Die geskiedenis van die Afrikaner-Oorlams in die tyd van Jonker Afrikaner, 1790-1861

Pool, Barbara (1995-12)

Thesis (PhD)-- Stellenbosch University, 1995.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The history of the Oorlam Afrikaners began in the seventeenth century during the disintegration of the Cape Khoikhoi. Through this process a number of independent family groups came into existence. One of these, the Oorlam Afrikaners, had the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. This allowed them, despite their relative small numbers, to develop into a driving force in the history of Namaqua- and Namaland. The first two phases in this development were led by Klaas Afrikaner and his son, Jager Afrikaner. At the time of Jager Afrikaner's death in 1822, his people were living at Blydeverwacht and Jerusalem in southern Namaland. On his deathbed he handed over the leadership of the Oorlam Afrikaners to his second son, Jonker Afrikaner. This gave rise to dissatisfaction which eventually led to a split in the ranks and the moving of Jonker and his followers northwards. Due to Jonker's military skills and the advantages he and his followers had because of their access to firearms and ammunition, they established a reputation for effective warfare. In the thirties this in turn encouraged a Nama tribe, the Red Nation, to ask their help in defeating the Herero when they (the Nama) were driven from their traditional pastures. After driving the Herero back to the area north of the Kuiseb River, Jonker and his followers themselves settled in Central-Namaland, residing at places like Niais, Tsebris and eventually Windhoek. The Oorlam Afrikaners' position of power was vulnerable in one aspect - it was depended on the preservation of their access to firearms and ammunition for its existence and survival. Because of this Jonker initiated contact with the missionaries and traders by means of the English traveller, James Edward Alexander, who visited him in 1837. This in tum set in motion a chain of events which would clearly illustrate the interdependence of the indigenous people, missionaries and traders. Edward Cook and Joseph Tindall of the Wesleyan Mission Society were the first missionaries to visit the northern Oorlam Afrikaners. Their claim on Jonker, however, was not acknowledged by the Rhenish missionaries, Heinrich Kleinschmidt and Carl Hugo Hahn, who settled in Windhoek with Jonker's permission. Here an exceptional relationship developed between Jonker and Kleinschmidt. Jonker's wish to reunite the Oorlam Afrikaners and the unwillingness of the Wesleyan missionaries of the southern Afrikaners to work together with the Rhenish missionaries, eventually forced Kleinschmidt and Hahn to leave Windhoek. Meanwhile traders had arrived in the country. They supplied firearms, ammunition, brandy and other commodities to Jonker and his people on credit. By 1846 the indigenous people were so deeply in debt that they saw no other option than to start raiding the Herero in order to pay what they owed. Thus a period of violence and clashes across cultural borders and even within tribes began. Tension between Jonker and one of his Herero allies, Kahitjene, for example led to an attack on Kahitjene and the destruction of the mission station at Okahandja by Jonker in August 1850. A further escalation in violence was temporarily prevented by the arrival of the English traveller, Francis Galton. He threatened Jonker with British reprisals. After his departure growing resistance of indigenous leaders against Jonker erupted in an attack on Windhoek in May 1854. Again tension in the country was suppressed by external factors, this time the arrival of the copper miners. They promoted peace because the continuation of their work was impossible without it. Through their mediation the Matchlessmine Peace was concluded in November 1855. At the same time the way in which they played off the indigenous groups against each other, forced these leaders to form a collective forum against the mining community. This was done in the Treaty of Hoachanas, concluded in 1858. In 1858, after moving around and residing at Grootwarmfontein and Okapuka, Jonker and his people moved to Okahandja. With Okahandja as base, he became involved in Ovambo politics. Two years later, when the outbreak of lungsickness made the obtaining of cattle in the interior impossible, his previous contact gave him the opportunity to raid the Ovambo. He returned an ill man and died on 16 August 1861 in Okahandja. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Christiaan Afrikaner. After his death it became clear that the Oorlam Afrikaners owed the attaining of their position of power to the leadership abilities of Jonker Afrikaner. Through a combination of diplomacy and a display of power, and the way in which he manipulated people and group relations, he succeeded in setting the pace for events in the whole region between the Orange and Kunene Rivers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die geskiedenis van die Afrikaner-Oorlams begin tydens die disintegrasie van die Kaapse Khoikhoi in die sewentiende eeu. Deur die loop van hierdie proses het verskeie onafhanklike familiegroepe, soos die Afrikaner-Oorlams, tot stand gekom. Hoewel aanvanklik klein en onbeduidend, het hulle vermoe om hulle by veranderende omstandighede aan te pas, mettertyd gelei tot die ontwikkeling van die Afrikaner-Oorlam-familiegroep as 'n magsfaktor in die geskiedenis van Namakwa- en Namaland. Die eerste twee fases van hierdie ontwikkeling het plaasgevind o.l.v. Klaas Afrikaner, en toe sy seun Jager. Toe Jager Afrikaner in 1822 oorlede is, het hy die leisels aan sy tweede oudste seun, Jonker Afrikaner, oorhandig. Op hierdie stadium het die Afrikaner- Oorlams in suidelike Namaland, by Blydeverwacht en Jerusalem, gewoon. Jager se optrede het tot 'n skeuring in Afrikaner-geledere gelei. Jonker Afrikaner se volgelinge het, danksy sy krygsvernuf en die voorsprong wat hulle toegang tot wapens en ammunisie hulle gegee het, 'n reputasie vir effektiewe oorlogvoering opgebou. Dit het 'n Nama-groep, die Rooinasie, aangespoor om hulle om hulp te vra toe hulle in die dertiger jare deur die Herero uit hulle tradisionele weivelde verdring is. Jonker-hulIe het die Herero teruggedryf tot anderkant die Kuisebrivier en hulle toe self in sentraal-Namaland gevestig, onder meer by Niais, Tsebris en uiteindelik by Windhoek. Jonker-hulle se nuwe magsposisie was kwesbaar in die opsig dat die daarstelling en voortbestaan daarvan afhanklik was van die behoud van hulle toegang tot vuurwapens en ammunisie. Daarom het Jonker in 1837, d.m.v. die Engelse reisiger James Edward Alexander, kontak met sendelinge en handelaars geYnisieer. Dit het aanleiding gegee tot 'n reeks gebeure wat die ineengestrengeldheid van die lotgevalle van die inheemse inwoner, sendeling en handelaar sterk na yore gebring het. Die eerste sendelinge wat die noordelike Afrikaner-Oorlams besoek het, was eerwaardes Edward Cook en Joseph Tindall van die Wesleyaanse Sendinggenootskap. Die Rynse sendelinge, Heinrich Kleinschmidt en Carl Hugo Hahn, het die Wesleyane se aanspraak op Jonker egter nie erken nie en hulle, met Jonker se toestemming, op Windhoek gevestig. Hier het mettertyd 'n besondere vertrouensverhouding tussen Jonker en Kleinschmidt ontwikkel. Jonker se begeerte om die onderskeie Afrikaner-Oorlam-groepe te herenig en die suidelike Afrikaners se sendelinge, die Wesleyane. se onwilligheid om met die RSG saam te werk, het Kleinschmidt-hulle egter uiteindelik gedwing om Windhoek te verlaat. Ondertussen het handelaars in die land aangekom wat ammunisie, vuurwapens, brandewyn en ander handelsartikels op krediet aan Jonker en sy mense verskaf het. Teen 1846 was die inheemse bevolking so diep in die skuld dat hulle geen ander uitweg gesien het as om die Herero te begin beroof om hulle skuld te delg nie. Hierdie optrede het 'n tydperk van geweld en botsings oor kultuurgrense heen en selfs binne stamverband ingelei. Spanning tussen Jonker en een van sy Herero-bondgenote Kahitjene, het byvoorbeeld gelei tot 'n aanval op laasgenoemde en die vernietiging van die sendingstasie Okahandja, in Augustus 1850. 'n Verdere eskalasie in geweld is tydelik verhinder deur die aankoms van die Engelse reisiger Francis Galton, wat Jonker gedreig het met Britse militere optrede. Na sy vertrek het opbouende verset teen Jonker onder inheemse leiers in Mei 1854 tot uitbarsting gekom in 'n aanval op Windhoek. Weer eens is die spanning in die land onderdruk deur eksterne faktore, die keer die aankoms van koperdelwers. Hulle het vrede aangemoedig omdat die voortsetting van hulle werksaamhede daarsonder onmoontlik was. Deur hulle bemiddeling is die Matchless-myn Vrede in November 1855 gesluit. Terselfdertyd het die wyse waarop hulle die verskillende inheemse groepe teen mekaar afgespeel het, inheemse leiers genoodsaak om die Traktaat van Hoachanas in 1858 te sluit, 'n verdrag wat aan hulle 'n gemeenskaplike forum teen die mynmaatskappye sou verskaf. Nadat Jonker en sy volgelinge onder meer op Grootwarmfontein en Okapuka gewoon het, het hulle in 1858 na Okahandja verhuis. Hiervandaan het Jonker betrokke geraak in die Ovambo-politiek. Dit het hom twee jaar later, toe longsiekte die verkryging van vee in die binneland onmoontlik gemaak het, die geleentheid gebied om die Ovambo te gaan beroof. Jonker het siek van hierdie roof tog af teruggekeer en op 16 Augustus 1861 op Okahandja gesterf. Hy is opgevolg deur sy oudste seun, Christiaan Afrikaner. Na sy dood het dit duidelik geword dat die Afrikaner-Oorlams hulle magsposisie hoofsaaklik aan Jonker se leierskap te danke gehad het. Deur'n kombinasie van magsvertoon en diplomasie en die manier waarop hy mense- en groepsverhoudinge gemanipuleer het, het hy vir bykans veertig jaar die pas aangegee vir gebeure in feitlik die hele landstreek tussen die Oranje- en Kuneneriviere.

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