A history of Nandi Farm, Emkindini.

(1961 – 1982)
The Administrator of the Vicariate Apostolic Eshowe, Fr. Theodos Schall, bought a 215-hectare (531 acre) farm at Mkindini*(1) outside Melmoth in September, 1945, in the hope that this would greatly improve the economic situation of the vicariate. The purchasing price was 2 125 pounds or about 4 pounds per acre. The price would have been twice as high had the sale not included the condition that the previous owner, Mr. Jenkinson,*(2) would have the right to cut seventy acres of mature black wattle.

“The purchase of the property meant that the Catholics could now enter a rather barren patch
in the vineyard of the Lord,” explains the chronicler. “Many people in the neighbourhood are not happy about this as most of them belong to different seeds. The Anglicans in particular feel that
we are treading on their toes. They have a school-chapel close by with a good number
of Christians. However, many of them are lax or have fallen away so that church attendance
is rather poor”.

The property which became known as Nandi Farm comprises steep hills and deep valleys. For the first fifteen years the land was leased out and did not generate much income for the Benedictines .In 1960, Bishop Bilgeri decided to exploit the full economic potential of the farm by establishing a mission station. A monasterylike building with a chapel*(3) was erected around a courtyard and opened on March 15, 1961. Bishop Bilgeri chose Fr. Gerard Schempp and Bro. Alexander Grotter to start the new mission. They celebrated Mass for the first time in the new chapel, dedicated to St. Conrad of Parzham,*(4) on April 24, 1961. Nandi Mission had never more than five hundred Catholics. Pastoral work was limited to a few outstations.

Soon after a mission station was opened at Nandi, plans were made to plant sugarcane which promised a better financial return than the black wattle plantation. In April 1965, the Sugar Board granted a ninety-six-hectare sugar quota to the Nandi Farm. However, heavy investments were required to build the necessary roads and infrastructure on the farm and to buy tractors and machinery. The first sugarcane harvest took place in the 1968 season when 3766 tonnes
of cane were cut.

After the death of Fr. Elmar Kimmel in July 1980, Bro. Ansfried Machatsch was left alone on the Nandi Mission Farm. The dwindling number of missionaries made it impossible to staff the mission in a way prescribed by the constitutions of the Benedictines. Bishop Mansuet Biyase therefore decided to sell the farm together with all the buildings and implements. Bro. Ansfried left Nandi in April 1982. The Nandi farm was sold “lock, stock and barrel” for in May 1982 to the new owner, Mr. Els*(5). The parish of Nandi had already been incorporated into the Melmoth parish in 1980.

*(1) Mkindini (Ref; Emkindini/Nandi, the mother of Shaka)

*(2) Mr. Jenkinson (b. 16 Feb. 1889)  Mr. L.B  Jenkinson was the father of Mrs. Merle Louw (Jenkinson)  who is still a resident in Melmoth.

*(3)  The  monastry and chapel has been altered over the past 25 years to form the present day  main house and entertainment  area.

*(4) St. Conrad of  Parzham(see information  sheet)

*(5)  Wessel Els, born in Babanango, sold his cattle farm to Mondi  Forests in 1982 and bought Nandi Mission farm from the Catholic Diocese of Zululand. The farmstall

`Oom Wessel se Winkel` was opened in 1990 and the Guesthouse  in 2004.