Perhaps the most explosive issue in South Africa today is the question of land ownership. The central theme in this country’s colonial history is the dispossession of indigenous African societies by white settlers, and current calls for land restitution are based on this loss. Yet popular knowledge of the actual process by which Africans were deprived of their land is remarkably sketchy.
This book recounts an important part of this history, describing how the Khoisan and Xhosa people were dispossessed and subjugated from the time that Europeans first arrived until the end of the Cape Frontier Wars (1779–1878).
The Land Wars traces the unfolding hostilities involving Dutch and British colonial authorities, trekboers and settlers, and the San, Khoikhoin, Xhosa, Mfengu and Thembu people – as well as conflicts within these groups. In the process it describes the loss of land by Africans to successive waves of white settlers as the colonial frontier inexorably advanced. The book does not shy away from controversial issues such as war atrocities on both sides, or the expedient decision of some of the indigenous peoples to fight alongside the colonisers rather than against them.
The Land Wars is an epic story, featuring well-known figures such as Ngqika, Lord Charles Somerset and his son, Henry, Andries Stockenström, Hintsa, Harry Smith, Sandile, Maqoma, Bartle Frere and Sarhili, and events such as the arrival of the 1820 Settlers and the Xhosa cattlekilling. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand South Africa’s past and present.
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Review This Product
Highly current "stolen land" topic
Sat, 15 Aug 2020 | Review by: Boschberg
Highly useful and relevant approach to SA history in view of the "stolen land" spat. It is probably most essential reading matter for many of those who are most likely not to read it. For one I am however disappointed that the misidentification (by several historians) of nkosi Qoba, son of Mahote of the imiDange is being perpetuated. He was the brother of Jalamba and Godissa. He is correctly identified in the Record of Moody (published by Balkema 1959) and an article by Peires, 2008: The other side of the black silk handkerchief, Quarterly Bullitin of NLSA 62(1) in which he corrected the error which was also contained in his book: The House of Phalo. This is a significant matter as they were not mere petty chiefs but in fact the sons of Mahote, the Regent of Phalo at the time and therefore actually the foremost Xhosa royalty, which throws a significantly different light on the seriousness of the atrocities against them and thus also fails to address or explain some significant related events.
More importantly it is however to note that the book concentrates on the rather well known eastern frontier wars with some reference to the so-called Khoi rebellion and resistance, but it really contains nothing more than a co-incedental mention here and there of the lesser known, more than 200 year ghastly onslaught on the existence the San hunter-forager community. The promotional script and subtitle of the book is therefore somewhat misleading in this regard.
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