Chapter Three
The Great Trek. David Livingstone. Traders and Hunters

In 1835, the same year in which Moffat paid his second visit to Mzilikazi, began the 'Great Trek' of the Boers from the Cape Colony. The reasons for this determined movement have been summed up thus:

'The Cape frontiersmen held firmly by three main traditions. First, that a farm to be a farm must consist of 6,000 acres or so of land, regardless of quality, and that each man was entitled to one such farm at least, taken at pleasure, and held indefinitely on payment of a small and fixed annual 'recognition' to the distant central government. Secondly, they believed that the redeeming feature of the central government was that it was distant. Local government by landdrosts and semi-elected and wholly sympathetic farmer heemraden, the frontiersmen understood; but the central government was to them a more or less alien thing whatever flag might fly over the Castle at Cape Town. Experience had taught them that that government could usually be tired out, or else evaded by the simple process of edging farther away from it. Thirdly, starting with an endowment of late seventeenth century Calvinism and brought up for generations among slaves or Bushmen and Hottentot serfs, and latterly Bantu barbarians, the trekkers held as firmly as any politician in the Carolinas that there was a divinely appointed gulf between themselves and such as these.

'The Great Trek took place when and how it did because all these three fundamental traditions were challenged simultaneously. The central government showed obviously that it meant to govern, and along new lines; economic conditions were changing rapidly and destroying the old isolation, and the apostles of humanitarianism and the Evangelical revival pushed in to preach doctrines of native rights that to the Boers seemed destructive of all security.'1

One of the effects was to thrust Europeans in considerable numbers among African tribesmen, with all the dangers that such a situation contained.

It would be superfluous to our present purpose to follow the trek in all its ramifications. Its effect on the Tswana tribes was to bring some 20,000 of the trekkers, including the hardiest and most obdurate,

____________________
1
Cambridge History, Vol. VIII, p. 319.

-16-

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