A Horse named SOMERSET – Dr Dawn Gould

On the 24th May 1842 Dick King, a trader, began a ten day 950 kms ride between Durban and Grahamstown on the back of his horse Somerset. He rode across wild country, many rivers and was only able to stop for short lengths of time.  He was accompanied by his 16 year old companion Ndongeni who was riding without a saddle and who had to stop after 200kms.

The reason for this ride was to obtain relief for the camp of the British Garrison in Durban who were being besieged by the Afrikaaner Voortrekkers who had left the Cape Colony to get away from British rule and now wanted to set up a Republiek Natalia. If they could defeat the British and gain control of Port Natal (today Durban Harbour) they would be independent and the British would then only be governing the Cape colony.

Dick King’s ride for help was successful and once more Somerset the horse carried his master. Further, the young Ndongeni Nkayoki was able to be part of the return ride. On the 15 July the Natalia Republiek submitted to British rule.

A statue of Dick King on Somerset can be seen on Durban esplanade.