Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 630 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
KAFFRARIA, the descriptive name given to the S.E. part of the Cape province, South Africa. Kaffraria, i.e. the land of the Kaffirs (q.v.), is no longer an official designation. It used to comprise the districts now known as King William's Town and East London, which formed British Kaffraria, annexed to Cape Colony in 1865, and the territory beyond the Kei River south of the Drakensberg Mountains as far as the Natal frontier, known as Kaffraria proper. As a geographical term it is still used to indicate the Transkeian territories of the Cape provinces comprising the four administrative divisions of Transkei, Pondoland, Tembuland and Griqualand East, incorporated into Cape Colony at various periods between 1879 and 1894. They have a total area of 18,310 sq. m., and a population (1904) of 834,644, of whom 16,777 were whites. Excluding Pondoland—not counted previously to 1904—the population had increased from 487,364 in 1891 to 631,887 in 1904. Physical Features.—The physical characteristics of Kaffraria bear a general resemblance to those of the Cape province proper. The country rises from sea-level in a series of terraces to the rugged range of the Drakensberg. Between that range and the coast-lands are many subsidiary ranges with fertile valleys through which a large number of rivers make their way to the Indian Ocean. These rivers have very rapid falls in comparison to their length and when less than 40 m. from the coast are still 2000 ft. above sea-level. The chief, beginning at the south, are the Kei, the Bashee, the Umtata, the St John's or Umzimvubu, and the Umtamvuna, which separates Kaffraria from Natal. The St John's River rises in the Drakensberg near the Basuto-Natal frontier. The river valley has a length of 140 m., the river with its many twists being double that length. It receives numerous tributaries, one, the Tsitza, possessing a magnificent waterfall, the river leaping over an almost vertical precipice of 375 ft. The St John's reaches the sea between precipitous cliffs some 1200 ft. high and covered with verdure. The mouth is obstructed by a sand bar over which there is 14 ft. of water. None of the rivers of Kaffraria except the St John's is navigable. Kaffraria is one of the most fertile regions in South Africa. The mountain gorges abound in fine trees, thick forest and bush cover the river banks, grass grows luxuriantly in the lower regions, and the lowlands and valleys are favourable to almost any kind of fruit, field and garden cultivation. The coast districts are very hot in summer, the temperature from October to April on an average varying from 70° to 90° F., while in winter the day temperature is seldom below 50°, though the nights are very cold. But the variation in altitude places climates of all grades within easy reach, from the burning coast to the often snow-clad mountain. Thunder-storms are frequent in summer; the winters are generally dry. On the whole the climate is extremely healthy. At St John's are sulphur springs. A considerable area is devoted to the raising of wheat and other cereals, especially in the northern district (Griqualand East), where in the higher valleys are many farms owned by Europeans. Large quantities of stock are raised. Most of the land is held by the natives under tribal tenure, and the ease with which their wants are supplied is detrimental to the full cultivation of the land. Kaffraria is, however, one of the chief recruiting grounds for labour throughout South Africa. Most of the white inhabitants are engaged in trade. Towns and Communication.—The chief town is Kokstad (q.v.), pop. (1904), 2903, the capital of Griqualand East. Umtata (2100 ft. above the sea, pop. 2342) on the river of the same name, capital of Tembuland, is the residence of an assistant chief magistrate, headqquarters of a division of the Cape Mounted Rifles, and seat of the Anglican bishopric of Kaffraria. The principal buildings are the cathedral, a Gothic structure, built 1901-1906, and the town-hall, a fine building in Renaissance style, erected 1907-1908. Port St John is the chief town in Pondoland, and the only harbour of the country. Butterworth is the chief town in Transkei. Cala (pop. about i000), in the N.W. part of Tembuland, is the educational centre of Kaffraria. A railway, 107 M. long, the first link in the direct Cape-Natal line, runs from Indwe, 65 m. from Sterkstroom Junction on the main line from East London to the Transvaal, to Maclear, an agricultural centre in Griqualand East. Another railway parallel but south of that described also traverses Kaffraria. Starting from Amabele, a station on the main line from East London to the north, it goes via Butterworth (132 M. from East London) to Umtata (234 m.). Administration and Justice.-The Cape administrative and judicial system is in force, save as modified by special enactments of the Cape parliament. A " Native Territories Penal Code " which came into operation on the 1st of January 1887 governs the relations of the natives, who are under the jurisdiction of a chief magistrate (resident at Cape Town) with subordinate magistrates in the Territories. In civil affairs the tribal organization and native laws are maintained. No chief, however, exercises criminal jurisdiction. Since 1898 certain provisions of the Glen Grey Act have been applied to Kaffraria. (see GLEN GREY). The revenue is included in the ordinary budget of the Cape province. The expenditure on Kaffraria considerably exceeds the revenue derived from it. The franchise laws are the same as in the Cape proper. Though the Kaffirs out, number the whites by fifty to one, white men form the bulk of the electorate, which in 1904 numbered 4778. Religion.—Numbers of Protestant missionary societies have churches and educational establishments in Kaffraria, but, except in Fingoland, the bulk of the Kaffirs are heathen. The Griquas profess Christianity and have their own churches and ministers. The Anglican diocese of St John's, Kaffraria, was founded in 1873. Annexation to the Cape.—The story of the conflicts between the Kaffir tribes and the Cape colonists is told under CAFE COLONY. As early as 1819 Kaffirland, or Kaffraria, was held not to extend west beyond the Keiskamma River. The region east of that river as far as the Kei River became in 1847 the Crown colony of British Kaffraria, and was annexed to Cape Colony in 1865. The Transkeian territories remained in nominal independence until 1875, when the Tembu sought British protection. An inter-tribal war in 1877 between Fingo and Gcaleka resulted in the territory of the Gcaleka chief Kreli being occupied by the British. It was not, however, till 1879 that Fingoland and the Idutywa Reserve, together with the district then commonly called Noman's-land, were proclaimed an integral part of the Cape. About this time most of the rest of Kaffraria came under British control, but it was 1885 before Gcalekaland, the coast region of Transkei, and the various districts comprising Tembuland—Bomvanaland on the coast, Tembuland Proper and Emigrant Tembuland—were annexed to the colony. By the annexation, the frontier of the colony was carried to the Umtata River, so that by 1885 only Pondoland, fronting on the Indian Ocean, separated the Cape from Natal. In Pondoland, Port St John, proclaimed British territory in 1881, was, along with the lower reaches of the St John's River, incorporated with Cape Colony in 1884; in 1886 the Xesibe country (Mount Ayliff) was annexed to the Cape and added to Griqua-land East; and in the following year Rhode Valley was included within the boundary line. The rest of Pondoland, chiefly in virtue of a British protectorate established over all the coast region in 1885, was already more or less under British control, and in 1894 it was annexed to the Cape in its entirety. Thus the whole of Kaffraria was incorporated in Cape Colony, with the exception of some 1550 sq. m., then part of Noman's-land, annexed by Natal in 1866 and named Alfred county. To the wise administration of Major Sir Henry G. Elliot, who served in Kaffraria in various official capacities from 1877 to 1903, the country owes much of its prosperity. Particulars concerning each of the four divisions of Kaffraria follow. Griqualand East (area, 7594 sq. m.), so called to distinguish it from Griqualand West, a district north of the Orange River, lies between Basutoland (N.W.), Natal (N.E.), Tembuland (S.W.) and Pondoland (S.E.). It occupies the southern slopes of the Drakensberg or the fertile valleys at their feet. It includes most of the region formerly called Noman's-land, and afterwards named Adam Kok's Land from the Griqua chief who occupied it in 1862 with the consent of the British authorities, and governed the country till his death in 1876, establishing a volksraad on the Dutch model. The Griquas are still ruled by an officially appointed head-man. The majority of the inhabitants are Basutos and Kaffirs (Pondomisi, Ama-Baka and other tribes). The Griquas number about 6000. Since its annexation to Cape Colony Griqualand East has made fairly rapid progress. The population rose from 121,000 in 1881 to 222,685 in 1904, of whom 5901 were whites. Stock-breeding on the uplands, tillage on the lower slopes of the Drakensberg, are the chief industries. On these slopes and uplands the climate is delightful and well suited to Europeans. There is considerable trade with Basutoland in grain and stock, and through Kokstad with Port St John and Port Shepstone, Natal. Much of the best agricultural land is owned by Europeans. Tembuland (area, 4122 sq. M.), which lies S.W. of Griqualand East and comprises the districts of Tembuland Proper, Emigrant Tembuland and Bomvanaland, takes its name from, the Tembu nation, called sometimes Tambookies, one of the most powerful of the Kaffir groups. In the national genealogies the Tembu hold an honourable position, being traditionally descended from Tembu, elder brother of Xosa, from whom most of the other Kaffirs claim descent. The inhabitants increased from about 16o,000 in 1881 to 231,472 in 1904, of whom 8056 were whites. The chief town is Umtata. Transkei (area, 2552 sq. m.) comprises the districts of Fingoland, the Idutywa Reserve and Gcalekaland, this last being named from the Gcaleka nation, who claim to be the senior branch of the Xosa family, the principal royal line of the Kaffir tribes. They still form the chief element of the population, which rose from 136,000 in 1881 to 177,730 in 1904 (1707 whites). Here are some prosperous missionary stations, where the natives are taught agriculture, mechanical industries and a knowledge of letters. The heroic deeds of Hinza, Kreli and other chiefs famous in the wars are still remembered; but witchcraft, rain-making and other pagan practices seem to have died out. Even more advanced in all social respects are the Fingo, who give their name to the district of Fingoland, and also form the bulk of the population in the Idutywa Reserve. They wear European clothes, support their schools by voluntary contributions, edit newspapers, translate English poetry, set their national songs to correct music, and the majority profess Christianity. The industrial institution of Blythswood, .about 20 M. N.W. of Butterworth, is a branch of Lovedale (q.v.), and is largely supported by the Fingo. Pondoland (area, 4040 sq. m.; pop. (1904), 202,757 (including 1113 whites), an estimated increase of 36,000 since 189r) is bounded E. by the sea, N. by Natal, W. by Griqualand East, by S. and Tembuland. In Pondoland the primitive organization of the natives has been little altered and the influence of the chiefs is very great. Land is held almost wholly in tribal tenure, though a number of whites possess farms acquired before the annexation of the country. The Pondo have shown some appreciation of the benefits of education. See G. McCall Theal's History of South Africa and other works cited under CAPE COLONY; also The Native or Transkeian Territories, by C. C. Henkel (Hamburg, 1903), a useful handbook by an ex-official in the Transkeian Territories.
End of Article: KAFFRARIA
KAFFIRS (Arabic Kafir, an unbeliever)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.