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The Lost City of the Kalahari.

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Fri May 28, 2010 12:13 pm Unread post
Thanks for this very interesting report on the history of the Kgalagadi area.

I remember that, growing up in Namibia (South West Africa in those days), a few articles appeared from time to time in the local papers about expeditions into the Kalahari to try and find the lost city of the Kalahari. There are also other references to other ‘lost cities’ of the Kalahari, especially that of Dr Dierks.

I also notice that, according to the map by Farini, they stuck mainly to the Bechuanaland (Botswana side) of the Kalahari. The following is not directly linked to Farini's trip, but more information on what happenedin the area in the years after his travels.

Image

Photo of Swartmodder with the wall built in those years to keep out the animals.

There are also three references to 'Zwartmodder' on Farini's map and in one reference in the story. During the 1880's to 1906 this area had a very rich, but also violent history. This was when Hendrik Witbooi (image of him on current Namibian Dollar notes) and his family moved from Pella in the Northen Cape to Namibia and the Gibeon area and a few white settlers also settled in this area next to the Auob river (currently Stampriet).

In October 1904, Izak Wibooi, Hendik's brother was the initiator of a campaign to rid the area of all Afrikaans and German speaking white men. On 10 October 1904 Izak witbooi was in charge of a party who murdered all the male members on the farm Zwartmodder, except for Dirkie Smit who was 2 years at that stage and was dressed in a gown and the Nama soldiers thought that he was a girl. Another boy of about twelve also survived for a few days. He was wounded and when shot fell to the ground unconscious. When they piled up the bodies he came by and was spared. Apparently he died later of his wounds. The body of the owner of the farm, Hendrik Smit was left where he was gunned down next to the swartmodder fountain. All the women was put on ox wagons and taken to were taken to Rietfontein and returned to Cape Town. They later returned to Swartmodder to bury their loved ones. You will see in the photos that all but Hendrik Smit was buried in the same grave as their remains still were in one pile.

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Graves of Hendrk Smit and the other males of Swartmodder
Image
Dirkie Smit, the sole male survivor of the massacre

Hendrik Witbooi was killed in the following military campaign between the Namas and the German forces in October 1905 at Vaalgras near Koichas. After his death the German military forced most of the Namas who refused to surrender from Namibia into Bechuanaland in the Kgalagadi area.
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Re: The Lost City of the Kalahari.

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Fri May 28, 2010 12:23 pm Unread post
Hi afri-explore,
Why all this hatred? Wasn't Izak Wibooi afrikaans speaking too (the name sounds like it)?
Or was there some kind of economical interest?


Re: The Lost City of the Kalahari.

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Sun May 30, 2010 6:39 pm Unread post
Micetta wrote
Why all this hatred? Wasn't Izak Wibooi afrikaans speaking too (the name sounds like it)? Or was there some kind of economical interest?


Micetta,
The Witboois and Jonker Afrikaner and others were a mix of ex-Cape origin. That means Nama, Griqua etc. Hendrik Witbooi fought many battles against German occupation and history tells us that especially Hendrik Smit of Swartmodder was a friend of Hendrik Witbooi. He was actually warned by Hendrik Witbooi to move out and at the day of the murder the wagons were packed and ready to go. Unfortunately Izak was less forgiving. The Namas thought the white Afrikaans speaking settlers to be siding with the Germans. Remember that this was just after the Anglo-Boer war in South Africa and the Afrikaans and English speaking white settlers were not on the best footing. Hendrik Witbooi also tried to get the attention of the British to try and oust the Germans.

The only reason I posted this on this thread was the reference to Swartmodder on Farini's map and the fact that the current Kgalagadi area saw some of the skirmishes between the Namas and the Germans as they were driven out of Namibia. A lot of Nama men, women and children died of thirst during these years. The current Kgalagadi has numerous waterholes fed by pumps that dried up in the dry season in those years.

If you want more information you have to look for the writings of Gustav Preller on this arid Kalahari area. My family farmed in Namibia higher up on the Nossob river.


Last edited by afri-explore on Mon May 31, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: The Lost City of the Kalahari.

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Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:27 pm Unread post
Livingstone was the first (documented) white explorer to see Lake Ngami in 1847. In 1950 is was totally overgrown, in 1966 it dried up completely.

Now it is very dificult to see much of it in any case. After a long trek we managed to walk up to the muddy shores.

This is the best I could do:

Image


Re: The Lost City of the Kalahari.

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Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:31 am Unread post
:clap: :clap: Smittie. :thumbs_up:
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