1902 Encyclopedia > Kaffraria, Kaffres

Kaffraria, Kaffres

KAFFRARIA, KAFFRES. The name Kaffraria or Kaffreland properly means the country of the Kaffres, and in this sense would embrace the whole region extend-ing from the river Keiskamma to Delagoa Bay, including at least British Kaffraria and Kaffraria Proper, Natal, Zululand, the Transvaal, and the Orange River Free State. The term, however, has usually been confined to the districts popularly known as British Kaffraria and Kaffraria Proper. Neither term is now used officially. British Kaffraria was incorporated with Cape Colony in 1866, and now forms the two official districts of King William’s Town and East London; Kaffraria Proper is now known officially as the Transkeian Territories, or simply the Transkei. But, as the two designations are still in popular use, and as they are in several respects con-venient, it will be useful here to give some account of the geography and the more important events in the history of the two districts under the general heading.

The physical characteristics of the two Kaffrarias bear a general resemblance to those of the Cape Colony, of which they are the north-east continuation. The country generally rises from the sea-level in a series of terraces to the lofty mountains forming the north-west boundary. British Kaffraria culminates in the Amatola mountains, rising in one part to upwards of 6000 feet. The features of Kaffraria Proper are much more varied, and exhibit some of the most picturesque scenery in South Africa. The rugged range of the Drakenberg forms its north-west boundary, rising at its north-eastern point to a height of 9657 feet. Between that range and the coast-lands are many subsidiary ranges with fertile valleys through which the great rivers make their way to the Indian Ocean. The coast region is more broken than is the case farther south. The prevalent rock along the coast of Kaffraria is the Old Sandstone, nonfossiliferous rock, quartzite, in-tersected occasionally with veins of white quartz rock, and often capped with a dense mass of conglomerate; while the interior mountains are classed by Mr Dunn as the Stormberg coal-bearing fossiliferous beds of the Triassic period. Kaffraria is watered by hundreds of rivers, most of them rising at no great distance from the coast, but several of them of large dimensions. The chief, begin-ning at the south, are the Keiskamma, the Buffalo, the Kei, the Bashee, the Umtata, the St John’s or Umzimvubu, with several large tributaries, and the Umtamvuna, which separates British Kaffraria from Natal. The rivers are of little use for navigation.

Kaffraria forms one of the most naturally fertile regions in S. Africa. In British Kaffraria most of the cereals grow, and in the cloofs, and scattered over the country, are, forests and clumps of valuable timber. The Transkei shows even greater possibilities of culture. The moun-tain gorges abound in fine trees; thick forest and bush cover the banks of the rivers; grass grows luxuriantly in the lower regions; and the lowlands and valleys are favourable to almost any kind of fruit, field, and garden cultivation. In the occupied district cattle and sheep are numerous ; lions are still found in the interior, and a fair amount of the game characteristic of the inland districts belonging to the Cape. The climate generally resembles that of the eastern province of Cape Colony, but with features more approaching to those of the tropics. The coast districts are extremely hot in summer, the temper-ature on an average varying from 70º to 90º, while in winter the day temperature is seldom below 50º though the nights are very cold. But the variation in altitude places climates of all grades within easy reach, from the burning coast to the snow-clad mountain. Thunder-storms are frequent in summer ; rain mostly falls in spring and summer, and the winters are generally dry. On the whole the climate may be considered as extremely healthy.

British Kaffraria, on its incorporation with Cape Colony, was divided into King William’s Town and East London, each with a capital of the same name, and forming the two most easterly divisions of the colony. King William’s Town has an area of 1781 square miles, and a total population (1875) of 106,640, of whom 9012 are white; the population of the capital is 5169. The area of East London province is 1225 square miles, and the population 15,514, of whom 3773 are white. Its capital, East London (population, with the contiguous Panmure, 2134), at the mouth of the Buffalo river, is the port for British Kaffraria. The anchorage is exposed, but extensive harbour works are in operation (1881). In 1880, 135 foreign ships arrived of 134,753 tons, and coastwise 152 of 217,174 tons. It is connected by railway with King William’s Town, the line going north-west as far as Queenstown, the capital of the province of that name. The imports of East London amounted in 1880 to £1,152,610, showing an increase of £72,488 over the previous year; and the exports to £303,991, being an increase over 1879 of £38,369. Sheep and goat rearing is extensively carried on; there are also large numbers of cattle. Wheat, maize, and millet are the staple agricultural products. The wool exported from East London in 1880 amounted to 5,253,650 lb. In both divisions are numerous German settlements.

Kaffraria Proper or the Transkeian Territories consist of the territories of various native tribes, most of which have been annexed (1875-80) to the Cape Colony, and are under the jurisdiction of magistrates. The area of Kaffraria Proper is about 18,000 square miles,—its extreme length being about 230 miles, and its breadth from the sea to the mountains bounding it on the north-west averaging about 120 miles. On the south-east it is washed by the Indian Ocean ; the Drakenberg and Stormberg ranges bound it on the north-west; in the west and south-west are the Indwe and Kei rivers, and on the east and north-east the Umzimkulu and Umtamvuna. It is surrounded by Cape Colony, Basutoland, and Natal. The area and population of the various districts can only be given approximately; the following is an official estimate of the present population:— -


Idutwya Reserve………………..18,000

Gealekaland (Kreli’s country)….60,000



Griqualand East………………..100,000




Fingoland, to which (with the Idutwya Reserve and Gealekaland) the name Tanskeian Territory, or the Trans-kei, is often confined, is about 40 miles square, and is the most advanced of the districts ; it is suited both for pasture and for cultivation. According to the latest return it had 4976 horses, 37,298 calves, 182,869 sheep, and 50,240 goats, the total value of its stock being £321,784. The revenue in 1879 was £5047, the expenditure £3286. There are many trading stations, and wool is largely exported. The annual value of the imports and exports is estimated at £150,000. Tambookieland or Tembuland is divided into Tambookieland Proper, the district of the Emigrant Tambookies, and Bomvaniland. The first is about 75 miles long and from 30 to 40 broad. The population is probably about 30,000. There are many trading stations, and large numbers of sheep and cattle. A bill for the annexation of Tambookieland Proper passed the Cape Parliament in 1880. The revenue of the whole of Tambookieland was estimated at £12,500 for 1880. The magistracy is at Umtata on the river of that name. West of Tambookieland and Fingoland is the district of the Emigrant Tambookies, removed some years ago from Tambookieland over the Indwe. It is 85 miles long and 20 broad ; population about 40,000, with (in 1875) 5348 horses, 38,749 cattle, 84,201 sheep, 47,300 goats, and many trading stations. The Idutwya Reserve is about 28 miles square, with (in 1874) 2514 horses, 17,698 cattle, 51,302 sheep, 14,909 goats ; revenue about £1380, expenditure £2976. Gealekaland, the country of the Gealekas, or Ama-Xosa Kaffres under Kreli, is about 50 miles long and 30 broad. Traders are settling in the country, and a small trade in wool is done. All these territories lie mainly between the Kei and Bashee rivers. Bomvaniland is about 30 miles by 20 ; it lies between the Bashee and Umtata rivers. On both sides of St John’s river, and extending, to the Natal boundary, is Pondoland; only that portion of it on the south side of the St John’s river, known as St John’s Territories (21,905 inhabitants), has been form-ally annexed, but the magistrate has jurisdiction on both sides. Pondoland is about 60 miles square. This dis-trict is noted for its fertility and beauty, and has much excellent pasture land. The district between Pondoland, Natal, Basutoland, Wodehouse division, and Tambookieland, is now known as Griqualand East, inhabited by various tribes (upwards of 100,000 souls), about 125 miles long and 40 to 75 miles wide. A great part of this territory formerly went by the name of Nomansland, in area about 6000 square miles, and lay at the foot of the Drakenberg, between the Umzimkulu and Kinira rivers. In 1862 it was handed over to Adam Kok’s people, but in 1877 an Act of annexation was passed, which was promulgated in 1879. The boundaries of the new district were made to include what was known as the St John’s River territory, including, however, British Pondoland. The Griquas themselves are not numerous, being found chiefly in the neighbourhood of Kokstadt, the station of the chief magistrate, 95 miles from the mouth of the St John’s River. Their farms are rapidly passing into the hands of Europeans. Various other tribes have had land allotted them in the district. The whole district is said to be very fertile, and eminently adapted for the cultivation of various kinds of grain. In 1880 land was granted and sold in Griqualand East to the extent of about 300,000 acres. All these districts may be regarded as virtually annexed to the Cape, with which they will doubtless be gradually incorporated. Kaffraria is governed by ministers responsible to the Cape legislature, in which, however, it has no representatives. Mission stations and trading stations are scattered all over the region.

Kaffre Wars.—During the extension of the Dutch and English powers over South Africa, collisions with the natives were of course inevitable ; there are six contests which more especially came under the designation of Kaffre wars. In 1780 the Great Fish river was settled on as the boundary between the Kaffres and the colonists. For some time previous to 1811 the Kaffres in the Zuurveld broke the boundary, took possession of the neutral ground, and committed depredations on the colonists. In order to expel them from the Zuurveld, Colonel Graham took the field with a mixed force in December 1811, and in the end the Kaffres were driven beyond the Fish river. In 1817 Lord Charles Somerset, governor of the colony, entered into a treaty with a chief, Ngqika, in which he acknowledged that chief as head of all the Ama-Xosa Kaffres, and in which it was agreed that any kraal to which stolen cattle could be traced should be held accountable for compensation. This was a serious blunder, Ngqika being merely a subondinate chief, the para-mount chief of the Ama-Xosas being Hintza, the chief of the Ama-Gealekas. Some stolen cattle having been traced to one of the kraals of a chief Ndlambe, Major Fraser, with a small force, was sent to enforce restitution. On this, Ndlambe and his fellow-chiefs attacked Ngqika, who claimed and obtained help from the colonial Government. The Kaffres were completely routed in 1818 by a force under Lieutenant-Colonel Brereton. They rallied, however, and a great force suddenly poured into the colony in the early part of 1819, sweeping at first everything before them. On April 22 the prophet-chief, Makanna, attacked Grahamstown, which was garrisoned by a mere handful of troops, under Colonel Wiltshire. Assistance arrived, however, and the Kaffres were defeated with great slaughter. The principal chiefs were outlawed, the country between Koonap Kat and the Great Fish river was added to the colony, and that between the latter river and the Keiskarnma declared to be neutral territory ; on this some of the Kaffres were allowed to settle. Final peace, however, was far from being secured. One tribe or another was almost constantly on the move, causing disturbances in which the colonists could not but suffer. In 1828 the chief Ngqika or Gaika died, and during the minority of his infant son Sandili, the government of the tribe, now called Gaikas, devolved on Macomo, his elder half-brother, who had been per-mitted to occupy the valleys of the Kat river. On account of an attack on the Ama-Tembu Kaffres, he was removed from the settle-ment, as was also his brother Tyali (1833). Permitted to return, they were removed again, and this vacillating treatment had no doubt something to do with the next war. On December 11, 1834, another brother of Macomo, a chief of high rank, was killed while resisting a commando party. This set the whole of the Kaffre tribes in a blaze. Under Macomo, Tyali, and Xexo a force of 10,000 fighting men swept across the frontier, spread over the country, pillaged and burned the homesteads, and murdered the farmers and all who dared to resist. The fighting power of the colony was at the time scanty, but all available forces were mustered, under Colonel (afterwards Sir Harry) Smith, who reached Grahamstown on January 6, 1835, six days after news of the rising reached Cape Town. The enemy’s territory was invaded, and after nine months’ fighting the Kaffres were completely subdued, and a new treaty of peace concluded (September 17). By this treaty all the country as far as the river Kei was acknowledged to be British, and its inhabitants declared British subjects. A site for the seat of government was selected, and named King William’s Town. All this, however, was undone by the home Government, the secretary of state for the colonies at the time being Lord Glenelg. A policy of conciliation and mildness towards the Kaffres was adopted, a policy distasteful to the colonists, although laudable efforts seem to have been made to carry it out. The next war, known as the "War of the Axe," arose from the murder of a Hottentot, to whom an old Kaffre thief was manacled while being conveyed to Grahams-town for trial for stealing an axe. The escort was attacked by a party of Kaffres and the Hottentot killed. The surrender of the murderer was refused, and war was declared on March 11, 1846. The Gaikas were the chief tribe engaged in the war, assisted during the course of it by the Tambookies. After some reverses the Kaffre’s were signally defeated on June 7 by General Somerset on the Gwangu, a few miles from Fort Peddie. Still the war went on, till at length Sandili, the chief of the Gaikas, surrendered, as also gradually did the other chiefs ; and by the beginning of 1848 the Kaffres were again subdued, after twenty-one months’ fighting. The country was declared under British rule, and was formed into the division of Victoria East and British Kaffraria, between the new colonial boundary and the Kei river,—the latter reserved for occupation by the Kaffres. The peace, however, was not to last long. About October 1850 it was reported that the Kaffres were preparing for war. Sir Harry Smith proceeded to the frontier, and summoned Sandili and the other chiefs to an interview. Sandili refused obedience ; upon which, at an assembly of other chiefs, the governor declared him deposed front his chiefship, and appointed an English-man, Mr Brownlee, a magistrate, to be chief of the Gaika tribe. This measure is said to have been the immediate cause of the ensuing outbreak ; but there is no doubt that the Kaffres had already determined on war. On the 24th of December Colonel Mackinnon, being sent with a small force to capture Sandili, was attacked in a narrow defile by a large body of Kaffres, and com-pelled to retreat with some loss. This was the signal for a general rising of the Gaika tribe. The settlers in the military villages, assembled in fancied security to celebrate Christmas day, were surprised by the treacherous foe, many of them murdered, and their houses given to the flames. Other disasters followed in quick succession. A small patrol of military was cut off to a man. The greater part of the Kaffre police deserted, many of them carrying off their arms and accoutrements. Flushed with success, the Kaffres in immense force surrounded and attacked Fort Cox, where the governor was with an inconsiderable force. His situation was truly critical. More than one unsuccessful attempt was made to relieve him ; but his dauntless spirit was equal to the occasion. At the head of one hundred and fifty mounted riflemen, accompanied by Colonel Mackinnon, he dashed out of the fort, and, through a heavy fire of the enemy, rode to King William’s Town,—a distance of l2 miles. Meantime, anew enemy appeared. A large number of the Kat river Hottentots, who had in former wars been firm allies of the British, rose in rebellion. This revolt was followed by that of the Hottentots at other missionary stations; and part of the Hottentots of the Cape Mounted Rifles followed their example. We have only space to state the general results of the war. After the confusion caused by the sudden outbreak had subsided, and due preparations were made, Sir Harry Smith and his gallant force soon turned the tide of war against the Kaffres. The Amatola mountains were stormed ; and the paramount chief Kreli, who all along covertly assisted the Gaikas, was severely punished. In April 1852 Sir Harry Smith was recalled, and was succeeded by Lieutenant--General Cathcart. Kreli was again attacked, and reduced to submission. The Amatolas were finally cleared of Kaffres, and small forts erected among them to prevent their reoccupation. It was not till March 23, 1853, that martial law was revoked, and the most sanguinary of Kaffre wars brought to a conclusion, with a loss of many hundred British soldiers. Shortly after, British Kaffraria was erected into a crown colony, which it remained till 1865, when it was incorporated with the Cape Colony. After a peace of twenty-five years, once more, in 1877, the Kaffres (of Kaffraria Proper) interrupted the progress of the country and caused considerable destruction and distress. In September of that year the hereditary enmity between the Fingoes and Gealekas broke out into open hostility, the Government taking the part of the former, who were under its protection. At first the Gealekas were driven beyond the Bashee ; but collecting in force again they recrossed, and got the Gaikas to join them about the end of December. After several months the governor called in the aid of the imperial troops, and soon effectually broke up and defeated the rebels. The war with the Zulu Kaffres will be described under ZULULAND.

See Theal’s Compendium of the History and Geography of South Africa, 1878; Silver’s Handbook to South Africa, 1880; the General Directory and Guide-Book to the Cape of Good Hope and its Dependencies, and other year books and blue-books; Keith Johnston’s Africa, 1878; Stanford’s large map of the Cape of Good Hope and neighbonring territories, 1876; The Colonies, and The Colonies and India (passim); Blacks, Boers, and British, by F. R. Statham, 1881; Hall’s South African Geography, 1866; The Story of Missions in South-East Africa, by Rev. W. Shaw, 1866; Chase and Wilmot’s History of the Colony ofthe Cape of Good Hope, 1871; Anthony Trollope’s South Africa, 1878. (J. S. K.)

The Kaffres.

The Kaffres, or Kafirs, a large South African race, form ethnically a well-marked variety of the Negro type, and linguistically a dis-tinct branch of the Bantu family. There are no general or collective national names, and the various tribal divisions are mostly desig-nated by those of distinguished historical or legendary chiefs, founders of dynasties or hereditary chieftaincies. The name Káfir (a form which in popular usage designates the African race less frequently than the inhabitants of Kafiristan in Persia) is that applied by Mahometans to all who reject the faith of Islám. It was thus current along the east coast of Africa at the arrival of the Portuguese, and passed from them to the Dutch and English, and recently even to the natives themselves under the form Kafula, as in the expression ba-ng’ama Kafula-nje, they are oiily Káfirs. Of this race there are two main divisions, jointly occupying the southeast corner of the continent from the Lower Limpopo to the Great Fish river north and south, and from the escarpments of the central plateau to the Indian Ocean west and east. They thus impinge southwards on the Hottentot domain, westwards on the kindred Basuto and Bechuana nations, northwards on the Tekezas, Makuas, and others also of kindred stock occupying the region stretching from the Limpopo to the Zambesi and even beyond it to Lakes Nyassa and Tanganyika. Politically the Kaffre domain comprises the Portuguese possessions skirting Delagoa Bay, the semi-inde-pendent Zulu territory, the colony of Natal, and the ancient territory of Zanguana, which included that part of Cape Colony till recently known as British and Independent Kaffraria. Of the two branches, each split up into a multiplicity of tribal divisions, the representative nations are the Ama-Zulus in the north, and the Ama-Xosas, Ama-Tembu, and Ama-Mpondas or Kaffres Proper in the south, whence the compound term Zulu-Kaffre now commonly applied in a collective sense to the whole race. Intermediate between the two were the Ama-Lala or Balala of Natal, where they are still represented by the Ama-Ncolosi, and several broken Ama--Zulu tribes now collectively known to the Kaffres as Ama-Fengu, i.e., "poor" or "needy" people, from fenguza, to seek service.1

FOOTNOTE (page 818)

1 The Ama-Fengus are regarded both by the Ama-Zulus and Ama-Xosas as slaves or out-castes, without any right to the freedom and privileges of true-born Kaffres. They are met with everywhere, not only in Fingoland between the Great Kei and Bashee rivers south of the Ama-Xosa territory, but also in Natal, Zululand, and north of it, as well as in the highlands of the interior. Yet they can scarcely be said to have any recognized territory of their own, and but for the intervention of the British they would have long ago been everywhere reduced to a state of serfdom by the dominant tribes. Those who were driven out of Zululand early in the present century fell into the hands of the Gealekas, from whom they were delivered in 1835 by Sir Benjamin D’Urban, and by him removed to the Fort Peddie district between the Fish and Keiskamma rivers. Any tribes which become broken and mixed would probably be regarded as Ama--Fengus by the other Kaffres. Hence the multiplicity of clans, such as the Ama--Bele, Aba-Sembotweni, Ama-Zizi, Ama-Kuze, Aba-Sekunene Ama-Ntokaze, Ama-Tetyeni, Aba-Shwawa, &c., all of whom are collectively grouped as Ama-Fengu. Their position may be compared with that of the Laconian Helots, or the low-caste tribes of India.

The numerous and politically important ramifications of the Kaffres Proper cannot be understood without reference to the national genealogies, most of the tribal names, as already stated, being those of real or reputed founders of dynasties. Thus the term Ama-Xosa itself means simply the "people of Xosa," a some-what mythical chief supposed to have flourished about the year 1530. Ninth in descent from his son Toguh was Palo, who died about 1780, leaving two sons, Gealeka and Rarabe (pronounced Kha-Kha-b_), from whom came the Ama-Gealekas, Ania-Dhlambe (T’slambies), and the Ama-Ngquikas (Gaikas or Sandili’s people). The Ama-Mpondas do not descend from Xosa, but probably from an elder brother, while the Ama-Tembus (Tambookies), though apparently representing a younger branch, are regarded by all the Kaffre tribes as the royal race. Hence the Gealeka chief, who is lord paramount of all the Ama-Xosa tribes, always takes his first or "great wife" from the Ama-Tembu royal family, and her issue alone have any claim to the succession. The subjoined genealogical tree will help to place the mutual relations of all the Kaffre tribes in a clearer light:—


Here it will be seen that, as representing the elder branch, the Gealekas stand quite apart from the rest of Xosa’s descendants, whom they group collectively as Ama-Rarabe (Ama-Khakhabe), and whose genealogies, except in the case of the Gaikas and T’slambies, are very confused and uncertain. The Ama-Xosa country lies mainly between the Keiskamma and Umtata rivers.

The Ama-Zulus, so named by their Basuto neighbours, call themselves Abantu ba-Kwa-Zulu, i.e., "people of Zulu’s land," or briefly Bakwa-Zulu, from a legendary chief Zulu, founder of the royal dynasty. They were originally an obscure tribe between the Bumbo and Omtukela mountains, but rose suddenly to formidable power under Chaka,1 who had been brought up among the neighbouring and powerful Umtetwas, and who succeeded the chiefs of that tribe and of his own in the beginning of the present century. But the true mother tribe seems to have been the extinct Ama-Ntombela, whence the Ama-Tefulu, the U’ndwande, U’mlelas, U’mtetwas, and many others, all absorbed or claiming to be true Zulus. But they are only so by political subjection, and the gradual adoption of the Zulu dress, usages, and speech. Hence in most cases the term Zulu implies political rather than blood relationship. This remark applies also to the followers of Umzele-katze, who, after a fierce struggle with the Bechuanas, founded in 1830 a second Zulu state about the bead waters of the Orange river. In 1837 most of them were driven northwards by the Boers, and have become dispersed amongst the Makuas and Matebele tribes.

The origin of the Znlu-Kaffre race has given rise to much con-troversy. It is obvious that they are not the aborigines of their present domain, whence in comparatively recent times they have displaced the Hottentots and Bosjesmans of fundamentally distinct stock. On the other hand they are closely allied in speech and physique to the surrounding Basutos, Bechuanas, Matebeles, and other members of the great South African Negroid family. Hence no far-fetched theories are needed to account for their appearance in the south-east corner of the continent, where their presence is sufficiently explained by the gradual onward movement of the populations pressing southwards on the Hottentot and Bosjesman domain. The specific differences in speech and appearance by which they are distinguished from the other branches of the family must in the same way be explained by the altered climatic and other outward conditions of their new habitat. Hence it is that the further they have penetrated southwards the further have they become differentiated from the pure Negro type, from which at-tempts have even been made to separate them altogether.2 Thus the light and clear brown complexion prevalent amongst the southern Ama-Tembus becomes gradually darker as we proceed northwards, passing at last to the blue-black and sepia of the Ama-Swazis and Tekezas. Even many of the inixed Fengu tribes are of a polished ebony colour, like that of the Joloffs and other pure Senegambian Negroes, The hair is uniformly of a woolly texture, not differing perceptibly from that of the ordinary native of Sudan, nor growing in separate tufts on the scalp, as is often erroneously asserted. This phenomenon of a tufted growth of hair, on which many anthropologists have based their classifications of the dark races, has absolutely no existence in nature. The Kaffre head also is dolichocephalic (index 72·54, as compared with the West African 73·40) ; but it is also high or long vertically (index 195·8, as compared with Negro 149·5),3 and it is in this feature of hypsisteno-cephaly (height and length combined) that the Kaffre presents the most striking contrast with the pure Negro. But, the nose being generally rather broad4 and the lips thick, the Kaffre face, though somewhat oval, is never regular in the European sense, the deviations being normally in the direction of the Negro, with which race the peculiar odour of the skin again connects the Kaffres. In stature they rank next to the Patagonians, Polynesians, and West Africans, averaging from 5 ft. 9 in. to 5 ft. 11 in., and even 6 feet.5 They are also slim, well-proportioned, and muscular ; but Fritsch’s measurements have shown that they are far from attaining the standard of almost ideal beauty with which early observers credited them. Owing to the hard life to which they are doomed, the women are generally inferior in appearance to the men, except amongst the Zulus, and especially the Tembus. Hence in the matrimonial market, while the Ama-Xosa girl realizes no more than ten or twelve head of cattle, the Ama-Tembu belle fetches as many as forty, and if specially fine even eighty.

The symmetrical and manly figures of the more warlike tribes are usually arrayed in leopard or ox-skins, of late years often replaced by European blankets, with feather head-dresses, coral and metal ornaments, bead armlets, and necklaces. The Makuas and a few others practise tatooing, and the Ama-Xosas are fond of painting or smearing their bodies with red ochre. Their arms consist chiefly of ox-hide shields 4 to 6 feet long, the kerri or club, and the assegai, of which there are two kinds, one long with 9-inch narrow blade, for throwing, the other short with broad blade 12 to 18 inches long, for stabbing. The dwellings, like those of the Hottentots, are simple conical huts grouped in kraals or villages, mostly of a temporary character. For all the Kaffres are still seminomadic, and easily break up their homes in search of fresh pastures. But, although cattle form their chief wealth, arid hunting and stock-breeding their main pursuits, many have in recent times turned to husbandry. The Zulus raise regular crops of "mealies" (maize), and the Ama-Mpondas cultivate a species of millet, tobacco, water melons, yams, and other vegetables. Milk, millet, and maize form the staples of food, and meat is seldom eaten except in time of war. Amongst some tribes the order to kill and eat their cattle is in fact equivalent to an order to prepare for some warlike undertaking.

Mentally and morally the Kaffres are on the whole superior to the average Negro. In all their social and political relations they display great tact and intelligence ; they are remarkably brave, warlike, and hospitable, and were naturally honest and truthful until through contact with the whites they become suspicious, revengeful, and thievish, besides acquiring most European vices. Of religion as ordinarily understood they have very little, and have certainly never developed any mythologies or dogmatic systems, It is more than doubtful whether they had originally formed any notion of a Supreme Being; and such is the realistic bent of their minds that all such abstract conceptions, when interpreted to them by the missionaries, are immediately reduced to the grossest materialism. At tbe same a belief in a future state is implied by a faintly developed worship of ancestry, accompanied by a few superstitious rites. There are no idols, sacrifices, or priests, but the prevalent belief in witchcraft has naturally led to the evolution

FOOTNOTES (page 819)

(1) Seventh in descent from Zulu, through Kumede, Makeba, Punga, Ndaba, Yama, and Tezengakona (Bleek, Zulu Legends).

(2) Amongst others quite recently by Girard de Rialle. who, in Les Pouples de l’Afrique et de l’Amérique, detaches the Kaffres from the Negroes, and treats them as an independent division of the African races. These he groups in five divisions:—(l) Bosjesmans, (2) Hottentots, (3) Negroes, (4) Kaffres, (5) Nu-bians and Fallahs,—a classification which even on linguistic grounds is untenable. J. Meyer also, notwithstanding their woolly hair, thick lips, high cheek bones, and dark complexion, maintains that their features are essentially "Asiatic."

(3) Topinard, Anthropology, p. 274.

(4) This feature varies considerably, "in the T’slamble tribes being broader and more of the Negro shape than in the Gaikas or Gealekas, while among the Ama-Tembu and Ama-Mpondo it assumes more of the European character. In many of them the perfect Grecian and Roman noses are discernible" (Fleming’s Kaffraria. p. 92).

(5) Gustav Fritsch, a most accurate observer, gives the mean of the Ama-Xosas as 1·718 metres, less than that of the Guinea Negro (1·724), but more than the English (1·708) and Scotch (1·710).

of the "witch-doctor" or medicine-man, who often becomes an instrument of cruel oppression and injustice in the hands of unscrupulous chiefs. Circumcision and polygamy are universal ; the former is sometimes attributed to Mahometan influences, but has really prevailed almost everywhere in East Africa from the remotest time.

Of the few industries the chief are copper and iron smelting practised by the Ama-Tembus, Zulus, and Swazis, who manufacture from the metal weapons, spoons, and agricultural implements, both for their own use and for trade. The Swazis display some taste in wood-carving, and others prepare a peculiar water-tight vessel of grass, somewhat like the wickerwork vases of the Siberian Yakuts. Characteristic of this race is their total ignorance or neglect of the art of navigation. Not the smallest boats are ever made for crossing the rivers, much less for venturing on the sea, except by the Makazana of Delagoa Bay and by the Zambesi people, who have canoes and flat-bottomed boats made of planks.

The Kaffre race has developed a distinct and apparently very old political system, which may be described as a patriarchal monarchy limited by a powerful aristocracy. Although the tribal state still prevails, the organization has thus acquired almost a feudal character. The nation is grouped in tribes, each under an hereditary inkose or chief, who administers his territory by means of officers chosen by himself, and who is supreme legislator with absolute jurisdiction and power of life and death. If his decisions are unjust, the nobles (that is, the foremost members of the tribe) protest in council, and their decisions form the traditional code of common law. A group of clans forms a nation, recognizing a common hereditary chief with the title of umkumkani or inkose enkulu, that is, "great chief," whose influence largely depends on his power and personal qualities. He possesses in theory unlimited authority, but in practice each clan retains a large share of self-government, the lord paramount seldom interfering except when appealed to. In Zululand this system rapidly developed under Chaka and his successors into a military despotism of an extremely arbitrary type. But with the fall of Cetewayo, followed by the division of the land amongst a number of semi-independent chiefs, an end was put to that absolute monarchy. While it lasted it was a distinct violation of the ancient liberties of the Zulu nation by the "great chief," who arrogated to himself almost divine honours, treated the people as his slaves, claimed all the land as his personal property, and made everything subservient to his dynastic interests.

The Zulu-Kaffre language is probably the most typical member of the wide-spread Bantu family, standing in much the same relation to the other branches of this stock as Sanskrit does to those of the Aryan group. It is spoken with considerable uniformity throughout the whole Kaffre domain, the Zulu or northern dialects differing rather in idiom and peculiar forms than in structure or phonetics from the Ama-Xosa and other southern varieties. In other respects Zulu is on the whole more primitive and conservative of the oldest forms, while Kaffre seems truer to the original meaning of words. Marked Zulu dialects are the Tefula and Swazi, both widely current in Zululand, the latter forming a transition between Zulu-Kaffre and the northern Tekeza group. The Kaffre, which presents no well-defined dialects, is current from the Keiskamma river to the southern frontier of Natal, and from the Quathlamba mountains to the sea.

The Zulu-Kaffre differs in its phonetics from most otber Bantu tongues by the presence of three "clicks" adopted from the Hottentots or Bosjesmans, the true aborigines of this region. These are the dental, usually represented by c, as in Ama-Gealeka, the palatal (q), as in Ama-Gqika, and the lateral (x), as in Ama-Xosa, uttered respectively by thrusting forward and then suddenly withdrawing the tongue from the front teeth, the palate, and the side teeth. Besides these there is a guttural, represented by r, as in Rarabe, to be pronounced Khakhabe.1 The language is in other respects extremely harmonious, the accent falling generally on the penultimate, and all words ending in vowels, or occasionally the liquids m and m. In its structure it is very regular, with few exceptious or departures from the normal rules, which is the more surprising that its mechanism is extremely delicate and involved. The verb especially is highly inflected, presenting no less than two hundred and fifty different forms, temporal, modal, positive, negative, active, passive, causal, augmentative, &c. In this respect it is probably unsurpassed even by the intricate verbal systems of the Finno-Tatar group.

But the characteristic feature of the Zulu-Kaffre and other Bantu languages is their peculiar alliterative structure, which finds no parallel in any other linguistic family, the Mande and Gor of West Africa alone excepted. This principle of "euphonic concord," as it has been called is regulated by the pronominal prefix inseparable from every noun, and repeated in a more or less modified form with the following adjectives and other words in agreement with the subject. The nominal root itself is unchangeable, its various relations being expressed by modifications of the prefixed particle, or "inflex," as Colenso calls it. Hence the inflexion in these languages is mainly initial, not final, as in most other linguistic systems, on which account they have received the name of "Pronominal Prefix Languages." Of the inflecting prefixes, of which there were sixteen in the primitive Bantu speech, the chief function is concordance and relationship. Thus the proper inflex of ntu in the sense of man, person, being um, pl. aba, we get from um-ntu, man, abantu, men.2 The inflex of kose, chief, is in, pl. (irreg.) ama,3 whence in-kose, a chief, ama-kose, chiefs. Then, the adjective "great" being kulu, "a great man" will be umu-ntu om-kulu, where the inflex umu is repeated in the modified form om with the adjective kulu. But "a great chief" will be in-kose en-kulu, where the inflex in is in the same way repeated in the modified form en with the following adjective kulu. Here we see some resemblance both to the principle of progressive vocalic harmony as developed in the Ural-Altaic group, in which the vowel of the root regulates those of all the following agglutinated formative elements, and to such Latin agreements as filius meus, filia mea, &c. In both cases, however, the resemblance is more apparent than real. This surprisingly complex and almost artificial principle of alliterative concordance pervading a vast number of languages spread over half a continent, and spoken exclusively by unlettered and barbarous races, is one of the most astonishing phenomena in the history of human culture. The perfection to which the system is carried in the Zulu-Kaffre group must always render that branch of the Bantu family specially interesting to the students of comparative philology.

See Gustav Fritsch, Die Eingeborenem Sud-Aftika’s, with atlas, 30 plates, and 120 typical heads, Breslau, 1872; Bleek’s Comparative Grammar of the South African Languages, 1869; Hahn’s Grundzüge einer Grammatik des Herero, Berlin, 1857; Appleyard’s Kaffir Language, 1850; Schrieder’s Zulu Grammar in Danish, Christiania, 1850; Dr Colenso’s Grammar of the Zulu-Kafir Language, 1855; Rev. F. Fleming, Kaffraria and its Inhabitants, 1853; Girard de Rialle, Les Peuples de l’Afrique et de l’Amérique, Paris, 1880; Rev. J. Shooter, Kafirs of Natal, 1857; Rev. L. Grout, Zululand, 1865; W. Houlden, Past and Future of the Kaffre Races, London, 1867; C. J. Büthner, in Zeitschrift of the Berlin Geo. Soc., March 1881. (A. H. K.)

FOOTNOTES (page 820)

(1) The r sound does not occur; it is replaced, as in Chinese, by l.

(2) This word Abantu is generally used by the Kaffres in speaking of themselves as the "men" in a pre-eminent sense in opposition to the Ama-hlungi, or inferior white people. On this ground Abantu, shortened to Bantu, has been proposed by Bleek and generally adopted as the collective name of all the races and languages belonging to this great linguistic system, which reaches from four or five degrees north of the equator southwards to Cape Colony, and stretches right across the continent from the Ogoway delta to Zanzibar.

(3) The regular plural of the inflex in is izin, as in in-hlu, house, izin-hu, houses. But ama is extensively used instead of aba, izin, &c., in forming the plural, especially of personal nouns, nations, tribes, &c. Hence Aina-Xosa for Aba-Xosa from um-Xosa, Ama-Mpondo from u-Mpondo, Ama-Kose from in-Kose, &c. The northern and western Bantu nations preserve the aba under the forms ba, be, wa, whence Ba-suto, Be-chuana, Wa-nyamwesi, Wa-ganda, &c.

The above article was written by two authors:

-- Kaffraria, Kaffre Wars: J. S. Keltie
-- The Kaffres: A. H. Keane

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