THE NATIVE RACES OF SOUTH AFRICA
GEORGE W. STOW, F.G.S., F.R.G.S.
57. THE BAKUENA OF THE NORTH (the Men of the Crocodile)
The ancient Bakuena appear to have been more prolific in offshoots than any other tribe in South Africa, and Mogale, the great ancestor of their chiefs, outrivals in this respect the celebrated Zwidi, the Umkulunkulu of the Frontier Kaffirs. Besides the important branches we have already mentioned, and the main branch of which we are about to treat, we have the tribes which migrated still farther to the south, including the Bafukeng and their kindred clans, together with those who still call themselves Bakuena and who became divided into the houses of Bamonaheng and Bamokotedi and their sub-divisions, all of which are of undoubted Bakuena origin, whose descent can be traced to the great head of the family.
There are others also who affirm that they are offshoots of the original Bakuena stock, although the names of the chiefs who form the connecting links have not been preserved, at least have not yet been obtained from any native authority. Four of the principal of these are the tribe of Makgatla, in Magaliesberg, Transvaal ; the Baphalane tribe, in the direction of Zoutpansberg ; the Bagamatlhaku, also living in the Transvaal ; and the Bagmolochwana, living under the Barolong chief Moroka at Thaba Nchu. Of these tribes, however, it will not be necessary to speak, as they never took a leading part in the history of the country, although their existence serves to show how widely the ramifications of the great Bakuena group are spread.
In treating of the Bahurutsi and others, we have given an outline of what is known of the most ancient chiefs, who became the founders of the various important branches already described. It appears certain that these remote ancestors must have migrated from the tropical or subtropical regions of the continent. Many of their traditions are most distinct upon this point ; and they state emphatically that their forefathers came from " the far, far north," that the sun's shadow has altered from the days of their remote forefathers, that before that time their fathers said they came from the rising sun, and that this is the reason why in burying their dead they place the face of the deceased person in that direction, that they may see whence their remote, or rather their earliest, progenitors came.
It seems that the Bachoana branch of this family led the van in this great migratory movement, and from all that can be gathered from native sources the sequence of it was in the order we have already pointed out, viz : — 1st, the pioneer tribes we have described ; 2nd, the Batlapin and Barolong, leading the van of the main body, and then 3rd, the great Bakuena group now under consideration.
These last say that the old Bakuena nation came from the north, and passed through the country in a south-easterly direction until they came to a river which they called the Likwa or Lekwa (the Upper Vaal) ; that near this some of their clans separated from the main body, which again turned with their faces towards the north, until they reached the central and western portions of the present Transvaal, where all the great branches of their nation settled.
Owing to the fact that Malope, the eldest son of Masilo I, was disinherited by his father, the chiefs of the Bakuena consider themselves the representatives of the great head of the family, and that they are superior in rank to those of the Bamangwato and Bangwaketse, as they assert that when the original tribe broke up into branches, the hereditary chieftainship was retained in that of the Bakuena. Thus there is a kind of dual representation among the chiefs of this family, for while precedence is conceded to the Bahurutsi in all ceremonial rites, such as circumcision, the eating of the first fruits, etc., in right of their descent from the eldest son, the privileges of paramount chief are awarded to the descendant of Kuena, as the great representative of the object of their special veneration. He is the veritable Mokuena, the Man of the Crocodile, and therefore stands first in rank as the head of the nation ; and it is for this reason that even to the present day all the branches mentioned in this memoir occasionally send presents to the chief of the Northern Bakuena, as the direct successor of the traditional paramount chief of the once united nation. As an illustration that this claim is practically acknowledged, should the chief of the northern branch be hunting together with those of any of the others mentioned, he would take, by right, all such portions of the game as are looked upon as specially reserved for the great chief, even although the game had been killed by one of the other chiefs.
This tribe and the minor clans more immediately connected with it seem to have occupied the rich and fertile country north of the Magaliesbergen, or as they were called by some of the early missionaries the Cashan mountains, as far as the Limpopo and the valleys drained by its various tributaries. It was in this territory that their great tribal centres were established, around which a teeming population congregated. One of their great towns was at Lokwani, on the Motsi-Motlabi, a branch of the Nogotwani, a tributary of the Limpopo.N
Notes: Evidence of Poo (the Bull), a Northern Mokuena, born at the place he mentions about the commencement of the present century. Notes of C. S. Orpen.
Campbell informs us that these Bakuena tribes, Makquana as he terms them, lived in 1813 to the north-east of Lithako, and that their great town was three times the size of that of the Batlapin chief, which would give it a probable population of some thirty thousand inhabitants. The modem Thaba Nchu will give us an idea of the arrangement of one of these places and the manner in which the detached suburbs, each under the rule of a petty chief, were scattered round the main centre, where the residence of the paramount chief was situated, as well as the likhotla or place of public meeting, while vast corn lands, frequently some hundreds of acres in extent, spread round the whole of them. All these taken in their entirety formed the great tribal town, and such we must picture to ourselves if we would desire to obtain a correct idea of these centres of native population called " the great-places " of the various Bakuena or Bachoana tribes.
There can be no doubt but that in the earlier days, before they were disturbed by foreign invaders, the Bakuena were far more civilised than not only the ruder and more warlike Coast-Kaffirs, but also the tribes which led the van of the great southern migration, of which they themselves formed a part. We have already pointed out the superiority of the great conical-topped huts of the Bahurutsi and Bangwaketse, with their enclosed courtyards and their vast com jars. The Bakuena even excelled them in the ornamentation of their dwellings, their various patterns for wall paintings both for inside and outside decoration, their symmetrical horseshoe-shaped doors, their attempts at moulded pilasters, their greater taste for agricultural pursuits, and their more numerous manufactures, especially their superior pottery, their various wooden vessels and elaborately carved spoons, their copper castings and unsurpassed smith's work, together with their more advanced musical instruments, such as the drum and marimbo. The Kaffirs proper had no musical instruments of their own ; instead of drums, they beat upon their shields, and the 'Gora which was sometimes used by them was adopted from the Bushmen.
As an evidence that the Bakuena at one time extended towards the east coast, it was stated that beyond them was a tribe which they called Magalatzina, from whom they and other tribes obtained articles of clothing and beads of European manufacture, that they were of a brown complexion and had long hair, and that they used buffaloes to draw carriages. From this description, the people alluded to would appear to have belonged to one of the Portuguese settlements, and the articles named were such as the Portuguese might have introduced from India.
The Bakuena not only surpassed the surrounding tribes in the extent of land which they brought under cultivation, but in the immense size of the herds of cattle in their possession. It was this which aroused the cupidity of their neighbours, and made them such frequent objects of attack. We have already noticed the repeated onslaughts made upon them by the Bangwaketse and other tribes, when they, in their turn, retaliated by making reprisals, until they became comparatively a warlike people. Mr. Campbell thought it was not unlikely that in time they might become a scourge to others. That time, however, never arrived, and the advent of formidable hordes of foreign invaders in a short period destroyed for ever the long-continued prosperity of this interesting group of tribes. Hordes of whose existence they had been previously ignorant burst suddenly upon them, completely annihilating many of their numerous clans, and driving the remainder a mingled crowd of wretched panic-stricken fugitives headlong from the country.
Unfortunately, previous to this stage of their history their country was unvisited by missionaries and travellers ; it was then considered the far interior, and few had the hardihood to penetrate beyond such frontier tribes as the Batlapin, while the adventurous spirits who did so, such as Dr. Cowan and Captain Donovan, were never more heard of, having sunk under the combined effects, which their own inexperience aggravated, of hardships and fever ; and thus it is that a few scattered traditions are the only available materials we can obtain to assist us in our investigation.
From the days of Kuena to those of Mocwasele I, nothing is known of the lives of the intervening chiefs, except that they once existed. During the chieftainship of this Mocwasele the Bakuena were rich in cattle, and Dr. Livingstone mentions as one of the evidences of the subsequent desiccation of the country, that beds of streams were pointed out where thousands and thousands of cattle formerly drank, in which in his time the water never flowed. This chief appears to have been a great traveller, and is stated to have been the first who ever told the Bakuena of the existence of white men (Ma-koa).
Of the two following chiefs, Seithlamo and Legwale, nothing has been recorded ; but during the lifetime of Mocwasele II it is said that the two first white men passed through his country, when they turned to travel down the river Limpopo where they and all their party perished. These were in all probability Donovan and Cowan, who undertook their fatal journey in 1808. It was during the rule of this paramount chief that Makaba made his repeated attacks upon the Bakuena clans, killing, as we have seen, one of their chiefs ; and that the Barolong Sihunelo, with his combined force of some eight thousand men, attempted to storm the position of one of the southern clans, and met with the severe repulse we have already described.
It was shortly after this event that the Batlokua, led on by their redoubtable chieftainess, began to make their incursions into the country of the Bakuena, which shortly afterwards culminated in the formidable Mantatee invasion, when, aroused by the example of the warrior queen, a number of the more desperate fugitive tribes banded together, carrying with them their wives and children, and commenced a career of havoc and destruction unparalleled in the previous history of the more peaceful tribes of the Bakuena group. It was against the tribes we are now speaking of that the first burst of their fury was directed. The terror of their name spread far and wide, and as we have seen, by the time the rumours reached the Batlapin, their great leader and her forces were invested with mythical horrors in the excited imaginations of the alarmed inhabitants. For two years they carried on their ravages among the clans of the Bakuena, capturing their cattle, destroying their towns, and slaying the inhabitants, while the power of the invaders continued ever to increase from the constant accession of other fugitive tribes to their ranks.
But in 1823 a still more terrible enemy made his appearance on the eastern border of the Bakone country, and as the Mantatee hordes evacuated the territory on one side in their advance upon the Bangwaketse, where the old warrior Makaba awaited them, the Matabili legions, under the pitiless Moselekatze, entered it on the other, carrying death and destruction with them wherever they went. Broadbent states that in December 1823 some of the first fugitive Bakuena sought refuge among the Barolong, having escaped by flight after they had been attacked by a powerful tribe called the Matabili. Most of their people had been destroyed, their cattle taken, and their land left desolate. Having thus commenced, the ruthless Matabili continued the work of destruction and extermination, until the entire country of the Bakuena, once so flourishing and beautiful, was reduced to an almost uninhabited waste.
Mr. Moffat, who travelled through it shortly after its ruin was completed, has fortunately given a description of what it then presented. Much of the intervening country, two days' waggon-journey from Mosega, was mountainous and wooded to the summits. Evergreens adorned the valleys, in which numerous streams of excellent water flowed by many a winding course to- wards the Indian ocean.N Clumps of trees studded the plains. It was a country once covered with a dense population.
Notes: This country is now a portion of the Transvaal territory.
On the sides of the hills and the flanks of the Kashan mountains (Magaliesberg) were towns in ruins, where thousands once made the country alive, amidst fruitful vales which were then covered with luxuriant grass and inhabited by game. The extirpating invasions of the Mantatees and Matabili had left to beasts of prey the undisputed right of these lovely woodland glens. The lion, which had revelled in human flesh, as if conscious there was none to oppose, roamed at large, a terror to the traveller. The impoverished thousands of the tribes of the country, who had escaped with their lives the fury of the Matabili, after being scattered by them had neither herd nor kraal, but subsisted on locusts, roots, and the chase.
Great numbers of the fugitives were killed and devoured by the lions, that had learnt to prefer human flesh to any other. Women and children going for water were frequently hunted and pursued by the hyenas, and were never more heard of. As some kind of defence, many built their houses or huts on poles seven or eight feet from the ground, the ascent and descent being by a knotty branch of a tree in front of the house. In the centre of the circle there was always a heap of bones of game, that the unfortunate inhabitants had killed for food. During the day the families descended to the shade beneath to dress their food, but they re-ascended again as the evening approached, to escape from the ferocious beasts, which otherwise were sure to attack them, and which prowled continually about them in search of stragglers during the dark hours of the night. At one spot Moffat found some seventeen families of fugitive Bakuena who had constructed their huts in the branches of a great tree, the topmost hut being thirty feet from the ground. The people of these arboreal dwellings ascended by a series of notches in the trunk. Platforms were formed of straight sticks among the branches, upon which the huts were constructed and covered with grass.
From the first Matabili outpost to the great-place of the chief Moselekatze, the course travelled was east-south-east, through a more level country beautifully studded with ranges of little hills, many isolated of a conical form, along the bases of which lay the ruins of innumerable towns, some of which were of amazing extent. This was a portion of the once thickly populated Bakuena country. The ruins of many of these towns showed signs of immense labour and perseverance ; stone fences averaging from four to seven feet high were still standing.
Everything was circular, from the inner walls which surrounded each dwelling or family residence to those which encircled a town. In traversing these ruins, Mr. Moffat found the remains of some houses which had escaped the flames of the marauders. These were large, and displayed a far superior style to anything witnessed among the other native tribes of Southern Africa. The circular walls were generally composed of hard clay, with a small mixture of cowdung, so well plastered and polished, a refined portion of the former being mixed with a kind of ore, that the interior of the house had the appearance of being varnished. The walls and doorways were also neatly ornamented with a kind of architraves and cornices. The pillars supporting the roof were in the form of pilasters, projecting from the walls. The houses, like all others in the Interior, were round, with conical roofs extending beyond the walls, so as to form a considerable shade, or what might be called a verandah. The raising of the stone fences must have been a work of immense labour, for the materials had all to be brought on men's shoulders.
These now ruined habitations but a short time before teemed with life and revelry. Nothing now remained but dilapidated walls, heaps of stones, and rubbish, mingled with human skulls, which told their own ghastly tale. Occasionally a large stone fold might be seen occupied by the cattle of the Matabili, who had caused the land thus to mourn.
It is certain that many of these Bakuena, either willingly or by compulsion, had joined the victorious hordes of the Mantatees. Mr. Moffat's informant affirmed that he and others were forced to accompany them as captives, and that after their repulse at Lithako he and many hundreds more of the same people were on their return to their own country made prisoners by Moselekatze. The same man described these Bakuena nations as once being as numerous as the locusts, rich in cattle, and traffickers to a great extent with the distant tribes of the north. This man with his fellow surviving Bakuena had witnessed the desolation of many of the towns around, the sweeping away of the cattle and valuables, the butchering of the inhabitants, and their wide-spread homes being enveloped in smoke and flames.
Expeditionary impis of Tshaka had made frightful havoc, but all these were nothing compared with the final overthrow of the Bakuena tribes by the arms of Moselekatze. The former inhabitants of these luxuriant hills had, from a long continuance of peace and plenty, become effeminate, while the Matabili under the barbarous reign of the imperious Tshaka, from whose iron grasp many of them had made their escape, like an overwhelming torrent rushed onward from the north, marking their course with blood and carnage.
Moffat, who travelled amongst them shortly after this terrible period, gives the following account of the treatment which these tribes received at the hands of the conquering Matabili. The Matabili, he writes, were not satisfied with simply capturing cattle, nothing less than the entire subjugation or destruction of the vanquished could quench their insatiable thirst for power. Thus whenever they captured a town, the terrified inhabitants were driven in a mass to the outskirts, when the parents and all the married women were slaughtered on the spot. Such as had dared to be brave in the defence of their town with their wives and their children were reserved for a still more terrible death : dry grass saturated with fat was tied round their naked bodies, and then set on fire. The youths and girls were loaded as beasts of burden with the spoils of the town, to be marched to the home of the victors. If the town were in an isolated position, the helpless infants were left to perish either with hunger or to be devoured by beasts of prey. On such an event the lions scented the slain, and left their lair. The hyenas and jackals emerged from their lurking places in broad day, and revelled in the carnage, while clouds of vultures were to be seen descending on the living and the dead, and holding a carnival on human flesh. Should a suspicion arise in the savage breast that there was a chance that the helpless infants might possibly fall into the hands of some of their friends, they prevented this by collecting them into a fold, and after raising over them a pile of brushwood applied the flaming torch to it, when the fold, the town, and all it contained, so lately a scene of mirth, became a heap of ashes.
The following poetical description of one of these scenes of slaughter was given to the missionary Moffat by a native eyewitness, and will well serve to illustrate the mode of attack and onslaught of both the Matabili and Zulu hordes, as well as the terror which accompanied it. Mr. Moffat writes that he ascended a hill, at the base of which he had halted the preceding evening, to spend the day. Happening to turn round to the right as he sat down on the summit, he saw before him a large extent of level ground covered with ruins, when he inquired of a native who had followed him, what had become of the inhabitants ?
The man had just sat down, but rose, evidently with some feeling, and stretching forth his arm in the direction of the ruins, said : " I, even I, beheld it ! " and then paused as if in deep thought.
"There lived the great captain of multitudes,
He reigned among them like a king,
He was the chief, the chief of the blue-coloured cattle.
They were numerous as the dense mist on the mountain's brow ;
His flocks covered the plain ;
He thought the number of his warriors would awe his enemies,
His people boasted in their javelins,
And laughed at the cowardice of such
As had fled from their towns.
I shall slay them, and hang up their shields on my hill.
Our race is a race of warriors,
Who ever subdued our fathers ?
They were mighty in combat.
We will possess the spoil of ancient times
Have not our dogs eaten the shields of their nobles ?
The vultures shall devour the slain of our enemies.
Thus they sang, and thus they danced,
Till they beheld on yonder heights the approaching foe.
The noise of their song was hushed in night,
And their hearts were filled with dismay.
They saw the clouds ascend from the plains :
It was the smoke of burning towns.
The confusion of the whirlwind
Was in the heart of the great chief of the blue-coloured cattle.
The shout was raised,
" They are friends ! "
But they shouted again,
" They are foes ! "
Till their near approach proclaimed them Matabili.
The men seized their arms.
And rushed out as if to chase the antelope.
The onset was as the voice of lightning.
And their javelins as the shaking of the forest in the autumn-storm.
The Matabili lions raised the shout of death,
And flew upon their victims.
It was the shout of Victory !
Their hissing and hollow groans told their progress among the dead.
A few moments laid hundreds on the ground.
The clash of shields was the signal of triumph !
Our people filed with their cattle to the top of yonder mount.
The Matabili entered the town with the roar of the lion ;
They pillaged and fired the houses,
Speared the mothers, and cast their infants in the flames.
The sun went down ;
The victors emerged from the smoking plain.
And pursued their course.
Surrounding the base of yonder hill.
They slaughtered cattle.
They danced and sang till the dawn of day.
They ascended and killed until their hands were weary of the spear."
Then stooping down to the ground, he took up a little dust in his hand ; blowing it off, and holding out his naked palm, he added : " That is all that remains of the great chief of the blue-coloured cattle ! "
Mr. Moffat affirms that it is impossible to describe his feelings whilst listening to this descriptive effusion of native eloquence. From other natives he discovered that this " was no fabled song, but merely a compendious sketch of the catastrophe."
The writer has himself seen widespreading ruins, such as those above described, scattered over large areas of country, in his various wanderings through portions of South Africa, to which a similar history of blood is attached, and over which the devastating hordes of the Amazulu, the Amangwane, and Matabili have successively swept.
Captain Harris gives the following account of the miserable condition in which he found these people at the time of his visit in 1836. He states that travelling northward by marches of ten and fifteen miles a day, he passed over rugged tracts strewn with numerous stone walls, once thronged by thousands, but then presenting no vestige of inhabitants. They frequently travelled for days without seeing a solitary human being, occasionally only falling in with the small and starving remnant of some pastoral tribe of Bachoana, that had been plundered by Moselekatze's warriors. These famished wretches, some of whom had been herding the king's cattle during the absence of Kalipi's commando, hovered around Captain Harris's party, disputing with vultures and hyenas the carcases left by the hunters. Near the junction of the Marico and Limpopo, lat. 24° 10', he again met with a few inhabitants, " the wreck of the Bakone or Bakuena, once the most powerful and prosperous of the Bachuana nations." They were attacked by Moselekatze, when Kama, one of their great chiefs, was slain ; they fled to this part of the country, and were reduced to an extremity of misery and want little short of actual starvation.
The Bakone or Bakuena had retired in Harris's time to the north or rather west of the Limpopo, where a great range of mountains called Mural by the natives divided the tracts occupied by the Bakuena and the Babariri.
The loss of life during the continuance of these Matabili wars was almost as incredible as during those of the Amazulu. It is computed that at least a million of human beings of all ages were sacrificed. Mr. William McLuckie, the first European who attempted to penetrate into the old Bakuena country after Moselekatze had established himself there, and therefore at a time previous to Mr. Moffat's visit, has assured the writer that during that trip for six weeks he never met a single living human being ; nothing was to be seen but the charred remains of numerous towns or kraals, strewn with skulls and other human bones, while for long distances thickly-spread lines of bleaching bones were frequently met with, marking the spots where the wretched fugitives had been overtaken by their savage and pitiless pursuers, to whom mercy was unknown.
Many of the Bakuena fled for refuge to the Kalahari, where numbers perished for want of water. Other remnants of clans were scattered in different directions, and some who retired to the most inaccessible mountains for shelter were reduced to such extremities that they were compelled to resort to cannibalism to sustain their wretched lives.
Previous to these terrible wars many Bushman clans were still to be found sprinkled throughout the Bakuena territory, living by the chase, the plains in every direction being covered with innumerable herds of game, hippopotami abounding in the rivers, while vast troops of elephants roamed through the forest glades. It was probably this superabundance of game, and the innumerable springs and streamlets which afforded a plentiful supply of water over so large a portion of the country, that rendered the relations between the intruding race and the aborigines of a more amicable character than was found to be the case in parts where there was a greater scarcity of water, and where as a natural consequence the intruding tribes and the Bushmen were frequently forced into hostile collision in their struggle to obtain it, thus laying the foundation for outrages by the stronger, and consequent retaliations by the weaker race, whose territorial rights were in most instances arrogantly ignored whenever the intruders were strong enough to set the aboriginal owners at defiance. But with the Bakuena the case appears to have been different, and no traditions of any serious conflicts between them have been preserved.
Nor have we any intimation that any number of them were killed by either the Mantatee or Matabili invaders. But this immunity did not exempt the greater portion of them from destruction : they rapidly disappeared, and it was subsequently discovered that whole clans of them were seized and devoured by the cannibals of the mountains.
During the progress of these events Mocwasele II, the paramount chief of the Bakuena, and father of Sechele, having offended his subjects by appropriating the wives of his petty chiefs whenever he had an opportunity during their absence, was at length murdered by them ; and although they spared the lives of his children, they set up a usurper as chief in his stead. Sechele, the rightful heir, was but a boy at the time of this occurrence.
Sebitoane, the emigrant Bapatsa chief, was still migrating with his people from place to place, and as he was himself a descendant of their common ancestor Kuena, the friends of the young dispossessed chief invited him to assist them in reinstating Sechele. Livingstone gives the following account of this coup d'etat.
Sebitoane undertook the task, and surrounded the town of the Bakuena by night. Just as it began to dawn, his herald proclaimed in a loud voice that he had come to revenge the death of Mocwasele. His warriors, who encircled the place, beat loudly on their shields, and the panic was tremendous. There was a rush like that from a theatre on fire, and the warriors of Sebitoane used their assagais on the fugitives with a dexterity which they alone could employ. Sebitoane had given orders that the sons of Mocwasele should be spared. One of the men, meeting Sechele, put him in ward by giving him such a blow on the head with his club as to render him insensible. The usurper, however, was killed, and the young Sechele was restored to the chieftainship. He subsequently married three of the daughters of his under-chiefs, who on account of their blood relationship had stood by him in his adversity.
After the repulse of the Matabili by the Emigrant Farmers in 1837, and Moselekatze had effected his retreat towards the Zambesi, some of the fragmentary tribes attempted to collect their scattered and diminished clans together, but several years elapsed before they regained sufficient spirit to make war once more upon one another, as in former times. This however took place about 1840, when one of the periodical wars for the possession of cattle burst forth. The old feud between the Barolong and the Bakuena was revived, which ended in the former driving the latter from Lepelole ; and ultimately the relations between the different tribes were completely changed.
After the loss of their immense herds of cattle, and the flight of many of the Bakuena, some of their tribe became expert hunters, and evidently adopted the telle-telle mode of hunting from the Kalahari Bushmen and Bakalakari. To this they gave the name of " hopo," which Livingstone tells us was a trap constructed by them for the capture of the game of the country, among which were great numbers of buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, tsessebes, hartebeests, gnus, pallas, and rhinoceroses. The hopo, he says, consisted of two hedges in the shape of the letter V. They were made very high and thick near the angle, where they did not however touch, and at the extremity was a pit six or eight feet deep and twelve or fifteen in breadth and length. Trunks of trees were laid along the margin of the pit, and formed an overlapping border, so as to render it almost impossible for any animal to leap out. The whole was decked with soft green rushes. As the hedges were frequently a mile long and about as much apart at the opening, a tribe that made a circle round the country and gradually closed up was almost sure to sweep before it a large body of game. It was driven up with shouts to the narrowest part of the hopo, where men were secreted who threw their javelins into the affrighted herds. The animals rushed towards the narrow opening, and fell into the pit. It was a frightful scene. The men, wild with excitement, speared the lovely animals with mad delight, and others were borne down with the weight of their dead and dying companions.
Such then is the fragmentary history which we have been able to collect with regard to the great Bakuena nation up to the time of its dispersion by the irruption of the conquering Matabili No people were so mercilessly handled by them as these, one clan after the other was exterminated until their once powerful and numerous tribes were reduced to a few miserable remnants, which from being the possessors of enormous herds of cattle and the greatest cultivators of the land, were compelled to resort to veld kost and cannibalism to support a wretched existence, thrown back again into the more savage mode of life from which their fore fathers had slowly emerged until they had made greater advance towards civilisation and had become more prosperous and numerous than any other South African race. From this advanced position they were hurled headlong by the rush of Amazulu barbarism into depths of degradation from which they have not yet perfectly extricated themselves.
It will not be necessary to pursue this subject further. The Boers shortly afterwards appropriated and occupied the beautiful country in which they and their fathers had lived for several generations. They had however set an example to the superior race which finally supplanted them, in their treatment of the aboriginal hunters who were found in possession of the country when their forefathers intruded into it : they neither exterminated nor enslaved them, but, as we have seen, until evil days fell upon both together, the land was considered broad enough and productive enough to allow the two races to live on friendly terms with each other, each pursuing its own particular course of life, and apparently neither the one nor the other injured by the amicable arrangement.
The Native Races of South Africa
01. Editor's Preface
15. The Koranas
17. The Griquas
24. The Barolong