There’s a village in the Eastern Cape, just a stone’s throw from the Eastern Cape capital city, Bhisho, which is one of the oldest in the Border-Kei Region.

Peelton Village was founded in 1848 as a station of the London Missionary Society. It was named after Sir Robert Peel who was British Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.

Former Robben Island prisoner and Safety and Security Minister, Steve Vukile Tshwete hailed from this village.

Peelton is one of the villages with a deep sense of British Missionary history.  There’s a wide view that it was founded by Reverend Richard Birt as a station of the London Missionary Society in the 1800s.

At that stage it was popularly referred to as Birt’s Mission.  It has its share of struggle heritage having produced Steve Tshwete, Mapetla Mohapi and Nolwanda Zondeki.

Resident Fezile Gangqa says, “The area has a deep history”, he talks of how it had one of the first schools where the prominent reverend Dr W.B. Rubusana was a learner. He mentions that Tiyo Soga also studied there. He says the area produced a number of prominent politicians.

The church is one of the buildings earmarked to be a heritage site. The provincial arts and culture department is also in the business of preserving the history of the village.

Arts and Culture Spokesperson Andile Nduna says, “This village occupies a special place in the province. He says it has produced prominent politicians. They are recording its history he says they are earmarking some areas for development.”

Like many villages in the province, under-development, poverty and unemployment are rife.

With most of its sites scheduled to be part of the liberation route, it will change the fortunes of this village.

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