Episode 119 - The saga of Moshoeshoe, how his grandfather was eaten, and mystical advisor Tsapi

The story of south Africa is incomplete without scrutinising the kingdom of Lesotho, not only because geographic location means the mountains are part of our tale, but also because the entire region is intertwined like lovers, or wrestlers, or snakes that are hell bent on eating each other.

Sorry about the graphic description there, but by the time you’ve finished listening to this episode, I’m sure you’ll agree with the somewhat over the top analogy.

We must step back in time, from where we left off last episode, 1835, beginning of 1836 just to understand who King Moshoeshoe was, and what he means today. During his dramatic youth, events among the northern Nguni people who lived below the mountain escarpment, were going to impact the people who we now called the Basotho.

Before these sudden surges of people and the destruction caused by the Ndebele and the Ngwane, the people of the Caledon valley and into the hills above lived in small segmentary chiefdoms - where the chiefs made political decisions after consulting councillors and headmen.

The wars of Zwide, Dingiswayo, Senzangakhona and Shaka, then Dingane after him, had profound repercussions throughout the entire region as you’ve heard. For some on the high veld, the effects were catastrophic, Matiwane of the Ngwane had fled north as Shaka expanded his control, leaving his home along the Umfolozi River and attacking the Hlubi, who lived at the source of the Tugela River on the highlands. Some of these defeated Hlubi made it to Hintsa as you’ve heard, and by 1835 had marched into the Albany District seeking refuge, and being used as labourers.

Small world they say.

It was into this fractured society that Moshoeshoe had been born. Isolated and conservative, their culture had been utterly disrupted. Fields were not being cultivated and entire ruling family lines had been destroyed, vanished into the African air. Virtually every MoSotho had been driven from their homes, subjected to suffering and deprivation, human remains littered the landscape - and would be found for another decade.

Crunch Crunch went the oxwagons in 1836.
21 May English South Africa History · Places & Travel

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