During the early ’20s a feeling of discomfort arose within the western Cape with the way the white missionaries ran the affairs of the churches under their jurisdiction. Two like minded groups, which were originally unaware of each other’s existence, met to discuss the role of missionaries in the church.
One group was in Stellenbosch and was led by a barber named Paul M. Rhode; the other was in Cape Town and under the leadership of Rev. J. J. H. Forbes. On August 14, 1921, the first group decided to set up the United National Church of Africa, the People’s Church (Vereenigd Nasionale Kerk van Afrika, Onze Volkskerk).
In 1922 Rev. Forbes, disillusioned with the churches he was serving, joined the Volkskerk. The reasons for establishing the church were not dogmatic but rather socio-political. The Volkskerk was to be a church for the Coloured people, “built on the faith of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and his holy Apostles, church controlled by the people and for the people.” Today the church is implanted in the eastern and western Cape.