Heinz Küsel was born in Paulpietersburg, Natal
(Now KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa
Brief History of my Küsel ancestry in South Africa
During the 19 th century the Küsel family, like many other German families, had an urge to leave their fatherland. Their association with the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission helped to fuel this need. The first member was Friedrich Küsel who left Germany in 1857 on the ship "Kandaze" as a colonist (settler), who would support the German Lutheran Missionaries. They landed at Port Natal (Now the City of Durban in the South African Province of KwaZulu-Natal), on 22 February 1858. They initially started a Mission Station at Hermannsburg (Natal) in the vicinity of Greytown not far from Pietermaritzburg.
During 1860 some settlers including my Great Grandfather Friedrich Küsel moved further north to the Pongola river and helped to establish the Entombe en Ekombela Mission Stations. They soon established a settlement and called it Lüneburg after the town with a similar name in Germany. In 1869 the first church was built in Lüneburg. Friedrich Küsel settled on the farm Welbedacht (Dutch word meaning - Well thought out) which he purchased from a "Boer" farmer, who had previously purchased it from the Zulu King Mpande. Initially they made a living by cutting down Yellow wood and other indigenous trees, growing on the nearby mountain, Ncaga. This they bartered for cattle, and soon started cattle ranching and later started planting maize (corn) crops.
During 1878 the war between the British and Zulus began. This caused much suffering for the German settlers as their settlement bordered the mighty Zulu empire. The Zulus regularly raided the settlement. In 1881 the "Boers" and the British were involved in battles in the region. The German settlers were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their neutrality. The community virtually lost all their possessions during the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War.
My Maternal Grandfather Friedrich Keyser left Alsace, France, in 1911 to become a missionary to the Zulus. He was based at the Ekombela Mission Station bordering the Küsel ancestral farm, Welbedacht.
During all these years and even unto the present the community has still maintained it's predominant German culture. You still find places with names like Lüneburg, Braunschweig (I had my primary schooling there. Until the age of eight I could personally only speak German and Zulu.), Wittenberg, Augsburg, Wartburg and Hermannsburg to this day.
My second brother Jürgen Küsel still farms on the family farm - Welbedacht, mainly cattle ranching and maize(corn). He is married to the descendant of one of the original German missionaries with the surname, Filter.
We as brothers, and others in the area, still speak German, although we have developed a local dialect. We obviously also apart from Zulu which we learned to speak on the farm, had to later learn the other two previous South African official languages, namely Afrikaans and English. In the "New South Africa" we now have eleven official languages. My eldest brother Reginald married an Afrikaans girl. Dieter an English girl and my wife is Afrikaans. Our children speak Afrikaans - their mother tongue, but can also speak English.
There are many other descendants of Friedrich Küsel in South Africa. There were also other Küsel settlers in South Africa. I have a fair amount of detail of these as well. On 22 February 1958 we had the centenial celebration of the Küsel ancestry in South Africa. I was the youngest Küsel alive during those celebrations. I obviously do not remember anything as I was approximately 18 months old. Maybe we could arrange a reunion between all Küsel descendants (internationally) and the South African Küsel's on 22 February 2008 for the 150th anniversary of the settlement in South Africa. This could be very interesting.
According to my records Wilhelm Christoph Küsel, a descendant from the original Vorwerk ancestry left for the USA, after World War I. So some of you in the US are direct family.
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