Episode 107 - Dr Andrew Smith, his mysterious Dingane expedition and a bit of XGaoXna- Knysna

The small settlement of Port Natal had hardly grown by 1830. Dingane had moved his ikhanda which he named uMgungundlovu to the eMakhosini valley, close to Singonyama or Lion hill, just south of the White Umfolozi River.

The traders around Port Natal by now had mostly married Khoekhoe or AmaZulu women and were part of the Zulu landscape, but by 1834, colonial authorities were going to become far more interested in this part of southern Africa.

By now Charles Maclean aka John Ross was in his late teens - he’d arrived as a 9 year-old, Thomas Halstead had arrived as a 14 year-old in 1825, also living close to the port was were John Cane, Nathanial Isaacs and Henry Ogle.

Only one dwelling in the port looked vaguely European, the fort and none had what could be called furniture. Most of the structures were the Zulu beehive design, and the traders wore a combination of Zulu costumes and basic garments sewn from skins, with homemade straw hats. The whites had taken local wives or concubines, known as iziXebe, some had Khoisan wives and servants.

The traders had paid lobola for the women, handing over goods and cattle to the bride’s father to pay him for his loss of labour in the family units because it was the women who did most of the work in AmaZulu society.
Cape Governor Sir Lowry Cole received a report that the Americans had been trading with the Zulu and seemed to be the vanguard of a possible attempt at seizing this area for themselves. Cole wrote to the Colonial Office saying “how embarrassing such a neighbour might eventually prove…” to the Cape.
So he turned to Scottish assistant Staff Surgeon at the Cape garrison, Dr Andrew Smith. There are few official expeditions in the history of South Africa about which less is known than that of Dr Andrew Smiths’ visit to Dingane in 1832. The real motive for the expedition was never outlined, and its a black hole in the South African Archives, as well as the Public Record Office in London. No official report exists.
While this was causing some excitement, things were happening at a place called Knysna.
The good Ship Knysna was built in the Knysna lagoon starting in 1826 when her keel was laid, and she sailed on her first voyage with a cargo of timber for Cape Town in July 1831. The Knsyna was still sailing around the English coast in 1873.
25 Feb 2023 English South Africa History · Places & Travel

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