Africa Evangelistic Band

Background and History

In 1895 three sisters namely May, Emma and Helena Garratt  gets invited to preach the gospel message in the Methodist Church at Donegal Ireland. This historical happening becomes the start of their lifelong ministry. In later years they are also invited as speakers at the Faith Mission conferences in England. Helena Garratt later becomes a valued member of the Japan Evangelistic Band. In 1916 the three sisters decide to sell their home in Ireland, and move to South Africa for a year.

Shortly after their arrival they get involved with the International Christian Police Association, which they eventually would consider to be the ministry closest to their hearts. Over time they become intently aware of the big spiritual need in the South-African country side. After much prayer and discussion with fellow believers and spiritual leaders the Africa Evangelistic Band is established  in 1924. The AEB is called a “Band” and not a church, and would exist as long as God would grant His life-giving breath to it.  From the outset God calls some very precious and capable young people as “Pilgrims” for this exceptional task. Eventually the influence of this work would have impact in African countries even as far north as Kenya and the Belgium Congo.

Still today the AEB board is characterized by hours spent in prayer before matters are thoroughly discussed and decisions made. Within only a few decades the work of the AEB has spread right across South-Africa, and the Gospel is being preached with great blessing and lasting effect.


One of the areas of outreach is the Municipal Campsite at Onrusrivier. As this area is flooded with people over Easter weekends, this is considered an excellent opportunity and place for Easter conferences. Often more than 400 people would attend this annual event where services are held in tents, and meals for all attending are prepared on open fires.

In 1972 during one such a conference the AEB leaders under Mr Pieter Scholtz is informed of  a nearby property of16 hectares for sale at a very reasonable price. As pressure from some municipal officials about the annual conferences seem to be mounting at this stage, this offer comes at the perfect time, and is believed to be God’s leading.

Consequently the first Easter conference on this property is held in 1973. From Songs of Solomon God also provides Mr Scoltz with the name “Amana” which means: A safe and steadfast dwelling place, for there the Lord made a covenant with us.

Over time three dormitories, a mess, a congregation hall and a comfortable caretakers house is constructed. Today Amana is considered to be one of the biggest conference centres in the Western Cape with accommodation facilities for at least 200 people (excluding tent and caravan stands).

The Salt pan

Visitors to Amana are often amazed to discover a “dam” flanking the one side of the property. With first glance it seems that there is no in or outlet for this body of water.  It is indeed so that the Vermont salt pan or vlei has no visible inlet or outlet, as it is fed by groundwater which seeps from the mountainside, which then again finds it way underground to the sea. The salt pan and its surrounds are considered a bird watchers paradise, and for this reason Cape Nature Conservation keeps a watchful eye on this precious natural heritage.


Currently the Superintendent of the Western Cape wing of the AEB is Mr and Mrs Hercu Wentzel. This committed  leader and his faithful team of pilgrims annually visit most of the towns in the Western Cape  to reach out with the gospel and conduct services. Conferences on Amana are still held twice a year during Easter and the September school holidays.  All outreach are undertaken in faith, and visitors are not asked to pay for either food or accommodation.  For the remainder of the year Amana is available for independent churches and organisations to hold camps and conferences.

AEB “pilgrims” as the evangelist are called, undergoes an intense two year training program at Glenvar the AEB training centre in Constantia before they commence their work. Please feel free to talk to the managers of Amana since 1995, Johan and Bettie Barnardo for more information on Amana or the AEB.

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