Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Soutpansberg – from Makhado to Makgoba, to Mphephu

I’ve been away for a few days up north to the town of Louis Trichardt. Yes - this little town situated  at the foot of South Africa’s most northern mountain range, known as the Soutpansberg (Salt pan mountain), has not changed its name to the old Venda chief, Makhado, – yet! It is only a matter of time though that the name Louis Trichardt will eventually disappear from all road-signs and maps, in a similar fashion all online references to the name-change controversy is fast disappearing from the internet.

There is not much to tell about present-day Louis Trichardt. Like so many other rural towns in South Africa, the place has become a hopeless ramshackle of a town, where there is apparently insufficient funds to repair the numerous potholes in the once well kept tar roads. The local community newspapers, Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror, only have stories about savages who are charged with murder, savages who attempted murder, savages who committed murder and armed robbery, and so forth. Quite depressing in fact! 

The following photograph was taken with my cellphone from the side of the road on the N1 leading north. It is a distant view of the many white crosses on display on an outcrop of hills, part of the Strydpoort mountain range, between Potgietersrus (Mokopane) and Pietersburg (Polokwane):

The crosses are in memory of the farm murders that have occurred during the past 10 years. Each cross represents a murder, and there are apparently 1800 nameless crosses displayed there. The bulk of the crosses form the shape of a huge cross in the centre of the display. Numerous other crosses are displayed on the hilly outcrops on either side of the main formation. A closer view of this unusual monument can be viewed here.

I had extreme difficulty with sleep during my first night in Louis Trichardt, on Saturday. The neighbouring African hooligans partied quite loudly throughout the night until the sun came up. I heard a rapid succession of gunshots being fired about midnight. At about 2 o’clock in the morning I was jolted out of a semi-unconsciousness state by the sounds of a vehicle doing tyre-screeching wheelies right next to my bedroom window. That uproar was then followed by an unbearable thudding noise, which some demented souls call “music”, and which carried on until about 5 o’clock in the morning – hammering a headache into my head that eventually developed into a fully-fledged migraine that haunted me throughout the church service I attended with relatives on Sunday morning.

With nothing much positive to say about the place, I’ve decided to present readers with a concise history lesson. Much of the facts I’m about to present here were sourced from a rare treasure-of-a-book called, “Lost Trials of the Transvaal” – written by Thomas Victor Bulpin (1918-1999), who produced 29 books and over 2000 other publications in the form of booklets, pamphlets, newspapers, magazine features, and travel videos. 

The copy I have in my possession, published in 1965, has an authors note, stating:
“This book represents the combined material of several earlier works, Lost Trials of the Low Veld, The Golden Republic, Storm over the Transvaal and Lost Trials of the Transvaal (1956 edition). Much new material has also been added in the process of correction and modification.” The copy I have is beautifully illustrated with line drawings by A.A. Telford and C.T.A. Maberly."
What I love about Bulpin’s easy manner of writing is the way he tells a story in an unbiased, unprejudiced, colourfully expressive fashion. It is quite obvious that this writer also did extensive research before publishing his works. Not many Afrikaners/Boers, from the old school, will actually like Bulpin’s writings, which is a real pity, because there is a wealth of plain bare truths contained therein, much of which will give the reader a broader grassroots-understanding of the conduct, habits and customs of South Africa’s diverse people, and particularly the savage murdering kind, which still live among us today. A thorough study of Bulpin’s works will also provide a refreshing perspective on the activities shaping current Black politics.

For purposes of keeping this posting short I will skip the narrative about the man "Louis Trichardt", the first European leader-settler, originally from Copenhagen (Denmark), who trekked through the Soutpansberg region while on route to the Portuguese at Lourenco Marques. I hope to tell the story in another future posting, together with the story about Hans van Rensburg’s devastating expedition into the same untamed territory.

The above photograph was taken on Monday morning, 12 Sept 2011. The name "Makhado" on the sign was recently changed back to "Louis Trichardt". It will be interesting to see how long the name will  remain there.

The town Louis Trichardt had its origins in Voortrekker settlement of the area during the mid 1800’s. Back in those wild days it was not uncommon for the savages to launch sporadic 'xenophobic' attacks on defenceless inhabitants. That was when the place still carried the name Schoemansdal.  On 15 Julie 1867, the Venda savages burnt the place down forcing its inhabitants to flee southwards to a laager at a place known as Marabastad (Maraba’s town), named after another petty African chief who lived there. The entire inhabited northern region of the country was forever in a chaotic mess back in those former years! All farming, trading, and prospecting in the region was forever being disrupted. Men - Black, White and Coloured, had to be forcibly mustered to subdue African risings in many places, particularly the Makapaan’s Poort area. For the following 20 years Makhado and his followers did exactly as they pleased, with little regard for minority groups, Black, White and Coloured, living in the region -- more or less in a similar fashion our African Marxist-Communist rulers are doing today, albeit using a more discreet line of attack.

On 18 August 1888, a meeting was called for all Soutpansberg chiefs on the farm Lovedale Park, owned by J.S. Cooksley, a well known hunter and trader in those parts. Makhado completely ignored the meeting, while the African chiefs who did attend hardly seemed impressed by the proceedings.
By 1898 Makhado was still a major thorn in the side of the Republic. The Transvaal, as the region was known back then, was then the third largest gold producing region in the world, supporting 200 separate mining companies, with a combined capital of £57,360,225, employing 9,375 Europeans and 64,012 Africans. Makhado was exceptionally intimidating at that time and many rumours floated around that the crazed lunatic was on the verge of conquering the entire Republic. The arrogant Makhado regarded himself as independent as ever, and again refused to attend any ‘peaceful’ conferences organised by the Europeans, yet this devious savage had no problem enlisting the services of White men (traitors) when it suited him.

Makhado’s menacing intimidation comes clearly to the fore in the following extract sourced from one of Thomas Bulpin’s many remarkable works titled, “Lost Trails of the Transvaal” - page 388:

“He (Makhado) seemed doubly menacing at the time, for he had with him half-a-dozen white renegades, led by an ex-naval officer named Keith (or Shangwahlali to the Africans).
This character acted as a variety of Commodore to the Venda, and affected an odd costume made of chamois leather, with a broad-brimmed hat and jackboots. He had originally been one of the men involved in the celebrated Countess of Carnarvon incident, which almost caused a war between Britain and Portugal. Now his presence in Vendaland gave the Republic an added alarm, from the idea that he was probably running guns and instructing the tribe in the use of modern European weapons. Fortunately for the Republic, at this time of mounting trouble, Makhato (note different version of spelling) was sickened from dropsy and in no condition to lead a war.”

Makhado died of his illness on 3 September 1895. His ‘kingdom’ was adopted by his heir, Mphefu (also spelled as Mphephu), who needed some time (about 3 years) to get reorganized before launching another rebellion against the Republic.

In the mean time… the Tlou tribal chief Makgoba (also known as Magoeba), who had for years also been a rather rebellious thorn in the flesh of many a man seeking only peace and prosperity, was finally chased off the scene - deep into the present-day Magoebaskloof forest. 7,000 African mercenaries assisted the commando forces as allies in finally getting rid of the nuisance and his wretched followers, but the little chief was never physically captured. Most of Makgoba's followers returned and were dispersed among European farms.

The Swazis have their own interesting version of events:

The following was extracted from page 389 of Bulpin’s book:

“On the 9th June (1895) a party of Swazis rummaged through the forest and found two African woman. One they killed and the other they tortured a little, until she told them where the chief (Makgoba) was hiding. About half way up the kloof, which still carries his name (in the corrupted form of Magoeba) the Swazis discovered him. Gleefully they formed a ring in the forest, and their leader challenged Makgoba to mortal combat. And there, in the shadow of the trees, while Swazis catcalled and cheered, Makgoba was slowly battered to his knees. When he fell defeated, the Swazis cut his head off and took it to the commando as proof of their achievement. This, it is only fair to say, is the Swazi version of the event. Makgoba’s followers say that their chief committed suicide before the Swazis found him. They simply cut the head from the corpse.” – Whatever the case, that was the end of Makgoba!

Early in 1898 the nervous Republic, quite aware that the Venda lunatic, Mphefu, was planning conflict of some sort, erected a new fort to guard the northern areas. The fort was named after C.E. Schutte, the Commissioner of Police. By September 1898 the authorities began to prepare for warfare. A spy by the name of Piet Moller was sent to the Soutpansberg to investigate the strength of Mphefu’s military force. Moller entered the Venda stronghold from the north, but was arrested by a Venda outpost. He was held captive for three days, while the Venda questioned him. The brave Moller stuck to his guns claiming that he was not Dutch, only spoke English, and that he was visiting the area to sell ammunition. In the end the Venda believed every word he said, and released him. Moller returned safely to the commando with detailed news of Venda strength and also the news that Mphefu’s forces had little other than their original elephant guns and a dubious collection of gaspipe weapons supplied by the various gunrunners.

The Doorn River was considered to be the Venda boundary. Mphefu warned the commando that the crossing of the river would be an act of war, and any man who did so would never return.

Unperturbed by Mphefu’s obnoxious warning and threats, the commando crossed the river on 17 October 1898 and promptly erected a portable iron fort, known as Fort Hendrina, in the spot where the Dutch Reformed Church of Louis Trichardt stands today. The first Venda-attack took place on 21 October while the men were still busy constructing the fort. The commando galloped out and the Venda fled, leaving ten bodies behind them.

The big attack was set for the 16th November 1898. By then quite a few of Mphefu’s petty chiefs had already hastened to surrender, while Mphefu’s European friends were dispersed: A chap by the name of Whitfield James was arrested, and “Commodore” Bushskins Keith slipped away into the bush.

Thomas Bulpin in “Lost Trials of the Transvaal”, reports as follows on page 446:

“In the actual attack on Swunguzwi the commando had little difficulty. The mountain was attacked from three sides simultaneously. The Venda put up a purely token resistance. Three Europeans in the commando were killed, and then the defenders slipped away into a thick mountain mist, leaving their capital to be burned down behind them. The Venda (approx 10,000) fled with their chief across the Limpopo into Rhodesia, and showed so clean a pair of heals that their pursuers saw little save their dust…. When the commando returned to camp after the capture of Swunguzwi there was considerable jubilation. The whole Soutpansberg was now open for European settlement after years of strife. Colonel Stephanus Trichardt, grandson of the renowned Voortrekker, realised that the government intended to found a new town as a permanent garrison centre for the north. He suggested to Piet Joubert that the Rietvlei camp site was ideal for the purpose. “That’s right, Fanie,” said the old general, extending his hand, “and we’ll name it after your grandfather.”” 

The new town was established on the farms Bergvliet and Rietvlei. It was first known as Trichardtsdorp; but this name was subsequently modified to Louis Trichardt. Proclamation took place during February 1899. The Second Anglo-Boer War broke out in that same year on 11 October. All woman and children living in the town were removed to safety and taken south to the town of Pietersburg (Polokwane). The story of the town does not end there… It was during this time of dreadful mayhem that the Venda decided to take revenge for their earlier defeat. They flattened the town to the ground.

The town was rebuilt after the Anglo-Boer, and municipal status was eventually declared in 1934.

Independent Venda State

In 1962, when Hendrik Verwoerd was Prime Minister of South Africa, a territorial authority was established at Thohoyandou, the capital of Venda. It was declared self-governing on 1 February 1973. On 13 September 1979, it was declared independent by the South African ‘apartheid’ government and its residents lost their South African citizenship. However, in common with other bantustans, its independence was sadly not recognized by the international community. The following was sourced online from a Time Magazine article -- The Birth of a New Non-State -
(Note the mockery in the wording of the heading):

“Pretoria carries on its grand plan for apartheid

A squadron of South African Impala jets thundered through the skies over the new Independence Stadium in Thohoyandou, as tribal dancers raised clouds of red dust with their rhythmic exhortations to ancestral spirits. At the stroke of midnight, South Africa's top-hatted President Marais Viljoen strode down a red carpet to announce a "great historic event, the birth of a new state." At his side stood Chief Patrick Mphephu, 54, a small, diffident man with a fifth-grade education, who was soon to become the Executive President of the Republic of Venda, a Delaware-sized region tucked in the northeast corner of South Africa. As Venda's new four-color flag fluttered in the breeze overhead, Mphephu told his fellow citizens, "We must be prepared to preserve and defend this newly won dream."”
Click here to read the rest.

Well that’s it folks – for now...  Please stay tuned for more exciting truths – coming soon!

Readers may also be interested in an older posting - The Makapaanspoort Murders of 1854, which describes one of the many senseless killings that took place in more-or-less the same northern region covered in this posting.


It is unfortunate that anonymous comments will, from today onwards, not be allowed on this blog. I regret that this decision will probably have an impact on the number of people who regularly comment anonymously, but under the present circumstances I believe this is an essential step towards creating some form of order. My advice to regular anonymous commentators is to get a Google account… use a nom de plume if you have to!

I’ll repeat what I said earlier today in reply to someone who suggested I shut down the comment section on a recent posting - The Hilarious Demolition of Language and Heritage.

On my return (from Louis Trichardt)  late yesterday afternoon I noticed that there are numerous anonymous comments posted all over the place… (56 in total). Many of these comments are not even vaguely related to the topic of the posting. I also noticed that there are several irrational debates taking place on several postings. It gets rather confusing when all the commentators post anonymously. There’s even one commentator writing as if he/she is the owner of this blog. One of the anonymous commentators is none other than that pesky fellow from Port Elizabeth, Mr R__ster – (who else?), who is totally obsessed with discrediting blogs that are supporting the extensive international campaign about farm attacks in South Africa.

The prevention of genocide starts with exposure of the culprits, which in SA’s case is BLACK RACISTS – of a similar devious kind than Shaka and his treacherous side-shoot Mzilikazi, who turned the country into a state of chaos and ruin BEFORE the arrival of Voortrekkers, such as Andries Hendrik Potgieter. It is only a demented soul that would want to side with these murderous bloodsucking savages - who, through the powers of the devil, are still among us. That certain people would want go full-force to boycott the current international campaign about farm attacks and farm murders committed by these savages, completely boggles the mind!


Macaw said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

And I was hoping that someone had plucked his feathers...

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Feathers will be plucked... mark my words!

The Rooster said... .....Click here to refresh this blog
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

The comment I’ve just deleted, was made by Rooster on 15 Sept @ 9:28 AM. He continued with his irrational debate that was taking place on another thread… here.

This is Rooster’s special approach towards creating mayhem on blogs such as this one. His hope is that the comment does get deleted, so that he can make claims that his so-called “truth-views” are being censored.

I’ll repeat what was said in the deleted comment…

“Extensive international campaign ? Who are you fooling ? It's the same smallgroup (sic) of crazies who harp on about it while the rest of South Africa's sane community roll their eyes.”
Posted by The Rooster to TIA MYSOA at September 15, 2011 9:28 AM

I really don’t know why I bother to reply to this dumbass, but while I have some spare time (a few minutes) on my hands:

The term “Extensive international campaign” was sourced from the following passage, published on the website of Solidarity Legal Services:

The proceeds of the Afrikaans books that are sold will be used to distribute copies of the English version, titled Land of sorrow – 20 years of farm attacks in South Africa, abroad. The book launch will be followed by an extensive international campaign about farm attacks in South Africa.

Source: www.solidaritylegalservices.co.za

TAKE NOTE: Among Rooster’s many misshapen viewpoints stuck in his clogged brain cells, you’ll also find the fanatical belief that the media covers each and every murder taking place in SA. He also exhibits a paranoial viewpoint that the figure of 3000 plus murdered farmers in the country cannot be correct, and must be far lower than claimed.

It so happened that last night I spoke to a young couple (friends of a friend), who lost their father recently under tragic circumstances. Their father was murdered on a smallholding near Pretoria. The young couple are totally devastated by what happened, and went into considerable detail when they spoke about the dreadful manner in which their father was murdered. NOT A WORD WAS MENTIONED IN THE MEDIA – Not in the press and neither on the radio!

When I mentioned to this couple that I was running a blog, which discusses among other issues the plight of our farmers in this k4 country, they begged me not to publish anything, hence the reason why I’ve left names, dates, and exact location out in the above paragraph.

In another incident (unsolved murder), which I mentioned http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/2011/02/fed-up-with-police-incompetence.html, on this blog, there was also NOT A SINGLE WORD IN THE MEDIA about the incident - Not in the press and neither on the radio!

I realize that people like Rooster will not believe me, but I really don’t care anymore what they believe!

So – Rooster, plase do us all a BIG favour – and F@%k OFF!

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog


In another incident (unsolved murder), which I mentioned here, on this blog, there was also NOT A SINGLE WORD IN THE MEDIA about the incident - Not in the press and neither on the radio!

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

So why have commentators gone silent on this posting?

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

See also the related posting in the Tia Mysoa Bookstore Blog:

Lost Trials of the Transvaal: Chapter 2, by Thomas Bulpin

The posting will be followed-up soon by chapter 3, “Winding Paths”, and a most enlightening chapter 4 called, “Mzilikazi”. These writings by Thomas Bulpin cover vital truths about South African history – a beautiful rich history the ANC government has suppressed and completely obliterated from school textbooks – the bastards!!!

The Rooster said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I've gone silent because you're censoring me on this post and taking things I have claimed entirely out of context. I won't play if you can't play fair.

The Rooster said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I don't claim every murder makes the papers. I just say that every farm murder of a white makes the papers with VERY few (if any exceptions). I can't speak as to your claim that someone was murdered on a farm and didn't make the papers. I assume you wouldn't lie about something awful like that so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt (which is generous of me giving the tricks and manipulative dishonesty people like Adriana pull).

I am highly skeptical that someone was falsy classified as dying from "double pneumonia" when they were murdered. I know people who work in morgues and they assure me they don't work under any political agenda. But as always I keep an open mind.

(Should go without saying that the death of the young lady is tragic whatever the circumstances.)

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