+27 21 551 2694 cso@mweb.co.za

In 1944, the Reformed Churches and the Hervormde Kerk in Cape Town, realized that there was a dire need amongst the seamen who visited the harbour. On 9 November 1944 these congregations founded the Nederlandse Afrikaanse Seemanskomitee (Dutch Afrikaans Seaman's Committee), with the aim of caring for the needs of Dutch soldiers and seamen on their way to and from Indonesia. At that time all the work was done on a voluntary basis.

In the course of time it was clear that these people needed specialized care. A person was appointed, at a minimal renumeration, to visit these ships as often as possible. A few of the congregations started to support the work financially. In due course both the Reformed Churches decided to work on their own in Cape Town, and broke away.

In 1944, the Reformed Churches and the Hervormde Kerk in Cape Town, realized that there was a dire need amongst the seamen who visited the harbour. On 9 November 1944 these congregations founded the Nederlandse Afrikaanse Seemanskomitee (Dutch Afrikaans Seaman's Committee), with the aim of caring for the needs of Dutch soldiers and seamen on their way to and from Indonesia. At that time all the work was done on a voluntary basis.

In the course of time it was clear that these people needed specialized care. A person was appointed, at a minimal renumeration, to visit these ships as often as possible. A few of the congregations started to support the work financially. In due course both the Reformed Churches decided to work on their own in Cape Town, and broke away.

For many years, only Dutch ships were given any attention but gradually it became abundantly clear that there were immense opportunities for mission work to be done amongst the seamen in the Cape Town harbour. At that stage the name of the committee was changed to the CHRISTELIKE SEEMANS WELSYN ORGANISASIE (THE CHRISTIAN SEAMAN'S WELFARE ORGANISATION). Despite the use of the word "welfare", the modus operandi changed all the more and the focus was much stronger on the spiritual welfare than the physical welfare of the seaman.

From 1972 onward there was great progress. Durban, the largest of the South African harbours, became the next field of activity. Towards the end of 1975 the first harbour mission worker was appointed in Saldanha Bay. When the very first ship entered the new harbour, our workers were there to receive them. Although we were not quite ready for the first ship in Richards Bay, our organisation started its activities there soon after. The organisation was growing with leaps and bounds by then and on 1 April 1991 we opened a branch in Port Elizabeth.

The Seaman's Organisation started as an interdenominational organisation. Thanks to its healthy growth, its activities became known to it's numerous supporters throughout the country. Our donors (co-workers) contributed immensely by publicizing our work. The result is that we now have donors throughout the country who represent practically all English and Afrikaans churches as well as donors in America and Britain. These donors support us through their donations and prayers.

When the Welfare Act was amended, the organisation was officially recognized as a religious body and the word "welfare" was dropped from the name. Since 1978 its official name is the CHRISTIAN SEAMAN'S ORGANISATION.