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Georg Schmidt

1709-1785. Missionary to South Africa. He joined the Moravian Brethren* at Herrnhut in 1727, was imprisoned by Catholic authorities, and recanted after six years to obtain his freedom. As a punishment for this “weakness” he was sent alone to the Cape as first missionary to the Hottentots. Arriving in 1737, he settled at Baviaanskloof (later Genadendal), some eighty miles from Cape Town, where he gathered a small community of interested Hottentots. In 1742 Zinzendorf* ordained him by letter, and he baptized five converts. This action was resented by the local Dutch Reformed clergy who already doubted Moravian orthodoxy. Schmidt was told to discontinue baptisms pending the decision of the Amsterdam Classis. Lonely and depressed, he left for Holland in 1744, hoping to remove obstacles to his work and to return. This was not permitted, and only in 1792 was Moravian work resumed. After 1752 Schmidt lived at Niesky, a Moravian settlement, where he died.