Nigel (Eastern Cape)


Nigel is a small town northeast of Johannesburg. The town was established as a result of gold found in the area in 1886.

The first Jewish settlers came to Nigel at the turn of the century; among the early pioneers were Moritz J. Plen and Nathan Gamsu.

The Nigel Hebrew Congregation was established soon after in 1902. Until that time services were held in the Gamsu home and at the Masonic Hall on High Holy Days. The Jewish Guild Hall was built in 1938 and used for services.

Amongst the residents were medical practitioners, pharmacists, a dentist, a veterinary chemist, attorneys, a photographer as well as businessmen and shopkeepers.

There were general dealers, concession storeowners and farmers. A milling company and threshing machine factory owned by Jews created employment for many of the townsfolk.

In 1951 there were 313 Jews in the town; 150 in 1964; 76 in 1980 and nine in 1991. In December 1996 there were four Jewish residents.