Boers going inland until some of them trespassed in the Ndebele Kingdom of King Mzilikazi

By Arnold Mayibongwe Nkala

In the last article we said that we will find out today how the Boers ended up trespassing King
Mzilikazi’s territory if they were well settled in the Cape. The reasons lie in the fact that the Boers
were not in full control of the Cape. The VOC functioned as a Charted Company directed by a central
executive committee called the Heeren XVII, which in English terms was referred to as the Council of
Seventeen. As a Dutch Chartered Company, it meant that it was controlled by the Dutch
government. Simply put, the Cape was under the Dutch government. A change in the Dutch politics
had an effect in the Cape. The Dutch politics is not in isolation with the rest of European politics.

This is how European politics had an effect to the Cape, which had an effect to the Ndebele nation
through the trespassing Boers fleeing political changes that started in Europe. Simply put, this is how
events in the world are inextricably intertwined, leading to the term World History. What happens in
a single remote village can sometimes affect the other communities all over the world. The use of
internet and satellite televisions in today’s world has made global events to travel faster than those
in the heydays of the VOC.


In 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars, France annexed the Dutch Netherlands, which was a
client sister of Britain; and turned the Dutch Netherlands into a French client sister called the
Batavian Republic. This meant that the Cape was now a colony of the Batavian Republic. Britain
retaliated by annexing the Cape. The annexation of the Cape was a British move to defend the sea
routes to India against France (since the Batavian Republic was a client sister of France- the enemy
of the British). This in turn led to the first British administration in the Cape; something that the
Boers hated. At least the Batavian Republic was Dutch, which was closely related to the Boers. The
British occupation replaced the Dutch administration with English speaking officials- something that
the Boers in the Cape felt that they were too foreign.

The Treaty of Amiens in 1802 brought peace between France and Britain, leading the Cape to be
released back to the Dutch, and allowing the Boers in the Cape to return back to normalcy. In 1803
war broke again between France and Britain, causing Britain to annex the Cape again to safeguard its
naval route to India. This in turn led to the second British occupation in the Cape. This time around,
Britain was to make the Cape its permanent colony to defend its trading route to India from the fast
changing politics in Europe. More British people started to flock to the Cape and disturbing the Boer
lekker lewe.

In 1833 Britain abolished slavery throughout its empire. This meant the abolishment of slavery in the
Cape, something that did not go well with the Boers. Another issue that was hated by the Boers was
the official recognition of equality between the coloureds and the whites. No amount of Boer
grievances could change Cape laws; it was either the British way or the highway. There are many
Boers who chose the highway.

The Boers sent spies to the hinterland; they called this intelligence network the Commisie Treks. The
Boer operatives came with fruitful results, leading many of them to start packing their wagons and
leave the area. They wanted their lekker lewe back. In 1835 about 5000 Boers and their coloured
servants began their protest emigration from the Cape to the interior. They went in different
directions and in different groups. This exodus of the Boers in the Cape is historically known as the
Great Trek. The Boers who participated in the Great Trek became also known as the Voortrekkers,
meaning ‘the Pathfinders’.


The first Voortrekkers to cross the Vaal River and cut across the territory of the Ndebele King of
Mzilikazi were led by Johannes van Rensburg and Louis Tregadt. They did this without the permission
of the King and if found were to be dealt with accordingly. We will reveal in the next article how the
Boers came to be detected by the Ndebele border patrol, leading to the deployment of Chief
Mkhaliphi and his regiment to annihilate them.

Arnold Mayibongwe Nkala is the author of the Mthwakazi history and culture book titled Abethwakazi

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