Matzikama, Vanrhynsdorp, Letsatsi Lodge
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Since 2015, the Former Catholic Church in Vanrhynsdorp belongs to the LETSATSI LODGE. Within the church is a remarkable, hand-painted site of the cross. Also a very neat painting of St. Elisabeth of Hungary with a mantle full of roses. But the main surprise of the church is a beautiful and extremely well kept bell. Below the shoulder is a very neat band of hanging flowers. On the front side of the church and above three moulding wires above the sound bow, one finds first A.D. 1937. followed by founder’s seal. The seal is circular and its circumference is a made of a twisted rope. The inside contains a coat of arms where a seal is headed by a helmet with in between its horns a man standing. On the seal figures a bell with above it a text, seemingly with Hebrew letters. The bottom part of the emblem has the text RUDOLF PERNER IN BUDWEIS. The founder’s emblem is then followed by MADE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA. On the reverse side of the bell figures a beautifully carved image of the Holy Heart. This suggests that the bell might have been intended for a church devoted to the Holy Heart. The least one can say is that this is a most remarkable bell. Founding traditions in the Perner family in the at-that-time German area probably started in 1702 when Johannes Perner became citizen in Pilsen, now the Czech Republic. One of his sons Josef went to Budweis (home of the famous Budweizer brewery) to continue the trade and during his life he delivered bells to Western Africa. One of his descendants moved the foundry from Budweis to Passau-Hackberg in 1946. The foundry in Passau remained active in bell founding until 2013. We have found two more places in the Western Cape with Perner bells, namely a 1961 bell in the St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Swellendam and a 1966 bell in Pacaltsdorp, St Vincent Pallotti Catholic Church. But the bell here by far beats both in beauty and craftsmanship.
- Matzikama