On This Day in South African History

On this day in 1857, Paramount Chief Sarhili (Kreli) of the AmaXhosa people listened to a message from the ancestors delivered through a teenage girl by the name of Nongqawuse. Their message was to tell the AmaXhosa that their ancestors would rise from the dead on a certain day and also to instruct them that all cattle were to be slaughtered.


There was to be no cultivation, but people should dig new granaries and erect strong cattle-folds to house what would be received from the ancestors.  On that specific day the sun would rise and set again in the east and a whirlwind would sweep all White people into the sea.


SA History archives

Sarhili ordered his subordinate chiefs to obey the injunctions but on the first date of resurrection, set for 11 August 1856 and then on 18 February 1857, nothing happened. This led to the ultimate demise of the AmaXhosa people after thousands died from starvation. Nongqawuse was arrested and imprisoned on Robben Island.


Source: SA History 

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