The war against Malaboch has been extensively covered in the past. However, it was my reading of the diary of the Rev Colin Rae that sparked this fresh look at the campaign. He observes that ‘through the campaign the poor Malabochians were seldom aggressors, their attitude being nothing more or less than a gentle protest against what they considered an unjust encroachment on their ancestral rights.’ His diary of events will be of interest to those who are deeply interested in South African affairs generally.
The chapter on the Ndebele nation represents the start of a determined campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Matabele people and their resolve to regain their independence as a constitutional monarchy.
The exploration of the Limpopo was to find an easier outlet to the sea, and hence England, for the gold mined at Tati, than the yet undeveloped land route. He was the first person to travel the full extent of the river to its outflow into the Indian Ocean.
The Lady Trader ended her days on a farm in the northern Drakensberg. It was called Ravenshill and I have visited it many times. It is redolent with the history of its time – Frank Eland, who was her farm manager, was killed during a skirmish with a Boer commando while serving with the Bushveld Carbineers.
The other chapters in the book are wide-ranging and deal with people and events that have been under-recorded and warrant exposure.