THE NATIVE RACES OF SOUTH AFRICA
GEORGE W. STOW, F.G.S., F.R.G.S.
17. THE GRIQUAS
We have now arrived at the last tribe connected with the Hottentot race which it will be necessary for us to notice ; but their history forms nevertheless a subject of considerable interest, from the notice into which both Griquas and Griqualand have of late years been brought by the wonderful discovery of diamonds in the valley of the Vaal, and the diverse land claims connected therewith.
We have already pointed out that among the old Hottentot tribes in the days of the early Dutch settlement there was a clan belonging to the Cochoqua group which was variously called Chariguriqua and Grigriqua. In 1652 they were said to be without any hereditary chief, and sixty-one years later, or in 1713, Kolben states that their descendants were living near St. Helena Bay. There does not therefore appear any reason for doubting that it was from this tribe the modem Griquas derived their name.
There is however a vast difference between the tribe we are now treating of and those of the Namaqua and Korana. In these last we had the pure descendants of the old tribes with which the early Dutch settlers carried on their profitable bartering, but in the case of the Griqua it is very different. Although since 1813 the whole of them have adopted the appellation of Griqua, a large majority of them were not only descendants of the Hottentot tribe we have mentioned but of the Dutch colonists also. They were, in fact, a race of mixed blood, many of them being half-castes, the offspring of Hottentot and Bush women by the old colonists. This mongrel breed afterwards intermixed with the miserable remnant of the true Grigriqua, who appear to have principally occupied their time, for a considerable period previous to their great migration to the eastward, in wandering about in the neighbourhood of Piquetberg and along the borders of the present Division of Clanwilham.
While these latter have always considered themselves Griquas, the larger portion of those now included under this designation were formerly called Bastaards, a name which, however distasteful to European notions, was one of which they were originally particularly proud. The preponderance of the Dutch element amongst them was shown by the Dutch language being spoken by the more influential majority and by its superseding that of the purely Hottentot minority.
We shall find as we proceed, that at the commencement of their career the purer Griqua element seemed to congregate around the elder Kok, whilst those of mixed descent formed the principal following of the Bastaard chief Barend Barends ; and that these two diverse elements only combined when from the force of circumstances their leaders entered into a kind of mutual bond for the purpose of strengthening themselves, and that they might defend themselves against a common danger.
From the records which have been preserved it would appear that the early condition of the Griquas who first gathered round Kok, as their chosen captain, was on a lower level in the scale of civilisation than even that of the Koranas. In a report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Aborigines, they are thus described : In 1800, when their first missionary, Mr. Anderson, went among them, they were a horde of wandering naked savages, subsisting by plunder and the chase. Their bodies were daubed with red paint, their heads loaded with grease and shining powder, with no covering but the filthy kaross over their shoulders. Without knowledge, without morals, or any trace of civilisation, they were wholly abandoned to witchcraft, drunkenness, licentiousness, and all the consequences which arise from the unchecked growth of such vices. With his fellow labourer, Mr. Kramer, Mr. Anderson wandered about with them for five years and a half, exposed to all the dangers and privations inseparable from such a state of society, before they could induce them to locate where they afterwards settled.
The missionary Anderson, writing of this period, states : When I went among the Griquas, and for some time after, they were without the smallest marks of civilisation. If I except one, who had, by some means, got a trifling article of colonial raiment, they had not one thread of European clothing among them, and their wretched appearance and habits were such as might have excited in our minds an aversion for them, had we not been actuated by principles which led us to pity them and served to strengthen us in pursuing the object of our missionary work. They were in many instances little above the brutes. It is a fact that we were among them at the hazard of our lives. This became evident to us from their own acknowledgment to us afterwards, they having confessed that they had frequently premeditated to take away our lives, and were prevented only from executing their purposes by what they now consider an Almighty power. When we went among them, and for some time after, they lived in the habit of plundering one another, and they saw no moral evil in this, nor in any of their actions. Violent deaths were common, and I recollect many of the aged women told me their husbands had been killed in this way. Their usual manner of living was truly disgusting, and they were void of shame ; however, after a series of hardships which required much faith and patience, our instructions were attended with a blessing which produced a great change.
The old Griquas were clad in the earlier days much in the same fashion as the other wild races by whom they were surrounded, viz. a bunch of leather strings about eighteen inches long hung from the woman's waist in front, and a prepared skin of a sheep or antelope covered their shoulders. The men wore a patch of an apron, as big as the crown of a hat, and a mantle exactly like that of the women. To protect the skin from the sun by day and the cold by night, they smeared themselves with a compound of fat and ochre ; the head was anointed with pounded blue mica mixed with grease. The particles of shining mica, as they fell upon the body and on the strings of beads and brass rings, were considered highly ornamental.
The present Griquas, however, are clearly, as we have pointed out, an aggregation of individuals of comparatively very modem origin, whose homogeneity consisted only in the sameness of their wandering and plundering proclivities, and who could certainly lay no claim to being the descendants of the more ancient tribe called Grigriquas in the time of the early Dutch settlement. At the period when the elder Kok commenced his wanderings they could only have been few in number, a weak sept, consisting principally of the members of his own family and their adherents.
The Koranas started as a compact body on their north-eastern journey, at a time when they still retained a considerable degree of their original tribal organisation, and carried with them their tribal traditions and hereditary leaders. This movement commenced, as we have seen, at a much earlier date than that of the Koks, for we find that although Cornelius Kok, the elder, was an old man, he had never heard of the Koranas within the limits of the Colony. In his time, however, the means of communication were rather difficult, and he and his embryo Griqua tribe moved diagonally across the Bushman country, and struck the 'Gariep, or Great river, much lower down than where the main body of the Koranas first came in contact with it.
Differing so greatly as these Griquas did from the earlier Korana emigrants, we can easily understand why such a mongrel and miscellaneous collection of people had neither hereditary chiefs nor hereditary traditions. This of course cannot be wondered at when we take into consideration the diverse and almost antagonistic elements of which this tribe was composed.
When Waterboer came to the head of affairs, the following elements were added to the original material : Korana, Bushmen,, and refugees from the Bachoana, chiefly of the Batlaru, Batlapin, and Basutu tribes ; while as his power increased, and the fame of it spread into the Colony, the loose materials of the colonial sweepings were powerfully attracted towards this new centre, in the shape of great numbers of other half-caste Hottentots, representatives of every remaining tribe and from every quarter of the old Colony, refugee slaves, especially after their emancipation, and men of every shade of mixture between these various races.
The newcomers brought with them not only some notions about European clothing, but, what was still more important to Griqua progress, a large number of them came possessed of horses and firearms. The very names which many of them bore marked the closer connexion between them and the old European colonists than had existed in the time of the Korana exodus. Many of the latter, even in 1874-5, retained names which plainly indicated their Hottentot derivation, intermingled with a few others, such as Jager, Stuurman, Wildeman, Kwaaiman, Platje, January, August, April, September, October, November, and the like, evidently obtained while in temporary service among the neighbouring Boers or Griquas ; while among the others, who gloried rather than otherwise in being called Bastaards, we meet frequently with the following easily recognised colonial surnames, which at once explain their own history —
Kleinhans Pienaar Van Rooyen
Coetzee Cloete Potgieter
Kruger Gousen Swanepoel
Jansen Buiskes Lombard
Marais Van Wijk Greef
and many others, together with a few names showing English descent, such as Read, Bartlett, etc.
It is certain that sometimes slaves and other retainers took the names of their master's families ; but in those of the Bastaards or Griquas bearing these names, their physical appearance admits of no question as to their mixed origin. These half-caste people were induced to migrate from the Colony, not only by their own desire to escape from the thraldom in which they had lived and to settle in a spot where they believed they would be subject to less restraint, but also to set up, as some of their friends fondly hoped, an independent state free from any extraneous interference.
Several causes led to this. By such a clearance the civil authorities imagined that they would rid themselves of an element which they saw growing and accumulating, and which they feared might, if not got rid of in time, ultimately prove exceedingly troublesome in the colony ; they were the debris of the tribes which had almost ceased to exist, the waifs of colonial life thrown upon society, and apparently, from a natural inertness of disposition, unable to compete with the more energetic races in the struggle for existence. It was, therefore, considered by some that by collecting and placing them on one side, the difficulty would be reduced to a point, and thus rendered more manageable ; while, from a negrophilist point of view, it afforded the long desired opportunity to start a politico-religious community freed from the trammels of outside control, to build up a separate national existence under purely missionary influences under the patronage of a Society, whose well-meaning but frequently, through ignorance and inexperience, misguided interference has entailed an unmitigated increase of evil in almost every portion of the globe where they have intermeddled. To attempt to establish a history for a race which, from the remotest ages, has been unable to build up a history for itself, must, one is inclined to believe, always prove a failure ; and to expect to turn men who have just been emancipated from the oppressions of generations, and from the debasement and degradation of serfdom and slavery, suddenly into a race of noble-minded patriots, can be an idea entertained only by enthusiastic visionaries, who hope for miracles in utter defiance of all the experience of past history.
In following out our investigation with regard to the migration of these Griquas, we will do so under the separate heads given below, that we may thereby obtain a clearer and more definite, and therefore more satisfactory view, of the race of people now under consideration.
A. The Founders of the Modem Griquas,
B. The Family of the Africaanders and the Clan of the Jagers (the Hunters),
C. Barend Barends, the original Chief of the Sept of the Bastaards,
D. Causes which forced the migration to the Eastward,
E. The early Griqua Settlement,
F. The Griquas of 1813,
G. The Griquas of 1820 under the rule of Waterboer,
H. The Griqua Chiefs,
(a). Adam Kok, of Philippolis,
(b). Cornelius Kok, of Campbell,
(c). Barend Barends, of Boetsap,
(d). Jan Bloem, the Younger,
I. Concluding Remarks.
A. — The Founders of the Modern Griquas.
The name Kok, i.e. Cook, was said to have been derived from the circumstance of one of the progenitors of the family having served as a cook to one of the old Dutch governors. Old Adam Kok, however, who may be termed the founder of this family, and who was the great-grandfather of Adam Kok, the chief of Philippolis, and afterwards of Nomansland, was born about 1710.
Although of mixed descent, he was originally a slave, but by dint of industry he was able to collect a sufficient sum to purchase his freedom and subsequently to procure a farm among the colonists of the Cape. This farm appears to have been somewhere near the Piquetberg, where his son Cornelius was born. He also seems to have possessed property at the Khamiesberg, where his family sometimes resided. Here a number of Bastaards and many Hottentots and people of colour gathered around him. He is spoken of as a man superior to most of his fellows, and received a wand of office with the appointment of captain, or chief over the natives who had congregated around him.
The Chariguriquas or Grigriquas were then living to the south of Little Namaqualand. We can easily imagine the reason why one with a preponderance of white blood in his veins, and a man of substance also, was recognised as a leader among the Bastaards, who were drawn towards him by the fame of his riches, while the government wand ensured him the allegiance of the down-pressed serf-like Hottentots.
After a time this Adam sold his little domain and migrated to the country of the Namaquas. In this movement many of the Grigriquas, in the neighbourhood of whom he lived, connected themselves with him. In Namaqualand his subjects were again increased by the addition of a considerable number of Hottentots. After this he recrossed the river and settled at Pella, with one Mr. Albertse as his missionary, and from this point he made long hunting expeditions into the interior. Kok and his Griqua retainers pushed their excursions as far as the country where Campbell, Griquatown, and Boetsap are now situated. Here they found an abundance of all kinds of game, but no people occupying it except some stray Bushmen. No Kaffirs whatever were found.
It was in those days that these Griqua hunters first discovered and visited the strong fountains at Klaarwater and other places in what is now called Griqualand West, and when they or their friends years afterwards moved up the Great river and took possession of them, they did so without let or hindrance from any one, for the simple reason that neither the Batlapin tribe nor any other of the Bachoana was there to dispute their right, and the Bushmen as a matter of course made no resistance, the greater portion of them having been cleared out of the country by the Koranas or the previous hunting parties of the Griquas and Bastaards.
In 1788 Adam Kok, then a very old man, was still living near the Great river, and in 1795, finding himself too old and feeble for the cares of government, he transferred his chieftain-ship and staff of office to his eldest son Cornelius, who obtained great influence among all the natives, Koranas and others, with whom he came in contact.
This Cornelius was born in 1746 at the Piquet mountain. When he was a boy, he said, no Boer lived farther north than Oliphant River. The Bushmen to the eastward of Namaqualand were always at war both with the Colony and the Namaquas, but his father, by gentle treatment, was the means of bringing them to live in peace. At that time both Bushmen and Namaquas were much more numerous than at present. Many of the former were carried off by disease, others removed higher up the river to the eastward, while a considerable number of the latter crossed the river and took up their residence in Great Namaqualand. No person beyond, or to the north of, the Oliphant river at the time of his living at Piquetberg possessed a waggon, except his father and himself.
When his father removed to the north, Cornelius remained behind at the Khamiesberg. He could read and write, and had to a certain degree been civilised by intercourse with missionaries and colonists, and through frequenting Capetown and the Colony. He commanded great respect among his people, and by their aid and the services of the neighbouring Bushmen and Koranas had so far prospered that he had become the possessor of immense flocks of sheep. Kok had the good sense to secure to himself the services of these native tribes, by giving them a certain number of sheep in charge, allowing them half the lambs for their trouble of herding. Their true and faithful accounting, annually, was proverbial, and thus he prevented both poverty in his neighbourhood and the consequence of want. By all accounts he lived in a style similar to that of the colonists on the border, and exhibited a good example to those about him by introducing ideas of regularity, comfort, necessary conveniences, and social duties, which raised his immediate followers far above the tribes around him.
This Cornelius Kok was not only a great flock-master, but a great hunter ; and apparently tired of the somewhat monotonous life of a Dutch burgher and actuated doubtlessly in the first instance more by ardour for the chase and love of hunting than anything else, he inspanned his waggon and left the Khamiesberg. Ranking, as we are informed he did, as a burgher, we presume that he and his immediate relatives, at least, had guns, which they took with them when he commenced his wanderings like his father before him. He was acknowledged by the existing government as the successor of his father, and thus entrusted with the staff of office, possessing horses and firearms and flocks of almost patriarchal size, one of the primitive tokens of immense wealth, he must undoubtedly have appeared as a great man in the eyes of the natives among whom he travelled.
The country abounded in game, large and small, gemsboks and elands, giraffes, white rhinoceroses, and many other large animals were numerous. In such a country, besides those who had adhered to the fortunes of his father, the expert and enthusiastic huntsman would soon get a considerable following around him, ready to assist him in the chase, and to feast and make merry upon the superabundance of flesh which its spoils afforded.. This in all probability was the time when his " faithful Griquas " first gathered round him in any considerable numbers.
Finding the wild life of the huntsman more congenial to his nature than following his sheep, which he seems in a great measure to have entrusted to the care of others, he continued his pursuit of game, wandering from place to place until he arrived on the banks of the 'Gariep or Great river.
A description has already been given of the degraded condition of the Griquas at this period.
In their early days, with the exception of their leader and his family, and the few Bastaards who were associated with him„ the whole of the horde still used the bow and arrow, the ancient weapons of their race. The nucleus of the future tribe was then composed of the half-caste family of the Koks and their purely Hottentot adherents ; after this date these were joined from time to time by scattered groups of other Bastaards, and thus the hands of Cornelius were gradually strengthened, and with the feeling of growing strength a little cattle lifting and marauding sprang up among his followers when game was difficult to procure. Mixing up a little conquest on his own part with his sporting occupations, he subdued and absorbed into his own tribe most of the wandering Koranas with whom he came in contact.
Having fixed upon a sort of central station on the Great river, he sallied out from this point upon hunting or other expeditions, some of which were extended to considerable distances. In one of these he came in contact with the Batlapin, who were then found at a place called Kama-piri, on the Kuruman river, not far below the present mission station. Some writers have stated that he was the first, proceeding from a southerly direction, who discovered the Batlapin ; but we know now, as we have previously shown, that long before his arrival the Korana clans had invaded and settled in that part of the country, and had carried their marauding expeditions much farther to the northward than Kuruman ; and that they had been, according to the most orthodox manners of the times, on some occasions on friendly terms with the Batlapin, while on others they had relieved, or attempted to relieve, them of any number of superfluous cattle they could lay their hands on.
Molehabangwe, father of Mothibi and Mahura, and grandfather of Mankoroane, was the great chief of the Batlapin at the time of this visit of Kok, which appears to have been a most opportune one for these people, as it proved to be the means of saving them from the grasping clutches of their quondam friends and neighbours the Koranas.
At this time no Bachoana were found in the country south of the Kuruman river. The greater portion was, with the exception of those localities which had been appropriated by the invading Koranas, still in the occupation of its earliest known inhabitants, the Bushmen. The report of the Select Committee upon the Aborigines, already referred to, explains by whom these unfortunate people were eventually deprived of by far the largest tracts of their hunting grounds. In this report it is stated that the Griquas have been accused, and with much probability of truth, of having whilst in a savage state treated the Bushmen with barbarity, and expelled them from the greater part of their country. This however was before the missionaries went to them !
It is difficult to reconcile the statement in the last paragraph with the fact that the missionaries had been wandering with the Griquas on the left, or south side, of the Orange river for several years before they crossed it, a part of the Bushman country in which they, the Griquas, never made any permanent settlement, and that it was after these missionaries had themselves selected, and appropriated, the country around Klaarwater as a home for their Griqua protégés that the great extension and permanent usurpation of the Bushman territory by these Griquas commenced ! We are assured that the Griqua chiefs of the infant settlement always treated the Bushmen with consideration and kindness. Of this we shall have better means of judging as we proceed, and shall discover that this kindness was strikingly exemplified by depriving the latter of the last vestige of their lands and giving them in exchange a few cattle to live upon, as if the men of this wild hunter-race, who rejoiced m the untrammelled freedom of the mighty plains by which they were surrounded, could be suddenly turned, by a feat akin to legerdemain, into mere cattle-herds ! Be this as it may, it is quite certain that they at the same time must have received very different treatment from the hands of a large portion of the Griqua people, and that, up to a very recent period, for in 1820 the hatred of the Bushmen was so intense against the Griquas that they never lost an opportunity of killing one, could they catch him alone in the veld.
In 1801 Africaander and his banditti were spreading terror through the entire country, and had carried their depredations as far as the Korana kraals in the neighbourhood of t'Keys, or 'Kheis. The Griquas were at that time living scattered from t'Koubahas (Bitter Dacha), then the headquarters of Cornelius Kok, and some distance below 'Kheis, on the Great river, to a little above its junction with the Vaal or 'Gij-'Gariep. Another portion of the Kok family, Jan Kok with his family and retainers, were living at t'Karaap, not far from Modder Fontein to the right of these rivers, while the missionaries Kicherer, Anderson, and Kramer were found at t'Aakaap, or Rietfontein, with their followers. A few Koranas were also encamped at the same place. Such then appears to have been the position of the Griquas who acknowledged the authority of the Koks. The country to the north and north-west of this was still in the sole and undisturbed possession of the Bushmen.
Having thus traced the career of the elder Koks, the real founders of the modern Griquas, to this point, we will now pass on to the consideration of the next section, especially as the latter part of the life of Cornelius being connected with the early Griqua Settlement, it will be better, to avoid unnecessary repetition, to defer any further remarks which we may have to make with regard to his actions and his wanderings until we treat upon that subject. After a lengthened life he died at 'Kou'nou-sop's drift on the Vaal, after nominating his son Adam as chief of the whole Griqua nation, while Cornelius Kok of Campbell was appointed chief of the family branch of the Koks.
B. — The Family of the Africaanders and the Clan of the Jagers or Hunters.
The Africaanders belonged to a large tribe of Hottentots who were at one time called Jagers or the Hunters, and who lived within a hundred miles of Capetown, near the rugged Witsenberg range of mountains. Unfortunately the original native name has been lost, and it is therefore impossible to identify them with any of the old tribes of the early Dutch Settlement. Being unable to maintain their ground against the continual encroachments of the Dutch, they were at length driven back from one point to another farther in the interior, while those who lingered behind were compelled to become the submissive serfs of the farmers.
The Africaanders were the ruling family. The father of Jager Africaander, the most prominent and notorious member of it, had succeeded by hereditary right to the chieftainship of the diminished remnant of the tribe, which he resigned to his eldest son Jager, afterwards called Christian Africaander. In his younger days he had pastured his own flocks and hunted his own game not only over the Witsenberg but the Winterhoek mountains, once the strongholds of his clan. He had a dash of European blood in his veins. For a considerable time he lived in the service of a farmer in the district of Tulbagh, part of his time being employed in tending the farmer's cattle, which were sent at certain seasons to the vicinity of the Great river.
It was about this time that the Cape first came into the hands of the English, when a report was industriously circulated by evil-minded persons that all the Hottentots were to be forced into the army, with the design of sending them out of Africa. This report induced Africaander and his sons to resolve to leave the colony altogether, or to live near its limits, to escape being forced into the army.
Their master, Piet Pienaar, who appears to have been invested with the authority of a fieldcornet, trekking about the same time, they removed with him to the extreme border beyond the Oliphant river.
Here, Africaander and his sons, Jager, Titus, Klaas, David, and Jacobus, together with the remains of his tribe, which had now dwindled to a few families, took up their abode. On account of the increasing age of the father and the shrewdness and prowess of the eldest son, Jager, the latter had obtained the reins of government of his tribe at an early age. Pienaar found in him a faithful and intrepid shepherd, while his valour in defending and increasing the herds and flocks of his master enhanced his value, at the same time that it rapidly matured the latent principle which afterwards recoiled on the devoted family and carried devastation to whatever quarter he directed his steps. He and his brothers were for a considerable time employed by Pienaar in commandos against the Bushmen, Namaquas, and other defenceless natives of the interior, and were furnished with muskets and powder for that purpose. In this way they were taught to rob for their master, which ultimately led to their setting up for themselves.
On these occasions the unhappy victims of their attack were generally surprised in their villages at night, the men were shot, and the surviving women and children, together with the cattle, were captured. When these commandos were undertaken, the practice was for a few Boers to unite their separate strength, and the principal part of the booty was divided among themselves, a fractional share only being given to the slaves or Hottentots who were in their service. There were at that time a few Boers in that district who were noted for the cruelties and murders they committed upon the defenceless natives in these marauding and plundering expeditions, and among these the name of Pienaar was not the least notorious. We have already seen the success which attended some of these unjustifiable forays, and the lion's share which fell to Pienaar upon such occasions. Not only avaricious, but licentious and cruel, his conduct towards the females on his farm at length aroused the jealousy of Africaander and his brothers.
On expeditions where plunder was the object, Pienaar generally accompanied the party, but when they were not engaged in such serious matters they were often sent from home under circumstances which confirmed the suspicions to which allusion has already been made, the wives and daughters of the chief and his brothers being the principal objects of these illicit attentions. The Africaanders had been trained to the use of firearms, and to act not only on the defensive, but the offensive also, and now they, who had been signally expert in recapturing stolen cattle from the Bushmen, refused to go on any more such expeditions. A tempest was brooding in their bosoms. They signified their wish, with the farmer's permission, to have some reward for their often galling servitude, and to be allowed to retire to some of the sequestered districts beyond, where they might dwell in peace. This desire was however sternly refused, and followed by severity still more grievous.
Had Pienaar treated his subjects with common humanity, not to say gratitude, he might have died honourably and prevented the catastrophe which befell the family and the train of robbery, crime, and bloodshed which quickly followed that event. An incident, however, shortly afterwards occurred which brought matters to a climax. Information having come to Pienaar that the Bushmen had carried off some cattle from a Boer belonging to the district over which he was fieldcornet, he in his official capacity commanded them to pursue the Bushmen, in order to recapture the cattle. This order they positively refused to obey, alleging that his only motive for sending them on such an expedition was that they might be murdered, and he thereby get possession of their wives. Order after order was sent to their huts to summon them into the presence of their master, but which, in a dogged manner, they left unheeded.
In the evening Jager, with his brothers and some attendants, being again summoned by the exasperated farmer to appear at the door of his house, moved slowly up towards it. Titus, the next brother to the chief, dreading the farmer in his wrath, took his gun with him, which it being night he easily concealed. On reaching the front of the house, Jager, the chief, went up the few steps of the stoep leading to the door, to state their complaints, when Pienaar with his gun in his hand rushed furiously on the chieftain, and with one blow precipitated him to the bottom of the steps. Jager at the same moment seizing the gun, which was loaded with small shot, lodged the contents in his master's body.
As soon as Pienaar fell, the Africaanders entered the house, when the wife, who had witnessed the murder of her husband, shrieked and implored for mercy. They told her not to be alarmed, for they had nothing against her. They asked for the guns and ammunition which were in the place, which she promptly delivered to them. They then charged her not to leave the house during the night, as they could not ensure her safety if she and her family attempted to take to flight. This admonition was however disregarded, for overcome with terror two children who attempted to escape by the back door were immediately shot by a couple of Bushmen who were lying in wait. Mrs. Pienaar herself succeeded in reaching the nearest farm in safety.
Immediately after the fatal occurrence, Africaander rallied the remnant of his tribe, and with his family and the Hottentots in the service of Pienaar fled with as much expedition as possible towards Great Namaqualand, carrying with them whatever spoil they could secure, as well as all the muskets and ammunition which formerly belonged to their master. Having succeeded in effecting his retreat across the Great river, he fixed his abode on the opposite bank. From this point the formidable chief commenced his daring exploits against both the colonists and the neighbouring tribes, filling the borders of the colony to an extent of not less than three hundred miles with the terror of his name.
Attempts were made both on the part of the colonial government and the Boers themselves to avenge this outrage upon the Pienaar family, but the attempts were futile, and Africaander, notwithstanding their commandos and the rewards they offered for his apprehension dead or alive, maintained his position, and dared them to approach, his territory. In the meanwhile he and his brothers were not long in commencing offensive operations, and making reprisals upon the Colony. In their first expedition they took the farmers by surprise, and murdered a Boer named Engelbrecht, and likewise a Bastaard-Hottentot, from whom they carried off much cattle.
Immediately the missionaries arrived at Warm Bath in the Great Namaqua country, Africaander with his family came and took up his residence near them. For a time he behaved in an orderly and peaceable manner, but a circumstance occurred which led to the ruin of the settlement. Jager and Titus, as they dared not visit Capetown themselves after the murders they had perpetrated, employed a Hottentot named Hans Dreyer to take three spans or teams of oxen thither ; with two spans of these he was desired to purchase a waggon for them, and with the third to bring it home. On the way to Capetown Hans met a Boer to whom he was in debt, for which the Boer seized the whole of the oxen, upon which Hans returned to Namaqua- land, and refused to give any account of the oxen entrusted to his care. This conduct of Hans so exasperated the sons of Africaander that they attacked his kraal and murdered him.
Not long after this occurrence the friends of Hans, with the assistance of some Namaquas, in their turn attacked the kraal of Africaander, and he, to be revenged on the Namaquas for aiding them against him, fell upon their kraal. These, finding themselves too weak to resist him, implored assistance from the Namaquas at Warm Bath, who, complying with their request, sent out a large armed party to defend them, which so enraged Africaander that he threatened destruction to the settlement. He accomplished his threat in part, for he came against them and carried off a great number of their cattle. A numerous party of Namaquas pursued him to his kraal, where they carried on a kind of war, shooting at each other from behind bushes, none of them possessing sufficient courage to meet in the open field. However the Namaquas at length devised a prudent scheme for regaining their cattle, by taking possession of the watering place. In spite of Africaander's people, the cattle when thirsty made their way to the water, and were carried off in triumph by the Namaquas.
Africaander, renewing his threatenings against the Namaquas at Warm Bath, so intimidated them that they with the missionaries removed over the Great river to a place in Little or South Namaqualand. He commenced his operations by spreading devastation around the settlement ; for a whole month the missionaries were in a state of terror, hourly expecting the threatened attack. The natives likened him to a lion, whose roar made the inhabitants of even distant hamlets fly from their homes. Yes, said one of their chiefs, I have for fear of his approach fled with my people, our wives, and our children to the mountain glens or wilderness, and spent nights amongst the beasts of prey, rather than gaze on the eyes of this lion and hear his roar. On one occasion the missionaries dug square holes in the ground, about six feet deep, that in case of an attack they might escape the balls ; there they remained for the space of a week, having the tilt sail of a waggon thrown over the mouth of the pit to keep off the burning rays of an almost vertical sun.
At length this life of suspense and anxiety became insupportable, and they retreated with their people to the south of the Great river. Scarcely had they departed when Africaander made his appearance before the place. Finding it abandoned, his followers commenced a rigid search for any spoils which might have been concealed in the earth, and in this they were but too successful. One of the chieftain's attendants strayed in the burying-ground, where already a few mounds distinguished it from the surrounding waste as a place for the dead. Stepping over what he supposed to be a newly-closed grave, he heard to his surprise soft notes of music vibrate beneath. He stood motionless, gazing over his shoulder with open mouth and eyes dilated, hesitating whether to stand still and see the dead arise, which he had heard the missionaries preach about, or take to his heels. After no little palpitation of heart, he mustered courage to make another trial, for the tones he had heard had died away. His second leap again aroused the sepulchral harp, which now fell in soft but awful cadence on his ear. Without casting an eye behind, he darted off to the camp, and with breathless amazement announced to Africaander the startling discovery he had made of life and music in the grave.
The appearance of the man convinced Africaander that he was in earnest, for reason seldom reels in that country. The chief, fearless alike of the living or the dead, was not to be scared by a supposed spectre in a tomb. He arose, and ordering his men to follow him, went straight to the spot. One jumped and another jumped, and at each succeeding leap succeeding notes of the softest music fell upon the ear. Recourse was instantly had to exhumation, and the mysterious musician was soon dragged to light in the shape of the piano of the wife of the missionary Albrecht, which being too cumbrous to be taken with them in their hasty flight, had been buried in the spot where Africaander and his bandit followers found it. The triumphant chief and his adherents revelled in their ill-gotten spoils, and at their departure the fire-brand was stuck in the houses and huts and the entire place reduced to ashes.
Africaander now became a terror not only to the colony in the south, but also to the tribes on the north. The original natives of the country looked upon him as a common enemy. This led to pilferings and provocations on their part, which were sure to bring upon themselves a swift vengeance, with considerable interest. The tribes fled at his approach, and his name carried dismay even to the solitary wastes.
The success which in almost every instance followed the arms of such a small body of banditti as that of Africaander in the beginning of his career may be ascribed to his mode of warfare. The native method of carrying on hostilities was ever to keep themselves under cover, occasionally discharging their missiles, or firing an occasional shot, as any of the enemy exposed themselves. If both parties were of the same mind, this desultory skirmishing would be continued day after day, until one or other of the parties was weary. Africaander, on the other hand, always endeavoured to attack his enemy on the plain, or if they were entrenched among rocks or bushes, he instantly attempted to drive them from their sheltering places. By these tactics the conflict was soon decided. Africaander proved himself to be a man of prowess and capable of studying the results of the primitive method of native warfare, hence his constant victories.
His brother Titus was still more fierce and fearless than himself, and though a little man, he was an extraordinary runner and able to bear unparalleled fatigue. He has been known single-handed to overtake a party of twenty possessing firearms, and only to retire when his musket was shot to pieces in his hand. At length by incursions into the Colony and robbing the Boers, not only of their cattle, but of their muskets and powder, Africaander became very powerful. He was joined also by a European outlaw, as well as by some Bushmen and people of other tribes, and his horde grew into such formidable proportions that it was a standing menace to the whole of that portion of South Africa.
He commenced a regular system of depredations both upon the Namaquas and the Koranas. He pushed his forays against the latter so far to the eastward that he attacked the small clans which had settled in the neighbourhood of 'Kheis. Mr. Borcherds, who travelled through the country at the time, after crossing this ford to the left bank of the river, again heard reports of the cruelties committed by Africaander's brother Klaas. Danster, a petty chief of some emigrant Kaffirs, said that on one occasion he cut tobacco in small pieces, and spreading it close on a skin, induced some of the natives to 'pick it up, and while thus occupied they were attacked by a number of Africaander's men and cruelly put to death, and those who attempted to escape were shot. Fearful stories were also circulated about the atrocities committed by these banditti upon the Namaquas. Many had been murdered, women and children had been tied to trees, and after being ill-treated, killed ; whole communities had been robbed of their cattle, so that many of the tribes, not being able to defend themselves with inferior weapons, were wandering about in a state of want and privation, many perishing from hunger ; while the immense number of cattle thus obtained were exchanged again with some unprincipled colonists, who believed more in illicit bartering than fighting, for further supplies of arms and ammunition.
It is thus from the tragical fate of Pienaar we find a chain of events following one another with considerable rapidity, which must have had a marked influence upon the eastward migration of the clan of the Koks and the main body of the emigrant Bastaards and Griquas, as at an early date they became involved in a series of disputes and conflicts with the redoubtable chieftain of the Trans-Gariepine bandits. The farmers finding that they had failed to capture the outlawed Africaander, bribed those then living on the banks of the Great river under their chief Barend Barends to make the attempt. This gave rise to a bitter and deadly feud between them, resulting in numerous severe and bloody encounters between the Africaanders, who were urged by motives of self-defence and a desire to wreak vengeance on their enemies, the farmers and their allies, and the Griqua chief Barend Barends, who was impelled to the conflict both by the desire of reward and the hope of obtaining additional loot in the shape of captured cattle. Neither, however, gained any decided advantage over the other, although they dreadfully harassed one another and intensified the feeling of hatred and hostility which had sprung up between them.
In 1812-13, at the time of Mr. Campbell's first visit, he states that in every kraal he came to the very mention of Africaander's name caused a trembling amongst the inhabitants. From Pella he dispatched a conciliatory letter to this notorious brigand. Increasing years, doubtlessly, made him begin to feel weary of a life of disquiet and rapine, and he forwarded a favourable reply. Missionaries were sent to him, when he and some of his brothers became converts. He accompanied Mr. Moffat to Capetown, and had an interview with the governor, Lord Charles Somerset, and ultimately died in the odour of sanctity. During these few evanescent years there was a lull in the stormy region of the Gariepine valley, and for a time there was rest and quiet for its inhabitants.
Scarcely, however, had his death taken place when the majority of his followers reverted to their former career of plundering and murder. Being able to muster some three hundred men, with two hundred stand of arms in their possession, they soon became as formidable and destructive as ever to the comparatively helpless tribes around them, while they extended their marauding expeditions as far north as the Ovaherero, until they became, as Africaander had been before them, the scourge and terror of the whole of this part of Africa. Some of the smaller Korana clans were reduced to a state of famine, when numbers perished from hunger.
In 1823 Mr. Thompson met some of these unfortunate wretches near the junction of the 'Gham'ka or 'Ga'ma (the Lion's river) and the Hartebeest river. These fugitive Koranas were mere skin and bone, the women perfectly naked, walking skeletons, who had for many days lived entirely on gum and a little brackish water. One, a young woman, but a cripple, was sitting on the earth, her eyes fixed on the ground, which she did not attempt to raise even when spoken to. An infant lay in her naked lap, wasted like herself to a skeleton, which every now and then applied its little mouth alternately to the shrivelled breasts of its dying mother. Near by stood a wooden vessel with a few spoonfuls of muddy water. She and an old woman, who was in the same condition by her side, had been left by their relatives to perish, because they were helpless when famine pressed sore upon the horde. A little farther on were several more Korana women and children, in a condition not much better than those just left. The men belonging to the party had been absent several days in quest of game, and the women had been left to subsist on gum until their return.
These Koranas, like the rest of their nation, had once possessed cattle, but had been reduced to these extremes by being plundered by their neighbours. They lived on the banks of the Hartebeest river, and were reduced to exist in precisely the same manner as the Bushmen, killing game by poisoned arrows and by pitfalls with a sharp stake fixed in the centre ; but although they had constructed so many of the latter along the banks that it was dangerous to travel along them, the extreme drought had not only driven away all the game from that part of the country, but had also destroyed all the edible bulbs upon which they might have existed, thus reducing them to extreme destitution. It is worthy of remark, however, that no instance of cannibalism was heard of, either among the Hottentots or the Bushmen, even in their direst extremities.
It was not only in this locality that extreme wretchedness was to be found : the state of the entire country along the whole course of the 'Gariep or Great river was most deplorable. It had become a place of resort for numerous bands of banditti, consisting chiefly of Bastaards, Hottentots, and runaway slaves. Open war had broken out amongst the different factions in Griqualand. A large number of the disaffected had removed to the mountains east of the Zeekoe river, and had betaken themselves once more to the lawless and bandit life from which the missionaries after years of danger and difficulty had happily reformed them. They had plundered the helpless Bachoana and Basutu clans in the most unprovoked and cruel manner. They had destroyed or dispersed whole tribes, by robbing them of their cattle and even of their children, emulating the atrocities and augmenting the miseries inflicted by the savage Mantatees.
At that time the Bastaard population was spread along the banks of the 'Gariep for an extent of at least 600 miles. Their numbers, estimated altogether, amounted to about five thousand souls, and they had in their possession at least seven hundred muskets. They readily obtained constant supplies of ammunition, notwithstanding all the proclamations to the contrary, from the Boers, whom great profits tempted to carry on this traffic in defiance of the colonial regulations and the claims of humanity. The profits of this smuggling traffic were immense, as for every pound of powder sold to the banditti an ox or a cow was given in exchange. Such then was the chaotic state of affairs in 1823, and it was only around the contracted centre of Griquatown, under the immediate control of Mr. Melvill and the missionaries that any signs of peace could be found.
We learn from the foregoing facts that the influence exerted by this brigand chief over the people who had gathered round him was similar for good or evil to that of every other native ruler, who has by his own personal daring and achievements brought himself into note. It was of a purely personal character, and ceased to operate when he himself ceased to exist. Thus, when in the full flush of victory he led his followers from one scene of rapine and bloodshed to another, they followed him with loud acclaim and without questioning ; when from increasing age he became weary of strife, the recollection of his power was sufficient to keep them all in a state of superficial submissiveness to his will and desires ; but no sooner had he passed from the scene than among his late followers years of painful missionary labour appeared thrown to the winds in a moment, and they returned apparently with renewed zest and eagerness to their old occupation of plunder and violence, which would have appeared astonishing, did not history teach us that such a sudden revulsion is but a natural reaction in the untutored mind of the savage when he finds himself released from a control the beneficial effects of which he can neither appreciate nor understand.
The Native Races of South Africa
01. Editor's Preface
15. The Koranas
17. The Griquas
24. The Barolong