Hierdie is hoofsaaklik om die Voortrekkers te bespreek. This is mainly to speak about the Voortrekkers of South Africa. See Afrikaans version under the English.
The Voortrekkers (Afrikaans and Dutch for pioneers, literally "those who trek ahead", "fore-trekkers") were emigrants during the 1830s and 1840s who left the Cape Colony (British at the time, but founded by the Dutch) moving into the interior of what is now South Africa. The Great Trek consisted of a number of mass movements under a number of different leaders including Louis Tregardt, Hendrik Potgieter, Sarel Cilliers, Pieter Uys, Gerrit Maritz, Piet Retief and Andries Pretorius.
The Voortrekkers mainly came from the farming community of the Eastern Cape although some (such as Piet Retief) originally came from the Western Cape farming community while others (such as Gerrit Maritz) were successful tradesmen in the frontier towns. Some of them were wealthy men though most were not as they were from the poorer communities of the frontier. It was recorded that the 33 Voortrekker families at the Battle of Vegkop lost 100 horses, between 4,000 and 7,000 cattle, and between 40,000 and 50,000 sheep. These figures appear greatly exaggerated. Other members of the trekking parties were of Trekboer stock who came from a life of semi-nomadic herding; yet others were employees, many of whom had been slaves only a few years earlier.
The reasons for the mass emigration from the Cape Colony have been much discussed over the years. Afrikaner historiography has emphasized the hardships endured by the frontier farmers which they blamed on British policies of pacifying the Xhosa tribes. Other historians have emphasized the harshness of the life in the Eastern Cape (which suffered one of its regular periods of drought in the early 1830s) compared to the attractions of the fertile country of Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Growing land shortages have also been cited as a contributing factor. The true reasons were obviously very complex and certainly consisted of both "push" factors (including the general dissatisfaction of life under British rule) and "pull" factors (including the desire for a better life in better country.)
The Voortrekkers were mainly of Trekboer (migrating farmer) descent living in the eastern frontiers of the Cape. Hence, their ancestors had long established a semi-nomadic existence of trekking into expanding frontiers.
*Battle of Blood River
Voortrekkers migrated into Natal and negotiated a land treaty with the Zulu King Dingane. Upon reconsideration, Dingane doublecrossed the Voortrekkers, killing their leader Piet Retief along with half of the Voortrekker settlers who had followed them to Natal. Other Voortrekkers migrated north to the Waterberg area, where some of them settled and began ranching operations, which activities enhanced the pressure placed on indigenous wildlife by pre-existing tribesmen, whose Bantu predecessors had previously initiated such grazing in the Waterberg region. These Voortrekkers arriving in the Waterberg area had believed they were in the Nile River area of Egypt based upon their understanding of the local topography
Andries Pretorius filled the leadership vacuum hoping to enter into negotiations for peace if Dingane would restore the land he had granted to Retief. When Dingane sent an impi (armed force) of around twelve thousand Zulu warriors to attack the local contingent of Voortrekkers in response, the Voortrekkers defended themselves at a battle at Nacome River (called the Battle of Blood River) on 16 December 1838 where the vastly outnumbered Voortrekker contingent defeated the Zulu warriors. This date has hence been known as the Day of the Vow as the Voortrekkers made a vow to God that they would honor the date if he were to deliver them from what they viewed as almost insurmountable odds. The victory of the besieged Voortrekkers at Nacome River was considered a turning point. The Natalia Republic was set up in 1839 but was annexed by Britain in 1843 whereupon most of the local Boers trekked further north joining other Voortrekkers who had established themselves in the region.
* Struggle against the Ndebele
Armed conflict, first with the Ndebele people under Mzilikazi in the area which was to become the Transvaal, then against the Zulus under Dingane, went the Voortrekkers' way, mostly because of their tactics, their horsemanship and the effectiveness of their muzzle-loading guns. This success led to the establishment of a number of small Boer republics, which slowly coalesced into the Orange Free State and the South African Republic. These two states would survive until their annexation in 1900 by United Kingdom during the Second Boer War.
The Voortrekkers are commemorated by the Voortrekker Monument located on Monument Hill overlooking Pretoria, the erstwhile capital of the South African Republic and the current and historic administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa. Pretoria was named after the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius.
Church of the Vow : In 1841 the victorious Trekkers built The Church of the Vow at Pietermaritzburg, and passed the obligation to keep the vow on to their descendants. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Vow ) and (http://www.voortrekkermuseum.co.za/exhibits/church-of-the-vow-2/)
The Voortrekkers had a distinctive flag, used mainly by the Voortrekkers who followed Andries Hendrik Potgieter, which is why it was also known as the Potgieter Flag. This flag was used as the flag of the Zoutpansberg Republic until this republic was incorporated into the Transvaal Republic also known as the South African Republic. A version of this flag was used at Potchefstroom, one of the first independent Boer towns and republics established by local Voortrekkers.
Die Voortrekkers het tydens die Groot Trek vanaf 1836 vanuit die Kaapkolonie na die binneland van suidelike Afrika getrek. Meeste trekkers het met hulle hele gesin en al hulle besittings, vee en werkers ingesluit, vanuit die Oos-Kaap met ossewaens getrek. Die rede vir die massa-migrasie is steeds nie heeltemaal duidelik nie. Dit word gemeen dat die Frans-Nederduitse setlaars ongelukkig was oor die Britse regering se hardkoppigheid en hul streng beleid. Dit word ook gemeen dat die natuurlike wyding van die Transvaal en Natal meer aanloklik as die Kaap en die droë Karoo was.
Van die vernaamste leiers was Piet Retief, Gerrit Maritz, Andries Pretorius, Louis Tregardt, Hendrik Potgieter, Sarel Cilliers en Pieter Uys.
Onder leiding van Gerrit Maritz en Piet Retief het 'n groep voortrekkers na Natal getrek in die rigting van die huidige hoofstad, Pietermaritzburg. Hulle het onderhandel met die leier van die Zoeloes, die regerende stam in daardie gebied, om 'n stuk grond te verkry. Die leier van die Zoeloes, Dingaan, het die Voortrekkers toe om die bos gelei met die transaksie; 'n groot groep trekkers, waaronder Piet Retief, is deur Dingaan laat vermoor. Later is die oorlewendes deur 'n oorweldigende zoeloemag aangeval te Bloedrivier (vandag Nacome-rivier). Die Voortrekkers het egter die Slag van Bloedrivier gewen en later stig hulle die Republiek van Natalia. Dié is later deur die Britse Ryk oorgeneem.
Teenstrydig met algemene denke was die Voortrekkerbeweging in die 1840's/1850's nie 'n wit beweging nie, maar wel 'n wit-geleide beweging. Daar was menigte 'boere' wie se swart slawe na vryspraak vrywillig saamgetrek het a.g.v. die politieke ongerief in die Kaap.
More can be read on the following Wikipedia page.