the war of ngcayecibi

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THE WAR OF NGCAYECIBI 1877 - 8" Thesis Submitted in Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS OF RHODES UNIVERSITY by MICHAEL WOLSELEY SPICER February 1978 The candidate would like to express his appreciation to the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust whose scholarship for 1820 Settler and Eastern Cape History has made this research possible. " '. TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PROLOGUE: THE MAIN CHARACTERS I THE CISKEI AND TRANSKEI TO 1872 II 1872-77: SARHILI AND THE GCALEKA FESIEGED It I AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER 1877: THE GCALEKA DECIDE TO FIGHT IV SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER 1877: THE RETREAT AND RETURN OF THE GCALEKA V DECEMBER 1877 TO JUNE 1878: THE XHOSA DIVIDED AND DEFEATED VI GUNGUBELE, S I TOKHWE TYHALI AND TINI MAQOMO: CASE STUDIES IN RESISTANCE VII THE TRANSKEI 1878-81: SETTLEMENT AND UNSETTLEMENT CONCLUSION APPENDICES I REPORT ON FIELDWORK II XHOSA GENEALOGY BIBLI(x;RAPHY MAPS AND CARTOONS 1 ~ S o ~ t h Eastern Africa 1877 2. British Kaffraria after the Cattle Killing 3. Southern Gcalekaland 4. Eastward H"o! A Typical view of Sarhili 5. The Perie Bush 6. The Queenstown and Indwe District 7. The Waterkloof, Schelmkloof and B linkwater area i iii iv 1 24 68 102 144 186 214 241 249 253 254 opp p. 2 ~ 'I opp p. 4 opp p. 24!i opp p. 88 opp p. I 84. opp p. 203 opp p .212 i PREFACE This work makes no pretence at being a comprehensive account of th,e War of Ngcayecibi and its context in Cape and Imperial History. It omits all but passing reference to Imperial Policy, Frere's Federation plans, the Constitutional Crisis and the dismissal of the Molteno Ministry, all of which have been more than adequately covered elsewhere. Rather it concentrates on a study of the war in terms of black/white relations. The responses of the blacks to white pressures on their land and traditional society are examined, particularly those of Sarhili and the Gcaleka, for Sarhili, the gentlemanly but tragic Paramount Chief of the Xhosa, is the central figure in the canvas of black Ciskeian and Transkeian leaders of the time, and the War of Ngcayecibi is very much a Xhosa war. I have tried to avoid a conventional account of the military operations of the war, sketching only the broad outlines of .military operations and concentrating on the strategies adopted by black and white forces, and the reasons for which various black chiefdoms or segments thereof participated in the war. Orthography. The matter of orthography is a tricky one, for Xhosa orthography has been recently overhauled and is not yet finalised. I have attempted with the aid of Mr Sidney Zotwana of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University to adopt the most acceptable forms of Xhosa names. I have dropped the use of all prefixes since I felt their use wo;uld have been pedantic in what, after a11, is an English language thesis and since there is no' chance of confusion between historical figures like Gcaleka and the amaGcaleka people. Sources. The documents printed in Cape a n ~ Imperial Blue-Books, especially the Cape Blue-Books, on Native Affairs for the years 1874-1884, and the correspondence in the Native Affairs Archive in the Government Archives in Cape Town, proved to be the most valuable official and semi-official sources. The Merriman and Molteno Papers in the South African Library in Cape Town were the [i,ost useful private papers consulted,though odd items in the Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, proved of use. The rash of memoirs published after the war were, with exceptions, singularly unilluminating. Most prominent amongst the exceptions was West W. Fynn: The :'77 War (East London, 1911), an account of the war written by the Clerk of the Resident to Sarhili. Although Fynn has a grudge against treatment he receiv.ed from the Colonial Government at the time, and is not above dramatising his role, he was in an unparalLe11ed position to observe the events leading up to the war and records much valuable information. The voluminous notebooks in Cory Library of the late Dr A.W. Burton, an amateur Border historian who had researched the war, were interesting but difficult to use because of an almost total lack of fo'otnoting or reference to sources. J.R. Soga's two works, The South Eastern Bantu (Johannesburg, 1930) and The Ama-Xosa: Life and Customs (Lovedale, 1931) are well known and proved useful but, as will be seen, have to be treated with care. Of more modern works, J. Peires: "A History of the Xhosa c.1700-1835" if (unp. M.A. thesis, Rhodes University, 1976) proved invaluable as a background to Xhosa society and earlier Xhosa history. The works of Christopher Saunders, who has written much on topics related to the war, were indispensable. C.J. Schoeman: "Die Negende Grensbotsing" (unp. M.A. thesis, University of Port Elizabeth, 1976), the one general study of the war thus far written, covers military operations at great length and is a work very much in the mould of traditional Afrikaner Frontier Historiography. Abbreviations. Col. Sec. D.S .A.B. S.N.A. Colonial Secretary Dictionary of South African Bibliography Secretary for Native Affairs iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My thanks are due to the many individuals and bodies who contributed to the writing of this thesis, and in particular to: All the people of Transkei and the Ciskei who made my fieldwork such a worthwhile experience: The Rev. and Mrs F. Ziegler of Willowvale and the Rev. and Mrs H. Oosthuizen of Kentani who gave me their hospitality; the Transkeian and Ciskeian governments and their officials and the Department of Bantu Administration and Development; and most of all to my guide, mentor and interpreter, Mr Alcott Blaauw; Dr and Mrs Jack Sim of Claremont who were so kind to me during an extended stay in Cape Town; Mr M. Berning and Mrs Sandy Fold of the Cory Library, Rhodes University; the staffs of the Government Archives in Cape Town and the South African Library; Professor J. Opland and Mr Sidney Zotwana of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University; and Mr. J. Peires of Rhodes University; The Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and Rhodes University for their generous financial assistance (the conclusions reached in this work do not necessarily reflect their opinions); Professor T.R.H. Davenport, my supervisor; My parents and my wife, Ireen. iv PROLOGUE: THE MAIN CHARACTERS. I have thought it useful here to summarise the relevant details about the main black and white protagonists. I have given the relevant D.S.A.B. reference as other sources are referred to in the text, except for Veldtman for whom there is not D.S.A.B. entry. There is a Xhosa genealogy in the Appendices for less important black figures not mentioned in the footnotes. THE BLACKS Maphasa (c.1835-1894) Not to be confused with Maphasa the Tshatshu Thembu chief. Son of Bhurhu, the Right Hand son of Khawuta. Maphasa was perhaps the second most important chief in Gcalekaland and head of the Tsonyana cl'an. The history of his opposition to Sarhili began when he refused to believe in the Cattle Killing and went into exile. . In 1872 Maphasa again refused to support Sarhili, this time in his campaign against Ngangelizwe, and increasingly thereafter Maphasa advocated the reception of the Gcaleka under British rule, a step he anticipated would lead to independent status for himself and the Tsonyana. It was the Tsonyana who were involved in the beer-drink at Ngcayecibi's Kraal and who instigated much of the trouble that followed, but Maphasa refused to fight the whites and, looking for personal advantage, in an abrupt volte-face as the war broke out, he joined the colonists as an active ally. D.S.A.B., i, 503.;.4. Ngangelizwe (c.1840-1884) The eldest son of Mthikrakra and Paramount Chief of the Thembu. A man of unstable temperament, he wished to unite the fragmented Thembu Paramountcy, but this ambition brought him into conflict with Sarhili and the renascent Gcaleka power. Ngangelizwe's ill-treatment of two Gcaleka women, one Sarhili's daughter, provoked open confrontation with the Gcaleka and Ngangelizwe turned to the British to save him from abject defeat. On the reception of the Thembu as British subjects in 1875, he was deposed for his misdeeds, but was reinstated to his position in 1876 when the Thembu rallied to his cause. Thereafter he sought official favour by demonstrating undivided loyalty to the Colony, and thus committed the Thembu as active allies of the Colonists in the War of Ngcayecibi, despite Thembu discontent with British rule. D.S.A.B., ii,514-5 . Sandile (1820-1878) Son of Ngqika and his great wife Sutu, Chief of the amaNgqika and Paramount Chief of the Rharhabe. A popular chief despite a certain cruel streak which might have been r

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