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In 1799 four missionaries - two English and two Dutch - arrived at the Cape, having been sent out by the London missionary society. This is their story. Although mission work by the Moravians had begun some time before, this meant the commencement of large-scale mission work in South Africa, and initiated what might be called the 'golden age' of missionary activity in South Africa. The Early Mission, 1799'¬ ;1819 consists of 17 essays, some of them in Afrikaans, in which the noted writer and historian Karel Schoeman describes the life and work of a number of missionaries, mission assistants and artisans, 'native agents', catechists and lay helpers, including three women, who where involved in the establishment of the mission during the pioneer period. His subjects are mainly Dutch and indigenous mission workers in the service of the LMS and their work among the slave population of the Cape Colony and the inhabitants of the Orange River area beyond the northern frontier of the Colony.