced Bishop Biyase to withdraw the priest from the mission station in December 1976. The care of the Catholics at Gezahlale was then entrusted to the parish priest of Nkandla. The parish had four outstations and about 1800 Catholics in 1990. The mission property was sold in 1981 to the government, which used the land for the consolidation of Kwazulu.
Parish Priests of Gezahlale
This page was last updated on 24.10.06 17:41:25