Town 46 km west of Harrismith and 45 kilometres (28 mi) east of Bethlehem. The new village was laid out in 1905 on the farms Mooifontein and Driekuil, acquired from Adriaan and Johannes Bezuidenhout. It became a municipality in 1906.
It is named after the Reverend Dr. af:John Daniel Kestell (1854 - 1941), minister of the Dutch Reformed Church from 1894 to 1903, author and cultural leader, who played an important role in the Anglo-Boer War and later helped with the Afrikaans Bible translation. The local NG Church building, designed by famed architect of dozens of churches and the Voortrekker Monument, Gerard Moerdijk, was inaugurated on 31 March 1928.