Adam Renders, SV/PROG (1822 - c.1869)

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Nicknames: "Jan Adam Rainer"
Death: Died in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
Managed by: June Barnes
Last Updated:

About Adam Renders, SV/PROG

Adam Renders

From "First Steps in Civilizing Rhodesia" by Jeannie M Brodie.

Written by his son Hendrik Jacobus - (quoted here verbatim).

"My father was born in germany, in 1922, of German parentage. At a very early age he emigrated to America, and from there, at the age of about twenty, adventure led him to South Africa on an American trading ship. In Natal, he joined the Voortrekkers, and along with the Boer leader, Andries Pretorius, he crossed the Vaal river after the defeat of the Boers at Boomplaats, in 1948. They eventually settled at a place the named Zoutspansberg, not far from the southern borner of Mashonaland.

While living there he married Elsie Pretorius, the leader's daughter. Every winter Adam renders, with a small party of friends - Roets, Suel, Marnwick, Sultana, and a J. de Cout, used to cross the Limpopo river into what is today Southern Rhodesia in order to trade, hunt, and explore the country. In the winter of 1867 (not 1868 as some books say), Adam Renders came upon the Zimbabwe Ruins.

He intended to annex the country for the Transvaal Republic, and having gained the confidence of Sangoma, the chief of the Mashonas in that region, he promised him guns, ammunition and help, to defend himself against the neighbouring tribes, in exchange for the land reaching from the ruins - and including them - to the Limpopo River. Sangoma agreed, and render's party returned to Zoutpansberg to get the guns and ammunition.

In 1868, my father again went to Mashonaland, bringing along with him his wife and family. he showed my mother the land and the place where he intended to make his homestead. It was near where Morgenster mission station stands today. But mother strongly disapproved of settling so far from civilization, and amongst the native population. and no wonder! Mother carried with her to the day of her death, the scars from seventeen assegai wounds which she received during fighting with the Zulus in the Transvaal. She also knew that there was continual danger from raiding parties od Matabele warriors. The state of fear in which the natives of these parts lived can scarcely be imagined.

So father took her back to the Transvaal, but he himself was quite determined to come to that district each year during the healthy season, and to persuade more and more people to join him in making their home in that beautiful region.

One time when father and his friends trekked into the country, they found Sangoma in trouble again with neighbouring chiefs. an expedition was organized to drive Sangoma's enemies away. This was successful but on the return journey , a native shot a poisoned arrow at my father and wounded him in the shoulder. such brought about his death, and he was buried by his gun bearer about eleven miles north of Zimbabwe Ruins. Before he passed away he wrote a note to my mother explaining everything.

Sangoma was much grieved to hear of the death of his protector, and he sent messengers to my mother to come and fetch Sadam's (as the natives called him) belongings, which consisted of cattle, ivory, etc., which he had traded. But mother was afraid to come to the country again, as she feared that Sangoma's enemies would lay a trap for her. The country was still in a very wild state.

A few years later, Njobo, the gun bearer offered to show my brother, W A Renders, father's cattle and ivory, and to explain to Sangoma that he was Adam's son. A the time, however, circumstances did not allow my brother to go, so we never got any of father's goods".

The above account doesn't support the claim that Renders lived with a native woman - the daughter of chief Bika's, with whom he fathered a child. Chief Bika was a village headman under Chief Charumbira who resided near the Bondolfi Mission on the western foot of Chigaramboni Mountain.

However - the following extract from the notes of Jack Carruthers does.

"The Zimbabwe Ruins were presumed to be built before 1500 AD. The early European visitors to the ruins (after the Portuguese in 1560) were Arab slave traders, followed by the missionaries, ivory hunters and traders. The hunter Adam RENDER born in Germany, arrived in Natal in the 1840's and settled in the Zoutpansberg district. They often ventured up north to trade with the natives. RENDER's son said that the ruins were unexpectedly come upon in 1867 by his father. Mrs RENDER visited the ruins and was probably the first white woman to see them but she refused to settle there, so far from civilisation. RENDER returned in 1869 and settled without his family, where Morgenster mission stands today, he lived there with the chief's daughter, with whom he fathered a child. It would appear RENDER was there when Carl Mauch arrived between August and September 1871 and apparently showed Mauch the ruins under the cover of darkness, due to the unfriendliness of the natives at the time'.

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Adam Renders, SV/PROG's Timeline

1822
1822
1863
January 30, 1863
Age 41
1864
May 18, 1864
Age 42
1867
August 10, 1867
Age 45
Transvaal, South Africa
1869
September 20, 1869
Age 47
South Africa
1869
Age 47
Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
????