This book provides a detailed narrative of the Kat River Settlement in the Eastern Cape of South Africa during the nineteenth century. The settlement was created by the British to use the Khoekhoe as a living barrier between the Cape Colony and the amaXhosa. It was fought over with some regularity, however, and finally broken up after some of the Khoekhoe joined the amaXhosa in their war against the colony. Nevertheless, in the time that the settlement existed, the Khoekhoe both created a fertile landscape in the valley and developed a political theology of great importance for the evolution of South Africa. They were also the subjects of - and participants in - the major debates leading to the introduction of a liberal constitution for the Cape in 1853. The history of the settlement is thus crucial in understanding the development of both colonial racism and the creation of the colony's non-racial democracy.
Robert Ross received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1974 and has worked since then at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has written several books, including A Concise History of South Africa and Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony: A Tragedy of Manners, both published by Cambridge University Press. He is also the editor, with Anne Kelk Mager and Bill Nasson, of the two-volume series The Cambridge History of South Africa.
Introduction; 1. The valley before the settlement; 2. Water and land: the making of the settlement and of the landscape; 3. Kat River politics: the church, panic and vagrancy; 4. The amaXhosa and the War of 1835; 5. The first reconstruction; 6. AmaMfengu, Hermanus Matroos and the War of the Axe; 7. The assault on the settlement; 8. Rebellion; 9. The aftermath; 10. Conclusion.