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Eigth Frontier War

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1850-1853

In October 1850 Sandile, the principal Ngqika chief, was deposed for refusing to attend a meeting of chiefs called by the Governor, subsequently, on 24 December the Ngqika attacked a colonial patrol at Boomah Pass and destroyed three military villages. The Ngqika received support from the Thembus and some Gcalekas. They were later joined by some rebellious 'black police' and some Khoikhoi from the Kat River settlement under Hermanus Matroos and Willem Uithaalder. The Khoi revolt undoubtedly helped to keep the momentum of the war, since the Khoikhoi were experienced in white fighting methods. Military camps such as Fort Beaufort (January 1852) were attacked and caused the Government constant anxiety as to the loyalty of its Khoi auxiliaries.

The Kat River revolt also meant that the burghers of the eastern districts did not respond to the call to commando duty, while only 150 burghers from the western areas had gone to the front by February 1851. Towards the end of February 1851, The Kat River rebellion was crushed. Meanwhile Comdt Gideon Joubert began the attack on the rebel Thembus, and a combined force of Thembus and Gcalekas was defeated on the Imvani River by Captain V Tylden in April 1851. Although the Government enjoyed the support of the Mfengus, most of the Ndlambe tribes and a large number of Khoikhoi, its operations were hampered by the paucity of regular troops. For the first time the Ngqika and their allies were using firearms.

In addition, fighting was also going on against the Basuto in the Orange River Sovereignty. All these factors contributed to delay the end of the war. The Waterkloof valley one of the battlefields during Eight frontier War. By early 1852, Sir George Cathcart arrived at the Cape to replace Sir Harry Smith. Under his command the war was vigorously pursued to its close. A combined force of regular troops, under Generals H Somerset and V Yorke, continued a previous operation started in December 1851 and defeated Sarhili. In September 1852 the Amatole region had been cleared of Ngqika and by November the last Khoi rebels had been defeated. In the new settlement, the rebellious tribes were moved out of the Amatole Mountains to locations in British Kaffraria and their lands given to white settlers.

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Shortly after, Sir George Grey's vigorous attempt to break down tribalism in British Kaffraria aroused the 'cattle-killing movement' among the Xhosa ethnic groups on both sides of the Kei (1857) and left the Kaffrarian Xhosas destroyed. British Kaffraria was incorporated into the Cape in 1866. Xhosa warriors during the Eight Frontier War. In 1858 Sir George Grey, convinced of Sarhili's complicity in the cattle-killing episode, sent an expedition to drive the Gcalekas beyond the Bashee River into Bomvanaland. The vacated Transkeian territory was at first administered as a dependency of British Kaffraria, and annexed to it in March 1862. Locations were established there, for Mfengus at Butterworth, and for some Ndlambes at Idutywa. But the British government felt it would be too expensive to hold this new frontier, so disannexation back to the Kei occurred in 1864.

Source: www.molweni.com, www.ezakwantu.com