Genadendal has a rich spiritual history and was the first mission station in southern Africa. It was founded by Georg Schmidt, a German missionary of the Moravian Church, who settled on 23 April 1738 in Baviaans Kloof (Ravine of the Baboons) in the Riviersonderend Valley and began to evangelise among the Khoi people. The Moravian Church (originated in 1457 in Moravia, today part of the Czech Republic) had a particular zeal for mission. Many thought that mission work among the Khoisan (Hottentots) was attempting the impossible, but in spite of this Schmidt prevailed. He became acquainted with an impoverished and dispersed Khoi people who were practically on the threshold of complete extinction. Apart from the few Kraals, which still remained, there were already thirteen farms in the vicinity of Baviaans Kloof. Within a short while Schmidt formed a small Christian congregation. He taught the Khoi to read and write, but when he began to baptise his converts there was great dissatisfaction among the Cape Dutch Reformed Church clergy. According to them, Schmidt was not an ordained minister and as such, was not permitted to administer the sacraments. Consequently he had to abandon his work, and in 1744, after seven years at Baviaans Kloof, he left the country.