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2023-01-09 at 19:03 #388611Nat QuinnKeymasterWHERE DO WE COME FROM? BEFORE VAN RIEBEECK…
Land expropriation is the political buzz. Settlers, and where they fit in, is Malema and the EFF’s obsession. The IMF and European Union (let alone our citizens themselves) expect a South African collapse. History is being distorted by an inefficient education system.
Let’s take a look at the earliest documented evidence about our country – the only reliable source of history, because it is a proven fact that oral history older than three generations is not reliable at all and is more based on legend and myth than any facts.
The earliest history of sub-Saharan Africa dates back to 1488 when Bartolomeu Dias first sailed around the Cape. Of particular interest to us is that the history between 1488 and Van Riebeeck’s arrival in April 1652 can be found in the Maritime Museum in Lissabon, Portugal which makes it an excellent historical source, because Portugal has no political interest in South Africa and was never part of our particular history.
The logbooks, diaries and notes of especially six Portuguese ships are of immense importance to South Africa:
1. The Sao Johannes sailed from the Malabar Coast in India to Lissabon on February 3, 1552. Captain Don Manuel de Souza’s heavily overloaded ship was shipwrecked near the present Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape on June 8, 1552. The 500 survivors started walking through the unpopulated Cape northwards to Mozambique and after twelve days only did they encounter the first indigenous people, described as “yellowish in colour and living in mud and reed shelters”. In exchange for twelve nails they obtained a cow from these people. Another 160 kilometers to the north they encountered a small hostile black tribe and were attacked.
Dona Leonora de Sousa e Sepulveda, a niece of King Manuel of Portugal, and the female staff were molested and many of the survivors of the shipwreck killed. Out of shame Dona Leonora buried her lower body in the sand and covered her naked breasts with her long hair. Here she died, together with her two children. The ship’s captain, Don Manuel, walked into the bushes – never to be heard from again.
On May 25, 1553 only eight Portuguese men, 14 male slaves and three female slaves reached Mozambique, all the others having perished along the way. Andre Vas, one of the survivors, kept a diary of their ordeal.
2. The Sint Benedictus with captain Fernao de Alvares Cabral left Katsjin in India on February 1, 1554. It was shipwrecked at 32,5 degrees latitude near the present Banshee River on the Transkei Wild Coast. On their way overland to Mozambique the crew were also attacked by an indigenous black tribe and those not murdered were treated as slaves by the black chief before being able to escape. After 72 days only 62 of the original crew of 473 reached the Maputo River on April 2, 1555.
3. The Santo Alberto’s journey was diarized by Rodrigo Maguies and also by a scribe of King Joao Baptista Lavanha. It stranded 3km from the Umtata River on the Transkeian Coast on March 14. 125 Portuguese and 160 slaves survived and started a journey to Mozambique under the leadership of Don Nuno Velho Pereira. A few days north of the Umtata they met a black tribe with chief “Luspance”and greeted with the words “Nanhate! Nanhata!”. What makes this interesting in historical studies is that the name and words are not grammatically or ethnological compatible with Xhosa or any Nguni language. The amaXhosa was thus definitely not present during the first three shipwrecks.
The same hostile black tribe awaited the survivors north of the present Durban, now under the chieftainship of Inhaca (which is a typical name in Mozambique and East Africa). In Inhaca’s kraal they found one of the survivors of the St Johannes, living with three wives and 24 children, who guided them to an island where a Portuguese ship was busy loading ivory. Only 43 of the 116 Portuguese and 65 surviving slaves reached Mozambique on August 6. Two other survivors reached the Portuguese colony at Sofala.
4. The Sint Johannes die Doper with Francisco Vas da Almeida stranded on September 29, 1622 at 33 degrees latitude. 279 people survived the shipwreck. Theirs is a gripping tale of cannibalism, murder and greed. On April 6 they reached the Mozambique River where they encountered the notorious King Inhaca, who had by now moved north towards Mozambique. On July 28, 1622 only 28 of the original crew reached Sofala. Da Almeida kept a diary of the ordeal and it is being displayed by the Maritime Museum in Lissabon.
5. The Sint Goncalo was shipwrecked near the present Plettenberg Bay in August 1630. The captain Fernando Lopo de Menezes as well as Father Francisco dos Santos kept notes and it was also recorded by Manuel Faria y Souza in the Asia/Portuguese publication of the time in 1675. Here was the first record of the nomadic Khoi/San in South Africa a mere 22 years before Van Riebeeck and they gave a full description of the dress, nomadic lifestyle and eating habits of the “Khoi/San”. The survivors of the ship built three small boats in which they sailed to Goa. The sea wrecked two of the boats, Captain E Carvalho is saved by a passing ship, and in the long run nobody survived the disaster. The padrao these men built can still be seen in the Cape Museum today.
6. The Nossa Senhora de Belem stranded in the present Pondoland, about nine kilometers north of the Umzimkulu River under the captaincy of Joseph de Cabreya in June 1635.
What is really interesting is that the crew did not encounter any indigenous black tribes; the notorious and mysterious Inhaca’s tribesmen having moved further northwards. For five weeks the survivors trekked to Mozambique before finding a black tribe and an aged Portuguese survivor of forty years earlier.
They built three boats. The first one, named Nossa Senhora Natividade left with 135 men on January 10, 1636; and the Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagema with 137 the next day. They were never heard of again. Only one boat reached Angola with 126 people after 48 days drifting the treacherous seas.
Apart from the fact that these epic experiences would make for fantastic documentaries and movies, they also document a true history from an independent source, rubbishing the ANC, EFF and DA’s tall tales about the slave trade, indigenous people, the arrival dates of the present population groups in South Africa, and the origins of the racial strife in our country. What is clear is that when Van Riebeeck eventually arrived in the Cape the notorious and unknown Inhaca and his tribe have moved to north of Durban, leaving the southern part of Africa depopulated save for a few marauding and nomadic Khoi and San.
** The Van Riebeeck date of April 1652 set the movements in motion from all directions in search of trade, food, work and eventual clashes around the Vis- and the Vet River about fifty to eighty years later. To me the mystery of Inhaca and his tribe will always stay in the back of my mind: why did Inhaca decide to trek to the north and vacate South Africa when everybody else was converging on South Africa? Maybe Inhaca knew that HKGK (Hier kom groot k*k).
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