Time Travel – Peoples of the Eastern Cape Highlands

Historic Origin

The four major ethnic divisions among Black South Africans are the Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. The Nguni represent nearly two thirds of South Africa’s Black population and can be divided into four distinct groups; the Northern and Central Nguni (the Zulu-speaking peoples), the Southern Nguni (the Xhosa-speaking peoples), the Swazi people from Swaziland and adjacent areas and the Ndebele people of the Northern Province and Mpumalanga. Archaeological evidence shows that the Bantu-speaking groups that were the ancestors of the Nguni migrated down from East Africa as early as the eleventh century.    Read more from … South African History Online


The isi-Xhosa-speaking people are divided into a number of different groups each with its own history, custom and sense of individuality.
Some amaXhosa tribes, such as the Xhosa, Thembu, Mpondo, Mpondomise and Bomvana, moved to the low-lying areas before 1550. The Xesibe tribe came before the 1700s. Some tribes moved to the higher areas during the early 1800s and it was also during this time that the Hlubi tribe moved here.   See … The Eastern Cape Highlands

Early Settlers

When the Province of Queen Adelaide was proclaimed in May 1835, the frontiers of the Cape Colony were extended to include part of the Stormberg region, east of Stormberg River.  In 1847, Sir Harry Smith extended the boundaries of the Cape Colony to the Orange River, and from there to the Witteberge and the Kraai River.  In January 1848 the new territory was proclaimed a new district and named Albert with Burgersdorp as the seat of government.  JM Orpen, the Government Land Surveyor for the Cape Colony, commenced the survey of the farms in the area. The oldest farm, “Roodepoort”, was acquired by Jan Greyvenstein in 1864.   See  … The Eastern Cape Highlands


The Griqua was a small, independent nation and descendants of the San and Khoi from the Eastern Coast of South Africa.  When the Mpondomise left the Maclear area, Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape Colony, offered the land to the Griquas in exchange for their land near Kimberley.  They settled briefly near Ugie, but, like the Mpondomise, moved away soon afterwards.  A later quarrel among the Griquas, however, saw a group move away and settle once more near Ugie and Maclear.    See  … The Eastern Cape Highlands


The Mpondomise (“Warriors with a straight horn”) is an isiXhosa-speaking tribe that crossed the Drakensberg around 1420.  They settled along the tributaries of the Ndenxa River, which later became the Pot River near Maclear.
The area did not suit the Mpondomise, however, and they moved on to settle below the escarpment in the vicinity of the modern-day Tsolo and Oumbu.   See  … The Eastern Cape Highlands

San and Khoi

The San and the Khoi settled in the the Eastern Cape Highlands between 12 000 and 5 000 years ago. San and Khoi rock paintings, both large and small, decorate rock walls in caves and overhangs throughout the awe-inspiring mountains.   See  … The Eastern Cape Highlands