Episode 109 - Maqoma’s war begins as the amaXhosa invade the Colony in December 1834

It’s December 1834 - the Second of December to be more precise. The British had just emancipated the slaves at the Cape, although real freedom was still some months off as the colonial office decreed that all should first work as apprentices to improve skills before they were set free.

On the frontier, a sequence of unfortunate events were to take place which provided the spark that ignited a war. Albany Civil Commissioner in Grahamstown Captain Campbell was a man of the colonies, a settler with their interests at heart although ostensibly in the pay of the empire. Andries Stockenstrom who was one of the more astute frontier experts had left the Cape at the very moment that his deft touch was sorely needed when it came to the amaXhosa.

Tensions had also been growing between the British officials of the Cape bureaucracy and settlers about how to treat the amaXhosa and Khoekhoe.

The British thought they’d been quite clever over the past few months. They had restricted the flow of gunpowder to the frontier just in case the Boers became even more rambunctious about the coming emancipation - but all the British really managed by doing this is to reduce the colonists firepower on the eve of the Sixth Frontier War.

The Cape authorities were trying to limit the supply of muskets and gunpowder to burghers on the frontier because they heard that many of these were supplying weapons to the amaXhosa. Which is true, but for every action there’s an equal reaction as you’re going to hear.

Back in England, incidents and accidents, events and fires had shocked the nation and the small colony of the Cape was hardly on the radar of the ruling folks and the citizens.

In October of 1834, the British Houses of Parliament or the Palace of Westminster as it was known, had been destroyed by fire - both the House of Commons and the House of Lords of the British Parliament had gone up in flame.

Maqoma’s mother Notonto heard about the planned hostilities and walked the thirty kilometres from her house to her son’s to remonstrate and warn him against fighting the British. She had seen too many of her people dying in previous wars against the empire - but Maqoma was beyond reason.
11 Mar English South Africa History · Places & Travel

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