The war of Ngcayecibi 1877-8

Spicer, Michael Wolseley (1978) The war of Ngcayecibi 1877-8. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This work makes no pretence at being a comprehensive account of the War of Ngcayecibi and its context in Cape and Imperial History. It omits all but passing reference to Imperial Policy, Frere's Federation plans, the Constitutional Crisis and the dismissal of the Molteno Ministry, all of which have been more than adequately covered elsewhere. Rather it concentrates on a study of the war in terms of black/white relations. The responses of the blacks to white pressures on their land and traditional society are examined, particularly those of Sarhili and the Gcaleka, for Sarhili, the gentlemanly but tragic Paramount Chief of the Xhosa, is the central figure in the canvas of black Ciskeian and Transkeian leaders of the time, and the War of Ngcayecibi is very much a Xhosa war. I have tried to avoid a conventional account of the military operations of the war, sketching only the broad outlines of military operations and concentrating on the strategies adopted by black and white forces, and the reasons for which various black chiefdoms or segments thereof participated in the war. Orthography. The matter of orthography is a tricky one, for Xhosa orthography has been recently overhauled and is not yet finalised. I have attempted with the aid of Mr Sidney Zotwana of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University to adopt the most acceptable forms of Xhosa names. I have dropped the use of all prefixes since I felt their use would have been pedantic in what, after a11, is an English language thesis and since there is no chance of confusion between historical figures like Gcaleka and the amaGcaleka people. Sources. The documents printed in Cape an~ Imperial Blue-Books, especially the Cape Blue-Books, on Native Affairs for the years 1874-1884, and the correspondence in the Native Affairs Archive in the Government Archives in Cape Town, proved to be the most valuable official and semi-official sources. The Merriman and Molteno Papers in the South African Library in Cape Town were the most useful private papers consulted, though odd items in the Cory Library, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, proved of use. The rash of memoirs published after the war were, with exceptions, singularly unilluminating. Most prominent amongst the exceptions was West W. Fynn: The'77 War ••• (East London, 1911), an account of the war written by the Clerk of the Resident to Sarhili. Although Fynn has a grudge against treatment he received from the Colonial Government at the time, and is not above dramatising his role, he was in an unparalle11ed position to observe the events leading up to the war and records much valuable information. The voluminous notebooks in Cory Library of the late Dr A.W. Burton, an amateur Border historian who had researched the war, were interesting but difficult to use because of an almost total lack of footnoting or reference to sources. J.R. Soga's two works, The South Eastern Bantu (Johannesburg, 1930) and The Ama-Xosa: Life and Customs (Lovedale, 1931) are well known and proved useful but, as will be seen, have to be treated with care. Of more modern works, J. Peires: "A History of the Xhosa c.1700-1835" if (unp. M.A. thesis, Rhodes University, 1976) proved invaluable as a background to Xhosa society and earlier Xhosa history. The works of Christopher Saunders, who has written much on topics related to the war, were indispensable. C.J. Schoeman: "Die Negende Grensbotsing" (unp. M.A. thesis, University of Port Elizabeth, 1976), the one general study of the war thus far written, covers military operations at great length and is a work very much in the mould of traditional Afrikaner Frontier Historiography.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Frontier War, 1877-1879; Sarhili, Xhosa paramount chief; Xhosa history
Subjects:D World History and History of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc > DT Africa > South Africa
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > History
Supervisors:Davenport, T.R.H. (Prof.)
ID Code:1761
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:10 Sep 2010 10:43
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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