On the 10th December 2016 four bronze statues of earlier South African leaders were unveiled in the grounds of the Castle of Good Hope. They are Doman leader of the Gorochougua, amaHlubi King Langalibalele, amaZulu King Cetshwayo, BaPedi King Sekhukhume. The common denominator was their attempts to retain their tribal positions and fighting for freedom from colonial oppression.
The Doman period was that of the early Dutch settlers at the Cape. In the journal of Jan van Riebeeck it would seem that he was judged as…”an artless person – who seems well disposed to us…….. has been employed as an interpreter.” Some time later Doman was taken to Batavia to improve his skills. What he came to understand was the intended behavior of the Dutch towards the Khoi and something of their military methods. In other words he came back to the Cape a different person, one who was now able to show up the intention of van Riebeeck to stop any economic and political interaction with the khoi further inland. This came particularly clear when “free burghers” were given land that had been the Khoi’s former grazing land. As a result Doman began creating raiding parties on farm houses, crops and cattle. Eventually his aims became a lost cause and the Khoi lost out against the colonizers. Doman died 1663. Unfortunately although he had been able to understand and use the opportunities he saw in the Dutch weaknesses he had not been able to get the stronger Khoi clans to work with him against the Dutch.
Langalibalele became King of the Hlubi in 1836 and with the ability of Natal Secretary of Native Affairs, Theophilus Shepstone, agreed to land offered by the British along the banks of the Little Bushmans River. This worked and the tribe even spread but suddenly they had to pay various taxes: a marriage tax, military levies, and a hut tax. Dissatisfaction was in the air. In the meanwhile men of the tribe began working in the mines but attracted attention of the governing bodies when they returned home with guns. This the British saw as a future threat and the owners were informed that the guns had to be registered but this was refused. The result saw the King and his subjects fleeing to Basutoland (today Lesotho). The result was King Langalibalele was caught, sentenced in 1874 to be banished to Robben Island at the Cape. Bishop Colenso of Natal concerned by the king’s treatment and gaining the attention of the Cape Parliament managed to get Langalibalele freed. However he was only allowed to return to Natal in 1887 but not as the amaHlubi leader. He died in 1889.
King Cetshwayo and his fellow Zulu people were victors in 1879 when they defeated the British at Isandlwana. This defeat would not be overlooked by the British resulting in further blood shed. Slowly the British forces began their planning which resulted in the Ulundi Battle which saw the royal kraal set alight, the King escaped but was caught, sent to imprisonment at the Castle of Good Hope. In 1881 he was moved to the Oude Molen farm but in 1882 he was allowed to travel to Britain to meet with Queen Victoria and discuss his position. Nothing came of this visit and by 1883 he had lost his power over the Zulu people. Shortly thereafter he died on 8 February 1884.
Sekhukhume, despite the fact that his half brother Mampuru was the legal heir, seized power after the death of his father King Sekwati and in 1861 became King of the BaPedi. Now having achieved this he set about improving and maintaining his position and power. But in the Transvaal he had constantly to be aware of the intentions of the Afrikaans settlers, British administrations and of the missionaries. In 1877 the Transvaal was annexed by the British and in 1879 their army was led against the BaPedi. Sekhukhume managed to escape but shortly thereafter was caught He was imprisoned in Pretoria and later, it is thought, at the Castle of Good Hope. His half brother was made King of the tribe. On his return to his home Sekhukhume was murdered. It was said to have been ordered by Mampuru.