Rudolph Z. Joorst


Rudolph Joorst was raised and educated on a number of mission stations of the Moravian Church in South Africa (MCSA). Both his parents taught at the mission schools and his father served the church as ordained minister and school principal. The family lived and worked on several mission stations, but his journey included the congregations at Moutonsvallei (Piket Bo-Berg) and Goedverwacht, both close to Piketberg in the Swartland region as well as Genadendal in the Overberg region.  

Rudolph trained as an educator and taught for more than twenty years in high schools in the Cape Town suburbs of Ravensmead and Sarepta as well as Somerset West. He is currently employed by the Western Cape Education Department, in the Education Planning section.  

His background in music is in church music: he sings and conducts the church choir, plays the trombone and euphonium in the brass band and accompanies the congregation on the piano. His current project is finding his feet on the pedals of the pipe organ at church (pun intended).  


Rudolph’s research for his Master’s degree in Music was born out of his involvement with the brass band union, the Blasersbond van Suid-Afrika (BBSA). The BBSA is affiliated to the Moravian Church in South Africa (MCSA) and has hundreds of members from brass bands in Moravian congregations spread mostly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. The brass band is a proudly Moravian tradition and is in demand inside and outside of the Moravian Church. The first Moravian brass band was formed at the first teacher training college in South Africa, established at Genadendal in the 19th century. The student teachers had to be proficient in the piano, organ, violin and brass instruments.  

The research topic has two foci.  On the one hand it focuses on historical research to document, as comprehensively as possible, the history and development of the BBSA. On the other hand, ethnographic research will focus on church services in four selected Moravian congregations where the investigation will be on the impact of membership of the brass band on individual members and the role of the brass band in the worship services of these congregations. The ethnographic research will also look broader than the four congregations, by investigating the role of the brass band on the spiritual message of the Moravian Church nationally and the wider ecumenical community.