Words by Grant Spolander, image by Henrie Snyman
It was uncharted territory for the Voortrekkers; they knew little about the road ahead as their heavily-laden wagons creaked and groaned over the fiery-hot, rocky terrain. With the sun furiously beating down, thorn trees clawing at their oxen, and hundreds of cows, sheep and goats to herd, their progress was slow – some five to 15km each day, at best. Yet they trundled on, motivated by the thought of new beginnings and freedom from British rule.
Prior to the Great Trek in 1835, two voorste mense, Louis Trichardt and Lang Hans Van Rensburg, met at the Caledon River before heading north on a reconnaissance mission. Their final destination was Delagoa Bay, a Portuguese trading port, but, along the way, they hoped to find greener pastures and land to call their own. Although they travelled together, Trichardt and Van Rensburg had separate convoys consisting mainly of friends and family. By contrast, a much larger body of trekkers (200 people), led by Hendrik Potgieter, followed months behind them.
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