The members of the original settlement at the Cape from 1652 onwards were supplied by the Dutch East India Company with a ziekentrooster (comforter of the sick). He held Sunday services where he was allowed to read certain passages from the scriptures and to instruct the children in their religion, but as a lay person he had no authority to administer the sacraments (offer Holy Communion, perform marriages and baptisms). Ziekentroosters up to 1665 were Willem Barentsz Wylant, Pieter van der Staal, Ernestus Back and Jan Jorisz Graa. Marriages were conducted either by the Commander (civil marriages were part of the normal system in the Netherlands) or by ministers passing on ships calling at the Cape and these latter also conducted any baptisms required.
Eventually the Dutch East India Company management decided to appoint a resident minster at the Cape (all such religious ministers were company salaried officials) and on 18th August 1665 Dominee Johannes van Arkel landed at Table Bay. Later a church was built and its present day successor is the Grote Kerk in Cape Town. At that time this particular denomination, which enjoyed the status of "public" or "privileged" church of the Dutch Republic, was known as the 'Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Kerk' but renamed the 'Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk' (Dutch Reformed Church - DRC) in the Netherlands in 1816. At the Cape (then under British rule), however, it retained its original name and in modern day South Africa it is known as the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK).
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