Aliwal Hilton

Where Hilton township stands today there was empty ground in 1948 when the National Party won the elections and began to introduce its Apartheid laws. Until that time the “Colourds” had been living in town, mainly in the area near the Catholic Cathedral and St.Joseph’s Trade School. Since the government enforced a strict separation of all races the “Colourds” had to leave their houses in town and had to move far away to the opposite side of the town, where a totally new township was built for them, called “Hilton”. There may be an irony in that name which derives from a chain of luxury hotels while the people had to leave their good houses in town and had to move into box houses in the township.

For black people a separate township had always existed on the north side of the Burgersdorp road while the Colourds never had a separate township but lived among the white people in the Eastern area of the town near the Sacred Heart Convent for Coloured Sisters, StJoseph’s School for Colourds and the Cathedral.

Around 1950 the first rows of uniform simple houses were built in Hilton by the municipality under the apartheid laws and the first Coloured families began to live there.

10 May 1956 St. Pius X Church in Hilton was blessed by bishop J.Lueck.
Even the Sacred Heart Sisters who were founded as a congregation for Colourds, were threatened by the Apartheid officials for several years with forced removal since they continued living in the “whites-only” town. The bishop had to fear a forced removal of the Sisters and therefore built the large complex of the crèche in Hilton in such a way that the Sisters would have been able to move into it at any time. However, the threat was not carried out.

1967 the crèche was built, including a large convent on the upper floor.
During the years of apartheid Hilton was the exclusive residential area for “Colourds”. When racial disctinctions were abolished in 1991, new houses were added to Hilton on its Western side and those houses were occupied partly by Afrikaans-speaking families, partly by Xhosa and Sotho families. The Qili High School was built next to those houses as an English-medium school where pupils of all population groups were mixed.

During these years of gradual racial integration parish life at Hilton remained focused on Afrikaans-speaking people while Xhosa and Sotho speaking Catholics of those residential areas preferred to walk across to St.Francis parish because liturgy was conducted in their own language there.

St.Pius parish introduced a parish council and trained liturgical leaders for various parish activities. The priests introduced the ward-system which is similar to the system of Small Christian communities.
Priests serving Hilton Parish:

1952 Platten – 67
1968 Wilson – 74?
1977 Notermans -94
1979 Cahi – 95
1995 B.Hansel 2011
2011 B. Kazali Isaho