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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 2:30 pm 
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S.C.R. Barnard part 3 .

What follows now about Bvekenya, is from other sources read as well as from " The Ivory Trail " authored by T.W. Bulpin


After his decision to become an Elephant hunter the young Barnard moved to the Maluleke and seek his fortune he moved and found or learnt about characters like Alec Thompson the shopkeeper and the assistant William Pye, the tumble down shop being of corrugated iron with a lean to veranda, trading mainly ivory and other spoils of hunting for food, clothes, ammunition and of course . . . . liquor. “ Only Jones “ , Pat Fay a Irishman who had been pensioned from the police station at Sibasa who was quite fat, it was told after returning from an unsuccessful expedition quite lean and famished, indulged into eating some roasted beef until he ate himself to death. Buck Buchanan, Hendrik Hartman was another, he became a short lived partner of Bvenkenya, as well as a few “ Blackbirders “ amongst others Theodore Williams, Jack Ford an Australian and ex Rhodesian policeman, Jacob Diegel, John Dart,, The Hungarian called Wieder and the Swede called Colesen. Jack Lambert, was another, he loved the bottle and often wandered off into the bush after spending his revenue on the liquid supplies, he did this once more and was never again seen. Johnson was another.

Blackbirding was labour recruiting, the blackbirders would go out and find individuals willing to work on the mines and then recruit them. The recruited would run away from their kraals as they were afraid that their wives would bewitch them. The blackbirders were paid a fee of seven pounds per head were paid by the mine owners for each labourer recruited. The labourers were paid half their wages at the mine and the balance kept in reserve and paid to them at the WNLA office at the border once they had completed their term of contract.
Many a night was spent on the route from Crookes Corner under the Baobab at Baobab hill and other spots in the vicinity.

Barnard decided to hunt differently – the honest way, he would obtain his game licences and do it the right way, Afterall he was an ex policeman and a law abiding citizen.

He set off with his meagre equipment a( a rifle, a riding mule four donkeys and a few provisions ) into Portuguese East Africa along the traders path to Sofala in the second season of drought, his immediate destination being the Portuguese administrative post at Massangen on the banks of the Great Save River, where he intended getting the required permits and licences to start off his career as Elephant hunter about 220 km away. There were except for a few Shanganes no other travellers on the dry barren thirsty route, rid of game.

After fourteen days of dusty thirsty travelling he reached his dreary ramshackle destination, with very little water, washing was out of the question, his two week old beard, matted hair and dusty appearance matched that of his hosts Amorina the yellow complexioned (result of quinine swallowed down with the aid of large doses of brandy) well set and flabby, Chef de Post and his assistant called Mangone.

Young Barnard walked into the office where the two officials were passing the time drinking gin, sharing a grubby tumbler. In the back office a Shangane policeman (Folage) was busy interrogating a suspect and was speeding up the process using his boot and the suspects ribs.

The conversation was held in broken Shanganese as it was the only common language they shared. The Portuguese seemed speechless at Barnard’s unknown request, and produced a piece of paper indicating that no game licence or permits could be issued as it was out of season., Barnard could only shoot for the pot and nothing more . . . .

Barnard spent the evening with Amorina and Mangone, who questioned him about his origin and equipment, they even counted his money, eyed by Forage.

The following Barnard set off after breakfast, on his return journey eyed by the three.

Barnard considered going into Rhodesia and then possibly move further but the reigning drought, made him realise that it would be useless, as along the Great Save even where there was a bit of water, game was scarce. He reached a suitable spot and decided to make camp and remain a few days. Apart from a few scraggy, famished Shanganes, who survived on roots and berries, there seemed to be no danger. There was some game around his camp and he felt quite comfortable, but uneasy. He spent about thirty days at this camp, then – he did not notice the human shapes stealing through the bush upon him, while he was dozing off one evening.

The human shapes crept upon him and attacked him, awakening him with the glancing crack of a knobkerrie on his skull. Barnard jumped up and attacked his assailant recognising Folage from the Portuguese post. During the fight Barnard stuck his thumb into the eye of his attacker, who then let go and fled.

Barnard escaped and after a half hearted chase the followers returned to his camp and rounded up his belongings and set off.

Barnard decided to get to the Makhuleke as soon as possible and set off, post haste, half naked – the sun scorching him and the thorns grabbing at his skin, a group of passing Shanganes offered him some clothing, a bit of food and a spear. The only relief he got was when he soaked in the moist mud at a waterhole, when his dried out body seemed to absorb the moisture like blotting paper.

On this return journey he saw his first Elephant. He heard a commotion in the bush with lots of grumbling, trumpeting stamping and trampling, he went to investigate; he saw an Elephant being worried by a Honey Badger at a little water hole. The Elephant would approach and the Badger would defend by charging and biting the big feet and then hastily giving way, the Elephant retreating and then repeating the process with the Badger spluttering and cursing and standing it’s ground, just giving way to the stamping feet and waving trunk., eventually the Elephant saw the terrible looking shape of the onlooker, took fright, turned around with a squeal and fled with the Badger hurtling through the bush in hot pursuit.

Arriving at the Makhuleke Barnard had a good wash and a meal and slept for a day.

Telling Thompson the story about the Elephant and the Badger, the latter remarked that Barnard must have had a bad fever.

Barnard decided to return and as he was not successful in obtaining the permits and licences he required, he was going to do it in any case and on his own way. When Thompson heard that Barnard intended going back he said the fever must be much worse than he originally suspected.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue May 26, 2009 5:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 3:10 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 4.

Barnard had made up his mind and decided to go to Johannesburg, draw his money, rig himself out and do what he intended – Elephant hunting.

He spoke Thompson into lending him some money, against the security of his wagon he bought the minimum of second hand clothing and a raincoat and set of. He got a lift on a wagon to Soekmekaar from where he went to Pietersburg – now Polokwane and at Soekmekaar store he purchased a suit, a pair of shoes, underwear and some toiletries. Parcel under the arm the young adventurer boarded the already moving train.

He sat down and relaxed and then decided to have a wash and change into his newly acquired clothing. He undressed and threw his worn filthy clothing through the window of the speeding train. He enjoyed his wash and shave, when he opened the parcel containing his new clothing he discovered that the suit was minus the trousers. . . . .

He got dressed in what he had and covered himself with his raincoat, to hide the absence of the trousers. At Pietersburg he barely made the train to Pretoria, still wearing the raincoat. At Pretoria in the very early hours of the morning he changed trains to his destination – Johannesburg. The train reached Johannesburg at sunrise and he could not wait for the clothing shops to open – to purchase a pair of trousers, being too shy to tell the shopkeeper about his dilemma he returned to the station to get suitably dressed, the urchins smilingly directed him to the Ladies’ change rooms where he restored his confidence. He then went to the barber shop and when he left he looked quite decent.

He purchased the necessary equipment amongst others a 9.5 Mannlicher-Schonauer, 500 cartridges and a revolver. As clothing he purchased greenish coloured corduroy shorts and jackets from which he removed all pockets to prevent him from getting caught up by the thorns of the bush. He preferred the corduroy to khaki as it was absolutely noiseless. Rubber soled boots were selected for silence as well as puttees in preference to socks. A big shady hat with upturned sides completed his costume.. In the dark of that evening he watched as the lights of the city disappeared through the train window on his return journey to the Makhuleke and his adventure. Monty Ash the shopkeeper at Klein Letaba gave Barnard the two donkeys he had kept for him, he thought that the fever and the heat had got to Barnard and also told him so, the youngster disregarded the advice given and set off after Ash gave him an old .303 rifle as a parting gift.

Arriving at the Maluleke Barnard paid his debt and set off on his great adventure, he journeyed up to the Save where he camped on the Rhodesian side of the border, as a precaution against his previous bad experience. Here he shot a Hippo and many starving Shanganes gathered to share in the oncoming feast.
When the carcass rose from the waters, many willing hands were available to usher it to the banks. Bvekenya took of the fat and cut sjamboks from the hide. While watching the starving Shanganes feasting, their gratitude reminded Bvekenya that he owed them a favour due to the returning mineworkers who assisted during his him previously ordeal. Their kindness most certainly saved his life.

Bvekenya decided to visit the kraal of his helpers and found it heartbreaking, the inhabitants were thin and starving, he decided to go out and shoot some game. He shot an Eland and a Tsessebe in the area where it had recently rained. The meat was cut up and fires made, Bvekenya realised that allowing these starving people to eat much meat would do them much harm, he ordered them to prepare a broth from the meat, which they enjoyed for three days and then they got stuck into the meat, he watched them flourish and their recovery was astonishing.

Bvekenya stayed over a few days and set out hunting and shot much for the people of the kraal.

One day Bvekenya had a very close shave when he unknowingly set off an Elephant trap consisting of a weighted heavy poisoned spear barely scraped his back breaking the stock of the .303 rifle slung across his back. The deadly poison was prepared by crushing the seeds of the Butsula creeper, mixing it with gum and coated to the points of the trap spears. A painful death came certainly to whatever the spears touched.

On his return to the kraal there was much consternation when the news of his close shave became known and a witch doctor was summoned to come and attend to him. She examined him and fortunately found no scratches. The old witch rubbed ointment into his bruises while the onlookers laughed and were overjoyed.

His kindness to the members of the kraal was told to the witch and she decided to spill the bones and bless him, which she promptly did. Peering into the bones she announced that he was their friend and chief, he saved them from famine and the ancestors were very grateful. He was to be careful in the forests and to tread gently, leave no trails and sleep lightly. Through all these dangers he will grow taller than the trees and live until his grows grey.

As for Elephant hunting he was to count the toes and fingers of the attendant children and then know how many Elephants he will be permitted to hunt. Bvekenya counted the children – 15 in total, he reckoned that 300 Elephant would do him quite wel as he barely had a shilling to his name . . . .

That night his last in the kraal he slept uneasily and had strange dreams, early the next morning he greeted his friends and set off . . . . .

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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 1:37 pm 
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I do like this man, he seems a good soul... now for the strange dream :hmz:

I laughed at the Honey Badger and Elephant and the suit without trousers. Oh dear, I could relate to that story.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 5:23 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 5.

From Shubela’s kraal, Bvekenya went southwards across the Great Save river to an area in which his Shangane friends told him, he was sure to find Elephants. Two Shanganes accompanied him as guides, trackers and carriers.

They were soon on the tracks of his first Elephant, a sizable bull. Bvekenya was thrilled as he looked at the spoor with alls its lines and markings, telling the trackers a lot but all his inexperienced eyes saw was foot marks in the dust of the parched land during the reigning drought.

They soon came across the animal; Bvekenya had the knowledge of hearsay but no practical experience. As all youths he already knew it all as the Shanganes pointed and nudged him forward.

He went forward with great caution with the Shanganes crouching and watching him in silence. He was going to shoot the beast behind the ear as he had been told. He looked back at the trackers and they were looking at him. He was conscious of the cicadas buzzing, his own heart thumping, his sweaty hands and the Elephant grazing on the few Mopani leaves left. He stared down over the barrel directed the sights towards what he expected to be a killing shot, he pulled the trigger, the 9.5 Mannlicher-Schonauer replied and a puff of dust rose from the hide of the pachyderm , slightly high and a thud was heard a moment later.

The startled elephant wheeled and crashed into the bush, he fired two more shots into the rear end of the fleeing animal. He turned around and saw the two Shanganes disappear into the bush, but in the opposite direction.

He set off into the bush after the wounded Elephant; he tracked the spoor in the sand through midday before he found his prey, eating Mopani leaves. He cautiously crept closer and followed the advice of getting as close as you can and then get a further five paces closer. He repeated the previous process and squeezed the trigger and quickly sent off two more rounds into the falling/fallen carcass. He could hardly control his joy – his first profitable kill, he rested his gun against a tree and like all amateurs before and after him rushed to the laying carcass and got onto it. To his astonishment the Elephant rose, Bvekenya hit the ground with a thud. The wounded beast stumbled off like someone who had spent too much time celebrating at Crook’s Corner coughing blood for about fifty paces and collapsed – dead.

He advanced very cautiously to examine his prize, and carefully examined each of the six bullet holes, trying to determine which proved deadly. Bvekenya was no longer proud of his ability as a mighty white Elephant hunter; it had taken him six shots to make his first kill . . . . .

The great white hunter now realised that it takes a lot of practical experience to mercifully and also economically, slay an Elephant with one well placed shot. He was far from camp and was not sure that he would find the carcass to get the tusks, so decided to drag a stick in the sand from the carcass to the camp.

At the camp the Shanganes were waiting for him and were pleased to hear about all the meat available during this terrible drought. Overnight they gathered fellow tribesman to the following morning come and help themselves in the land of plenty. Early the following morning the area around the carcass resembled exactly what it was – a bush abattoir with many blood and guts smeared happy Shanganes working like slaves By evening the carcass was converted to a heap of offal and a stain in the dust.

The tusks were carried twenty five miles away and hidden at the foot of a Baobab where could be easily found by him and away from any authorities who may be in the area.

The nice tusks weighed forty nine and fifty pounds a piece and ivory fetching 8s.6d. (Eight shillings and a sixpence for those born after 1961) per pound, yielded a handsome Forty two pounds and ten shillings.

Now he had to find the next Elephant. The tribes people were only to familiar with the tracks a big marked and scarred 70 cm footprint of an old rogue who had recently killed two woman and a man. No one knew what had turned this old bull into a killer, who always covered the gored bruised bodies of his victims with branches he stripped off the trees.

Bvekenya and his two trackers/guides/carriers/ runners away and another, followed the indicated trail. It was a hard slog through the parched land, eventually their caution got a bit slack and all a sudden they were rudely brought back to reality when a bush pheasant rose from a clump and screeched for dear life. There he was – the old rogue – standing in the bush, watching them. All of a sudden the Shanganes and the donkey were trying to outpace one another in the opposite direction. Bvekenya decided to stand his ground and raised his gun, and followed the beast coming towards him over the barrel and through the vee of the sights trying to steady the front marker, he squeezed the trigger while pointing at the chest of the approaching trumpeting tornado with its ears and trunk folded back, battering every obstruction in its way.

For seventy yards there was a road of destruction following the Elephant towards the hunter. It must have lost sight of his quarry with blood dripping from its chest, it stopped and it raised its trunk trying to get a smell of its quarry – Bvekenya – the hated human being. Bvekenya gathered his wits and again raised the Mannlicher-Schonauer, took aim and squeezed the trigger, the firing pin hit the percussion cap of the cartridge case in the breech, igniting the charge of gunpowder which immediately exploded, forcing the cartridge through the barrel through air and penetrating the thick hide of the Elephant, behind the ear, the shock collapsed the old giant. Bvekenya was satisfied the shot must have killed the Elephant instantly,. The triumphant Bvekenya shouted for the Shanganes and they came back cautiously and stared in wonder uttering praises at the great Bwana who had slayed the old killer. More food was available and they started lighting a fire for their braai while the Bwana rolled himself a cigar from bartered tobacco and some picked leaves. Life was now becoming really good as success was now coming their way.

All of a sudden there was a howl and exclamations in Shanganese; the Elephant was scrambling to its feet. Bvekenya exclaimed and expleted grabbing for his gun, ramming a cartridge into the breech, the Elephant was unsteadily disappearing into the bush destroying everything and anything in its way. The Bwana followed squeezing the trigger four times, then silence as the old rogue collapsed with a mighty sigh rising no more . . . and died.

The tribes people had heard the shooting and the trumpeting and from afar, soon appeared to collect their share of the meat and the fat., trooping through the bush and set to work on the carcass with a will.

Word spread fast through the bush telegraph and people came from afar to trade whatever they had for Elephant meat and biltong with this great Bwana.

This old beast was beyond his prime and there may have been a few young bulls who later in years to come, try and equal his seventy five pounds a piece.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:27 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 6.

After the second shot, his third Elephant fell and was really dead. Bvekenya had now learnt the lesson of all professionals – an Elephant is not dead until it is dead.

He packed up collected the three pairs of hidden tusks and set of to William Pye in the shop at the Makhuleke and trade his tusks for cash, the store assistant handed over one hundred and sixty eight pounds for the eight tusks and remarked the Bvekenya “ fought royal combat “.

His return to the Makhuleke was a triumph for Bvekenya as the inhabitants did not expect to ever see him again as he was surely to have be killed by an Elephant by now.

Thompson asked him what he was going to do next and the reply was “ buy provisions, cartridges and a couple of mules and go back as he still had 297 Elephants due, and that Thompson had better do good business as he would need a lot of cash to trade their tusks.

Thompson enquired about the Portuguese authorities and shrugged and said that “ they could lump it, if that Folage had not raided me, I would be far away up north, now I am going to stay just as long as I feel I like it, and they will have to run if they wanted to catch me, before I am through I will get back what I lost and hopefully a hundred times more, I still also want to get Folage and his ringleader, before all is done “.

The reply was “ well it is your life, not mine, but you are still going to make trouble for yourself. When do you start.”. Bvekenya left two days later, well provisioned , he was very satisfied about the acquisition of the two mules the riding one with the white face called Yapie and the other white footed packing mule aptly called Witvoet together with his three Shanganes who by now had gained much confidence in the skills of their Bwana.

They had not travelled very far on the tracks in the dry bush when they turned a corner and there stood a big bull, browsing on a tree, they were surprised and so was he, but adding to his surprise was his irritation with them, he came down the little path like a battle ship at full speed towards the fast disappearing group, as the bull passed Bvekenya fired , four quick shots rapidly followed one another, Elephant skidded and dropped a hundred paces further – stone dead. – his biggest tusker eighty pounds a side . . . .

The biggest problem now was to find Yapie who had taken such a fright that afterwards the merest rumour of an Elephant would stop him dead in his tracks and refused to move one little step closer and nothing would ever change his mind, he had also learnt by experience. . . . .

The local tribes people got their share and the following afternoon the Elephant was reduced to a heap of bones, for the Hyaenas.

The tusks were again hidden for later retrieval and the safari got on their way after a rumour reached Bvekenya’ s ears that there was a vast number of Elephants thirty miles south-west of the Great Save and thirty miles east of the Rhodesian border.

They soon found the bit of grass left in the drought, all trampled as if by big feet, he consulted with the headman of the local kraal who confirmed their presence around a shallow muddy lake surrounded by tall Mthombothi trees. He offered one of his tribesman as a guide and they set off, following the guide.

While approaching the lake, they in the distance heard the noise of Elephants, they crept closer with great caution and then with great wonder they viewed the amazing sight – about three hundred Elephants were gathered around and in the muddy lake, splashing water and rolling around in the mud . . . . ..

In the middle of the crowd towered one big mass of Elephant , dwarfing those who surrounded him, Njalabane saw his wonder and whispered to Bvekenya “ yes that is Ndlulamithi the one who is taller than the trees , he is the mightiest of the Elephants in this land, see his tusks, he is the mighty chief of all Elephants “.

Bvekenya’ s heart ached, for possession of that bull whose tusks seemed to touch the ground, he searched from a vantage point, near the old bull was an ant heap, he carefully crept towards it, while the herd unaware of the lurking danger kept on enjoying themselves at the little lake. As he crawled up the ant hill, a little puff of dust arose from the ant hill in the direction of the lake and the mighty herd bolted through the muddy water and disappeared into the bush. In their flight Bvekenya fired a shot at the old bull but a younger one came in between and he heard the thud of the hit . . . .

That night he was tormented with dreams of the mighty tusker he had seen, the following morning he rose early, he had to find and kill the wounded Elephant before it turned rogue and take revenge on innocent tribes people.

They soon found the tracks of the limping and followed it all day, towards evening they found it hiding in the thicket, the Shanganes thumped the tree trunks and flushed the young Elephant, he hobbled out into the clearing and Bvekenya dropped him mercifully with a single shot. Barnard felt his heart shrink at the sight at the young Elephant a forty pounder, he was really sorry as it had not yet reached its prime.

Back at camp Njalabane told Bvekenya that each year during December the herd gathered in that area, they would not feed much but would mill around and wash in the little lake seeming to have great fun with a lot of stomach rumbling and trumpeting.

The adolescent Elephants would then be separated from the adults. In several groups, each group would be escorted by an old cow, very wise in the ways of the bush and be led off along the dusty tracks indicating to the followers where the waterholes, game paths and best feeding places were. This was according to Njalabane the equivalence of the Shanganes circumcision of the boys and the puberty school of the girls.

While the young Elephants were away in January, that month of the each year depending on the rains, there would be some fighting among the bulls. The younger lesser bulls would be driven off by the bigger bulls. The winners would select their mates and after hours of affectionate trunk twisting and caressing and washing each other in the little lake and blowing dust over one another, they would ensure their survival.

The old cows returned mid to end February to the big herd while the bulls left the cows and they again would go happily along doing the things Elephants do, with the bulls living in small bachelor groups.

Bvekenya often experienced that when an Elephant had been shot and the carcass left overnight, the herd would return and try and resurrect the fallen one, sometimes even dragging it along for some distance.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:29 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 7.

One morning Njalabane told the Bwana that they should leave as it seems as if the Rain God has walked through the bush, he had seen the distant lightning and soon the dry land would turn green and the herds would return and get fat and shiny, if the Bwana wanted to learn about them they should go.

They trekked up to the Lindi River along its southern banks to the Hippo pools of Tshipinda just below where the Tshngwesi tributary flows into the main stream of the Lindi. The rains had fallen and the country was refreshed along the narrow river belt.. At night the Klipspringer and Bushbuck whistled and barked while the Hippos grunted in the pools or in the reeds.

The whole countryside was alive with game animals; Tsessebe, Waterbuck, Sable, Roan, wherever they looked. Ostriches, Warthogs and Buffalo were gathered in great numbers, just as Njalabane had predicted. They chatted a lot while trekking through the African wonderland, Bvekenya listening and learning. They saw Giraffe and found a Rhino trail and even the places where it scattered dung. Njalabane explained to him the difference between the Malembu Futsu and the Malembu Mukhombe the first eating twigs and the second eating grass with its wide mouth.

Bvekenya saw the different Malembus bit did not regard them of much value for all they had was an armour plated hide and a horn made from compressed hair . . . . They were hardly worth wasting a cartridge.

Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs and Hyaenas were seen among the large herds on the plains. Small groups of younger Elephants each led by an old cow, were also seen.

Bvekenya’s guns remained silent as they trekked. He learnt about the likes and dislikes of the Elephants, the grasses and leaves and berries they preferred. He was shown the Marulas and was told that th Elephant loved them and when they were overripe the Elephant would eat them in large quantities and go home singing . . . . . . He was told that the Elephants avoid the black-berried Sheshonge bush, one branch placed in an Elephants-path and the beast would deviate.

They rested in the afternoon, next to the dry river bed with the water flowing or buried under the sand. From the shadows they watched the game come down to drink from the few little pools, or dig in the sand. The watched the Impala come down with the attendant Oxpeckers hanging on lovingly ridding it of ticks and other parasites.

The adult Elephants would rest in the shade and then move down with fanning ears, leaving the little ones hidden in the thicket. After trampling the surrounding sand firm to avoid it from caving in, they would dig a well, sometimes eight feet deep and then stick their trunks in and draw the cool clear precious water from it.

Bvekenya was told about the cruelty of Hlolwa the Wild dog Lions, Leopards and Cheetah would kill their prey as brave men do, but Hlolwa is afraid, he does not kill when prey stands and faces him with courage. A Lion would take a chance and fight it out, even with a Buffalo. But Hlolwa he would seek out some antelope like the doe heavy with calf or lamb, even a tiny Duiker or some frightened fawn and then he would be in his element!

He loves to chase his quarry and tear it to pieces and eat it while often still alive while piping twitter of excitement and wagging its bushy tail. Should one be injured during the chase and blood is dropped, the others would pounce upon it and devour it. These cowards are hated and have no place, they should be killed.
This is Njalabane speaking not gmlsmit.

Bvekenya watched a pack of Wild dogs on the hunt and found it quite remarkable, despite Njalabane’s hatred for them. But when he saw them catch and devour their prey he was enraged, took his gun and promptly shot a few.

One morning Bvekenya had to shoot for the pot and went after Nyari, he found a medium sized herd the thick reeds drinking from a small pool which was surrounded by tall isolated boulders. When they scented him the herd scattered, the rush of thundering hoofs filled the air. Bvekenya ran onto a large boulder , selected a large bull nosing in the reeds, trying to find the intruder, the hunter shouted and Nyari turned and faced to where the sound came from. By now he was downwind from his adversary and got a whiff of him and charged the hunter waited for the bull to come into range, aimed picked his shot and fired. Nyari leaped into the air and bellowed when the bullet struck, he tore through the reeds and the bull hit the boulder with a thud, he drew back, tossed its head to collect his battered wits and once more battered the boulder with the hunter on top. The bull slid down and Bvekenya stared down into his dark eyes. It then keeled over and died . . . . . . Bvekenya had just shot his first Buffalo.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:12 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 8.

Bvekenya did most of his hunting in the area where he enjoyed it most; along the Chefu River a great haven for a lonely hunter and a place with a never ending supply of bull Elephants, between the Great Save and the Great Limpopo Rivers he spent his great life.

He lived from the land, venison was available as required, water could be drawn from the river, berries and roots could be picked or dug up and seeds could be roasted and ground for coffee.

Here he could in his spare time he could cure hides and make whips and sjamboks and dry the meat and turn it into delicious biltong.

A Giraffe would yield 100 wagon whips, a big Sable 25. The hides of Buffalo made excellent boots and that of a hippo, excellent sjamboks.

Here at the Chefu camp the worked and relaxed, they swam in the pools.

One night they were awakened by a terrible thumping clanking noise, the Shanganes said it was the ghost of Mazimbe who was angry and came to drive them away; they scurried up into the highest tree available almost weeping with fear.

The thumping went on for hours, stopping for short intervals.

The following morning on examining the camp they found one of the containers in which they kept fat was missing and all around the camp . . . . . . . tracks of a Hyaena.

They followed the tracks and slowly Bvekenya started assembling a picture of what had happened. The Hyaena found the fat container and started eating the fat, its head got stuck and could not remove it, it got anxious and started running around; bumping into anything and everything that was in its way. They eventually found the container wedged into the fork of a tree where the animal just by luck got caught up and was then able to extricate himself after, judging by the markings on the ground, a mighty tug of war. The footprints indicated that the freed animal took of like a flash.

Lions often visited the camp, scaring the life out of the donkeys and old Yappy.

Here he also learnt many of the ways of the Shangane people, they skilfully spun cotton, harvest3ed from the wild cotton bushes, the carved head rests from soft wood, iron was beaten into spears, in the earlier years the metal was obtained from far away mines in the Transvaal. Now the migrant labourers brought pieces of tools with them which was converted into whatever they could.

Guns were priceless possessions to them, no matter how old or how crude, they often made their own using pipes and rough timber, ammunition was no problem as pebbles, and hard pips were readily available,, gunpowder was smuggled by returning migrant workers, obtained from the explosives used in the mines. These home made guns were quite lethal, to either the animal or the hunter.

The Shanganes lived off the land, palms supplied leaves for their huts, venison was in ready supply either being shot or trapped, there were plenty of plants providing juice that they could ferment into some lethal alcoholic concoction, the Lala palm was a great favourite. I often wondered at the origin of this name, lala meaning sleep in some black languages.

Elephants also enjoyed the sap being tapped from the trees into the calabashes, they often raided the calabashes hanging from the tree being tapped, one can only speculate about the effect it had on the animals as they seemed to enjoy what they were doing and were also becoming noisier as they went on raiding the calabashes.

Every possible reason for having wine or beer drinking festivities were utilised until the supply ran out, should the participants run out before the supply the party would continue as they recovered.

A drummer would be summoned and he would then activate the bush telegraph inviting people to the occasion.

The bush telegraph would send out many different messages of either feast or famine or that the police or tax collectors were on their way . . . . . .

Bvekenya also learnt much about the witch doctors and their ways, how they would cast spells upon someone, how they would call the rain, how they would cure disease using herbs, roots, animal parts or whatever their forefathers had told them.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:14 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 9.

The early part of his hunting career was during the time of drought. And game was then concentrated in the areas where it had rained a little and where there then was water.

The habits of the animals and the signs of the veld were changing and Bvekenya realised that the rains were on their way.

Bvekenya was running low on supplies and decided to return to the Maluleke and replenish. He set off with a few Shanganes, his donkeys and Yappy the faithful scared mule.

They bought what he needed and set off back the Chefu.

Bvekenya and two of his hunters went ahead of the rest of the group and the first night, out they camped in the bed of the dry Limpopo, while they were preparing their meal one of the Shanganes looked up and shouted – a wall of water was approaching along the dusty dry parched river bed.

The party grabbed as much as they could and clambered up the river bank, looking back they saw the river sweeping around their little camp of a few minutes ago and then over the little fire they left behind . . . . . The watched the water rushing past.

It was getting dark and they found another suitable spot and pitched camp. The following morning they saw that they were now on an island isolated and only with a few bare essentials everything else was gone – washed away by the flood.

They were stranded on their island huddling under a piece of canvass, and it rained for two days. A few days later Yappy was grazing on the water’s edge, and another wall of water came down and washed him away.

The hunters survived on Cane rats, roots, boiled leaves, frogs and whatever they could find for the twenty seven days, they were marooned on the island, the water was very muddy; fortunately Bvekenya found a bit of alum amongst his salvaged belongings and added a bit to the boiled water which then would within a few minutes settle the mud in the bottom of the container and they could drink.

Bvekenya measured the speed of the flowing river by throwing a piece of wood into the water and then running alongside it, it was flowing at one hundred yards a minute. The river was 300 paces wide and about twelve feet deep. As part of his daily past time he used to collect water from the muddy river, boil it in a paraffin tin and then let it settle after adding the alum, he estimated the mass of the settled silt and calculated that there was no less than 14 pounds of silt, per cubic yard of water.

The floods brought down tons of debris, enormous trees would be washed down, with trees and bushes, many little animals were often clinging to the branches; including snakes.

After three weeks a third wave brought down masses of palm leaves and reeds which were deposited on their island, Bvekenya decided that they should build a raft . . . . . and leave their island.

The raft was built and the piece of canvas mentioned earlier as a sail and off they went, taking with them what was left of what they had salvaged the first day of the flooding. The only real loss apart from the lost provisions was Yapie.

Yapie was found a while later on and island living the life of a very happy mule, lots of grazing, lots of water, no dangerous animals and nothing or nobody to carry . . . . .

Now the Great Mother was recovering and everything was growing and turning green and flowering, the dust was gone, the birds had returned and with them the animals, any kind you could imagine . . . . . The air was smelling of her wonderful perfume.

The fish were migrating upstream to spawn and multiply and the Crocodiles and Otters also had their share.

The birds were building their nests and the males were trying their best to impress the females, displaying their colours and acrobatics and singing their cheerful songs, everything was vibrant. The riverbanks were riddled with little caves made by the Bee Eaters, the Kingfishers were darting and diving and calling.

The tracks of Impala and Nyala, of Lions, Leopards, Jackals and Hyaena, of Elephants were leading down to the water where Hippos were grumbling and snorting and Crocodiles sunbathing and a Python or two were hiding below the surface awaiting some unfortunate thirsty prey.

The forests of Southern Africa which had endured so much were now rewarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:57 pm 
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Fascinating indeed !

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:24 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 10.

The First World War came and went and by now Bvekenya was an experienced hunter and a fine marksman.

He preferred a side on shot behind the ear; a head on shot was only used at a charging Elephant, a retreating Elephant was shot in the spine.

During a visit to Crookes’ Corner in 1918, Bvekenya was arrested by two Rhodesian policemen and taken to Fort Victoria on a two week trek through the bush, where he was put in jail. They had sufficient possible charges but finding witnesses was difficult as all possible witnesses mostly previous beneficiaries of his hunting just gave the enquiring policemen a blank stare when questioned about Bvekenya’ s hunting.

Eventually he was granted bail of one hundred pounds, he had no money with him, a trader friend lent him the money and Bvekenya was released awaiting trial. Eventually two Shanganes were coaxed into swearing that they had seen Bvekenya shoot a Hippo. He was charged and fined five pounds, which he also borrowed from the trader. The trader also lent him enough money to by a 9.7 rifle from one of the policemen and he set off home. On his way he shot seven Elephant and recruited several Rhodesian tribesmen to be employed at the Witwatersrand mines, as compensation for his troubles.

After his arrest he went to visit his family at Geysdorp, he had not seen any of his family for fourteen years, arriving there he found that his sister Trixie of whom he was quite fond of had just been buried. His brother in law was in an unhappy state; Bvekenya bought the farm Vlakplaas from his brother in law and arranged for his father to settle there and care for the farm until he eventually returned.

During this visit, Bvekenya paid a visit to the Police Commissioner to find out what crimes they had against him, he was assured that there weren’t any, there were many investigations in the past but they had all grown stale. He had a reputation but was assured that he could not be arrested for that. He seemed to be on the wanted list more by the Portuguese authorities but not here.

Bvekenya then returned to his old haunts as labour recruiter and obviously Elephant hunter.

On his way back he thought of what had upset the Portuguese most was once he came upon a group of Shanganes on their way to traders and was told that they had been sent by their masters – the Portuguese police to purchase some provisions, he read through the list offered and came across an item Olive oil, he erased the Olive and replaced it with Castor, obviously with the intended effect, no wonder they wanted to get him.

He once wrote a letter to the Rhodesian authorities proposing that a certain area be set aside as a reserve to protect wild animals and where tourists could visit and have outdoors experience. This was rejected summarily as madness!

Times went by and eventually Bvekenya settled on a .303 rifle as his favourite as it made a sharp crack when fired, not unlike the sound of a tree being felled by an Elephant, the crack did not scare them off that much.

Things were also changing in the Sabi Game Reserve, Rangers and field staff was appointed and the poachers were finding it increasingly more difficult, smuggling their booty to the traders.

Bvekenya realised that his days of living alone in the bush were getting less as his years were also adding up rapidly and he was getting tired of following an Elephant for days, hen often not getting it.

He always made a point of it that a wounded Elephant had to be followed and found and killed.

Bvekenya is quoted as saying that he had no illusions about himself or his fellows in the bush.

From the very beginning mankind has been a parasite on the sunburned back of Africa. The Negro and Bantu killed everything on sight, whether it was an animal or Lizard. The Dutch Voortrekkers and the host of British gold diggers and hunters passed over the country like a swarm of locusts: shooting, cutting down trees and destroying. Of them all, not a single race group ever tried to understand or love Africa for herself. Instead they were a curse to a land most generously endowed by Providence with a rich inheritance of animal life, timber, wild fruits and vegetables.

Settlers had come and lavish skill, energy and fortune in cutting down natural timber and remarkable indigenous fruits which the viewed as weeds. Instead the planted imported trees and plants, and grazed exotic animals in place of the fat antelope they slaughtered with wanton stupidity. Then they cursed Africa and spent a fortune on scientific research, to find out why its peculiar environment had produced so many pests and ailments to destroy their exotic stock and crops.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:27 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 11.

The year 1929 started off well for Bvekenya, the hunting was good and Elephants were plentiful, especially south of the Limpopo in Portuguese East Africa, where they seemed to favour the Nyanda bush.

Late one afternoon he found an Elephant track – with four toes – one more than usual.

He followed the track and at sunset he found the fair sized bull. He got in one shot but the animal escaped. Bvekenya camped until dawn and set off after the wounded bull. Four toes lead the hunter on a weary chase; eventually the irritated animal turned at bay in a clump of bush and laid in ambush. The weary Bvekenya soon woke up when the Elephant charged him with a scream of rage, leaving behind him the normal path of destruction. The hunter jumped aside and put two well aimed shots into the passing beast – it collapsed in a shower of leaves and dust. It was a forty five pounder both sides, Bvekenya cut of the one, four toed foot as a souvenir.

He was in the area between the confluence of the Limpopo and the Balule (now Olifants), when the Shanganes told him about three Elephants grazing along a small little stream, two large bulls and a smaller one.

He shot the smaller one, the three set off, and Bvekenya followed, for a moment he saw the one, enormous bull his heart pounded - Ndlulamithi he was sure it was him, the ultimate. The smaller one trumpeted wildly and collapsed - dead,

Bvekenya rushed to his horse Baba and set off after the fleeing Elephants, he raced to within fifty paces from his quarry and then shouted at the Elephants, the wheeled and NDLULAMITHI put his trunk between his legs and came straight at the mounted hunter.

Baba turned and fled like the wind, The bush suddenly dwindled and they were out in the open, on the dried out bottom of a little lake, Baba put her feet into of the cracks between the huge dried pieces, slowing her down, Bvekenya glanced back and saw the Elephant still coming he felt the breath of death of the trumpeting NDLULAMITHI behind him, gaining on every pace.

They fled through the dried lake and raced up the edge, Baba crossed a donga, NDLULAMITHI swerved and went in a different direction, his rage seemingly burnt out.. Bvekenya knew that he would now flee for a long long distance.

Bvekenya was determined to get NDLULAMITHI. They followed the trail day after day, examining and interpreting every little detail. The size of the track is an indication of the height of the Elephant.

Day after day they followed the tracks northwards, at night time they slept in crude camps, living of whatever they found to eat. Both Bvekenya and Maribitane were growing weary; one evening at Bvekenya would give much to shoot it. The reply was that he Bvekenya was like a man that had everything and yet dies for the want of the stars and the moon, you Bvekenya had shot your 300 Elephants, you said you would be content with that and now . . . . .

The next afternoon they found the Elephants, in a small valley of Mopani trees. The Elephants were unaware of them. He lifted his rifle and fired and hit the smaller of the two. Both Elephants wheeled and ran into the bush. Then silence. Bvekenya scrambled up a big Mopani tree and searched the countryside, then he saw the two, one following the other coming very fast towards his tree, trunks up and sniffing.. He was ten feet up and caught hold of a branch higher up, while he pulled himself up the branch on which he was sitting, broke off as the leading Elephant brushed against it.

Bvekenya lifted himself higher, looking up he peered into the eyes of death- two Green Mambas were coiled up lovingly in the bough. Bvekenya let go and dropped down through the leaves, landing on the hindquarters of NDLULAMITHI his gun sliding off on the one side and him to the other. He landed on his feet and ran for his life, while the Elephants rushed off into the thickets.

Maribitane enquired about his rapid exit from the tree and when told the reason remarked that Bvekenya’s time in the bush were drawing towards an end.

He got his rifle and they started following the trail. Five miles further they came across the smaller animal. It was walking sideways and was tossing sand into the air and sniffing to find out in which direction the wind was blowing.

Bvekenya crept up and shot, it dropped with a sigh. NDLULAMITHI was nowhere to be seen.

That evening they feasted on the Elephant meat and Maribitane reminded Bvekenya that he had wives and children to care for, would he Bvekenya hunt until he dies. Bvekenya had a restless night dreaming of Mambas, guns and charging Elephants.

The following morning early the other two Shanganes arrived with the donkeys, they had been following the hunters’ trail, cutting out the tusks of the hunted Elephants on their way.

For two more days they tracked down them covered in dust and grime and their clothes torn to shreds. Then there he was at last NDLULAMITHI, wearily standing in the shade of a Mthombothi tree. Bvekenya studied him in silence and then stalked the Elephant slowly and skilfully.

He found his range and moved into position for his favourite shot – from the side – behind the ear. The Elephant seemed tired and was not aware of the hunter’s presence. Bvekenya heard Maribitane breathing jerkily beside him, waiting for the kill. The hunter lifted hid rifle, he took careful aim at the most deadly mark of all.

He saw the eyes in the weather beaten face, he saw the wrinkled skin, he saw the tremors of the body, he saw the ragged scars in the waving ears, he saw te Elephant in its own strength and wisdom, its savagery, its patience and courage, he saw AFRICA and he realised that he loved it. . . . . . He slowly dropped his rifle and whispered – “let him live “to the wondering Maribitane.

He said “I have had my day, I must also grow taller than the trees, otherwise I will die in the bush and become an outcast from my own kind. I have killed enough. He will live on in the bush. His cows will give him fine sons with great tusks who will make up for those I have slaughtered.”

He went his way. To each of his hunters who had become his tutors and his friends and dependants, he gave money and cattle to keep them for life.

He then went westwards to Crooke’s Corner for the last time. He washed off the dust and the Wilderness in the Great Limpopo River, and left for [i]Vlakplaas[/i to start a new life.

It was November 1929.

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Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:41 pm 
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S. C. R. Barnard Part 12.

Today there are more Elephants in that wilderness than in Bvekenya’s time. The mighty forests live and the mighty rivers find their way to the far off oceans. The Shanganes may still remember and talk about Bvekenya, his ways and his deeds and his kindness, they may still hope for his return and that his spirit may wander off with that of NDLULAMITHI the one he loved and of who he whispered to the wondering Maribitane. – “let him live. “

This about Bvekenya came from much other reading as well as from the " The Ivory Trail " by the famed author T.V.Bulpin.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Joao Albasini.. Part 1

No history of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK will be complete without mentioning Joao Albasini.

Joao Albasini was born in Lisbon in 1813 from the parents Antonio Augusto Albasini and Maria da Purificacao. Antonio was of Italian decent a farmer who left his land of birth in 1807 for religious reasons to become the Captain of a vessel sailing under Portuguese flag and an ivory trader. Maria was of Spanish origin. Their son was only Portuguese as it was his land of birth.

Joao was well educated and lived in Lisbon with his parents, his brother and his sister until the age of seventeen. The excitement of being a trader on the East African Coast got the better of him and off he went with his father en route to Bahia in Brazil and then to Lourenco Marques ( now Maputo ) where he started a trading store. His father spent some time, teaching him the trade and then returned to Lisbon. Joao never again saw either of his parents or his brother or sister.

A map dated 1876 indicates a portion of the beach of Lourenco Marques as Albasini Beach.

Life in the distant colonies was tough; malaria was the main killer of white people.

Joao was well bred and of solid substance, he was determined to make a success of his chosen lifestyle. He sent vendors into the inland to sell off his goods being cloth, mirrors, beads, knives, flint and other paraphernalia. These vendors then returned with loads of ivory, which in turn was traded with the visiting vessels for guns, ammunition and other goods he required for trading with the locals and those living further inland.

Unfortunately the marauding Impi of Sochangana a Zulu refugee from King Shaka, who had been on the rampage, slaughtering many of the small peaceful Tsonga speaking tribes in Portuguese East Africa reached Lourenco Marques and attacked the white settlers.. The settlers fled to the close by island; Shefina, under the leadership of Captain Ribeiro.

After the fort in Lourenco Marques had been ransacked, the Impi attacked the refugees on Shefina and took them prisoner; they were brought back to the main land. Where Albasini eventually was the only survivor after the other prisoners had been murdered by knocking wooden pegs through their bodies and then anchoring them to the ground.


Joao Albasini escaped with the assistance of some other black traders who recognised him; they spent a few nights in the bush and then set of for Lourenco Marques, arriving there, he found that a new Governor was already in office with sufficient reinforcements.

As Joao had, nothing left to his name. He left Lourenco Marques in 1836 to start a new life resettling in the Ntimane district. This was during a period of extreme drought and the land lost many humans and animals due to starvation during this period.

Joao started hunting Elephants, keeping the ivory and supplying the meat to the starving population, who had recently been plundered by the Manukosi gang. This was seen as gesture of goodwill by the locals and they flocked to Albasini for protection and sustenance in exchange for their labour. Albasini selected of them and they were then trained up as hunters whom he then sent out to collect ivory, rhino horn and hides, which he then in turn used as trade goods.

Joao’s hunters were well trained and they were well respected and avoided by the marauding gangs of the earlier mentioned, Manukosi, Sochangana, and others.

His popularity increased and he was soon regarded as Chief of his followers, the Gwamba people, he was called Juwawa. Juwawa was treated as the Chief as his followers ploughed his lands, brought him the first yield of their crops carried his goods and he was required to solve their disputes.

It is likely that Karel Trichardt made contact with the resourceful Joao Albasini while exploring the East Coast, during 1838. Karel Trichardt appointed Antonio Nobre as his representative in Lourenco Marques while Albasini appointed the Governor as his representative inn the colony, both signing as witnesses for the other, indicating that they were well known to one another.

Albasini and a few others formed a Company whose objective it was to increase the ivory trade; he left Lourenco Marques during January 1842 for the greener pastures calling from within the interior of Southern Africa.

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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:43 pm 
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Joao Albasini .. Part 2

Albasini met the expedition of Commandant Hendrik Potgieter on their way from Andries-Ohrigstad, to Lourenco Marques, and supplied guides to accompany them. The aim was to start a settlement for the group, closer to Delagoa Bay.

During his inland trek, Albasini exchanged 22 head of cattle with the Kutswe Chief, Magushula, for a piece of land along the Sabi River for establishing a trading post between Delagoa Bay and Sekhukuneland he called this post Magushula’ s Kraal. The trading post was started by both Albasini and Karel Trichardt. Bricks were burnt from clay obtained close by; water was obtained from the Phabeni Spruit. Fruit and vegetable gardens were laid on. Maize was grown and life at this post must have been quite comfortable here where today the restored remains near the Phabeni gate are worth a visit.

Johannes Joubert would run the Magushula’s Kraal trading post successfully to the benefit of himself and the two partners.

Later Albasini also built a trading post along the Voortrekker Road, which was on the route between Delagoa Bay and the inland, close to Manungkop, named after Manung one of Albasini’ s assistants who was a hunter and cattle herder.

Another of Albasini’ s assistants was Josekhulu whose name is carried by a little spruit close to Skipberg this little post 24 km from Manungkop was later used by the trader Thomas Hart.

Albasini operated a good trading business transporting his goods from Delagoa Bay to the inland via the Great Lebombo Mountains to Magushula’s Kraal along the Sabi River, to the west of Graskop along the Treur River across the Blyde River to Ohrigstad.

The grave of Willem Pretorius, who en route to Delagoa Bay got malaria, can still today be seen next to the road near the present Pretoriuskop Restcamp where he was buried by Joao Albasini in 1845.

Albasini occupied the Magushula’s Kraal trading post for two years and then due to changing circumstances left and moved further inland and built another post near Ohrigstad where he purchased the farm Rustplaas neighbouring Rozenkrantz belonging to Karel Trichardt.

Here at Ohrigstad Albasini met the daughter of Lukas Janse van Rensburg and found her very attractive, he proposed to marry her, Albasini being a Roman Catholic caused protests from the parents but all in vain, on 6 March 1850, the 18-year-old Gertina Petronella Maria Janse van Rensburg became the wife of the 36-year-old Joao Albasini. This marriage was blessed with six daughters and three sons.

It was soon realised that Lydenburg would be a better-positioned settlement; the inhabitants of Ohrigstad started moving into the new area in 1850. The Albasini family also moved and again started a trading store – in Lydenburg.

The trading business in Lydenburg was not that good, as many inhabitants moved to Soutpansbergdorp, later named Schoemansdal. The Albasini family moved to Soutpansbergdorp in 1853, again starting a shop, doing business with the local Boers and the Magwamba people, obtaining good quality goods from Lourenco Marques became difficult and Joao then decided to, move to the farm Goedewensch in 1857.

Goedewensch was soon a prospering enterprise and with hard work and all the labour and other resources available, developed into the masterpiece of the district. A large brick house was built with a high surrounding protecting wall with heavy wooden doors, which were locked at night and guarded by two guards. Water was laid on. A coffee plantation was established, surrounded by high growing Banana trees as protection, fruit trees were planted.

Here at Goedewensch, Van Nispen brought from Potchefstroom, educated the children; the farm was regularly visited by all and sundry. It was also here that Joao Albasini reigned as the Portuguese vice Consular in the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek after his appointment by the Governor of Mozambique.

This appointment necessitated a postal service between Goedewensch and Lourenco Marques, which operated once per month by means of a Portuguese soldier fetching and delivering...

Official functions were attended by an elaborately dressed vice consular in navy and dark blue, black, gold and white, a sword in a well decorated adding to his dignity. His appearance was not very unlike that of a Portuguese Admiral.

Here at the vice consulate the Portuguese flag was flown on National holidays and the Royal Emblem of Portugal was emblazoned over the main entrance to the homestead. Albasini was not financially rewarded, for his duties; instead, it must have cost him a considerable amount employing a full time secretary, entertaining visitors and accommodating the mail carrier once per month for a week.

Albasini was a proud Portuguese and always did his best to promote his country of birth wherever and whenever the opportunity arose.

He estimated that between 70 000 and 80 000 kg of ivory worth about one hundred and twenty thousand pounds was exported annually to the British colonies, and proposed that a railroad be built between the ZAR and Lourenco Marques, unfortunately the ZAR could not due to internal problems be of no assistance.

Albasini was also appointed the official tax collector for the district, he had to collect the imposed taxes and then regularly report and pay over the collected cash as well as that generated at the auctioning of, the collected cattle and goats and sheep and copper ingots, while the collected ivory was handed over to the Government. In this way, Joao Albasini contributed quite a lot to the meagre income of the Government of the ZAR.

After the death of Venda Chief Ramapulana, his two sons Makhado and Davhana started a war, the last named fled and was placed under the guardianship of Albasini, at the same time Umzila, succeeded his father Manukosi, and claimed the expulsion of the refugee Monene, threatening to stop all Elephant hunting by the Boers. This soon extended into a war between the Boers living in the area and the Makhado and Umzila followers. Of the refugees congregated at Goedewensch after the attack on the Venda failed, while others left the area and moved to Marabastad.

The refugees at Goedewensch soon ran out of supplies and hardships set in.

Soon after all of this the locals submitted a petition to the Government, requesting that he be relieved of all his authority and duties due to his laxness in assisting them in their efforts to “ create peace and stability “ in the area.

Albasini was relieved of his duties and Stephanus Schoeman was appointed in his place. One of his responsibilities was to attack the Venda with the assistance of Umzila; this was a failure as the Magwamba people, were loyal to Albasini, leading to clashes between Albasini and Schoeman.

Schoeman reported Albasini to his superiors, who then summoned the last named to Pretoria to answer to the charges, the Executive Committee found the charges to not be substantial and Albasini returned to his farm.

Commandant- General Paul Kruger was sent to the Soutpansberg at the end of 1869 to restore peace; he succeeded in doing so with most of the Chiefs, the exceptions being Katse Katse and Makhado.

Albasini had ambitions of extending the Portuguese colony inland and proposed that the area of Magushula’s Kraal, which he exchanged from the chief, be colonised after donating the land to the Portuguese authorities. and named the area “ Sao Luiz “ in honour of the Portuguese king this was accepted by the Portuguese Governor and Albasini was appointed the principal of the new added area.. Proposals to add Soutpansberg and Lydenburg to Portuguese east Africa were submitted but were opposed by Albasini as he feared that this would ruin the good relationship between the two Governments.

It was later determined that Magushula’s Kraal was outside the Portuguese borders and inside the ZAR resulting in the extended colony ( Joaoa Albasini's dream ) never materialized.

By now Albasini had lost most his wealth and prosperity, the war between the Boers and the Venda ruined him. The Albasinis moved to the Kimberley diamond fields during 1875 where he recruited labour for the Cape Government and for the diggings. This was not successful and the impoverished family returned to the Soutpansberg in 1877.

Here he served the ZAR Government as Justice of the peace, and as Native Commissioner and also as member of the District Council, earning a meagre wage.

Joao Albasini survived a first stroke from which he totally recovered and again seemed to reign at Goedewensch and things again started to prosper, unfortunately, he had a second stroke and after being bedridden for more than a year, he died on 10 July 1888. He was buried on his farm Goedewensch, just below the wall of the . . . . . . . Albasini Dam.

Joao Albasini together with Louis Trichardt, Andries Hendrik Potgieter, Hans van Rensburg, Piet Potgieter and Stephanus Schoeman will be remembered as being of the first Europeans in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK as well as the eastern Lowveld.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Early History of the KNP Area
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:15 pm
Posts: 838
Location: Kyalami, South Africa.
gmlsmit - again really enjoyed your writings.

Even had to return to KNP to read them!!! Travelling down the Trichardt Road in an air-conditioned, power steered, 4x4 on a recently graded sand road, I said to my daughter "Imagine doing this across virgin territory in an ox wagon at the pace oxen walk". It really makes you admire those folk.

My husband and I had the pleasure of joining Cecil Barnard's son, Izak, on an over-land, camping trip to Moremi and Okavango in 1984. He was a fascinating and interesting man. Unfortunately we didn't get to ask him much about his father's exploits.

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