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South Africa - The Griquas of Philippolis and Kokstad

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  • Frederick Thomas Philipps (1810 - 1845)
    1820 British Settler Thomas Philipps Leader of this Party, together with his wife Charlotte Harriet Arbouin 41, and 7 children, were members Philipp's Party of 30 people on the Kennersley Castle . ...
  • Adam Kok ii (1771 - 1835)
  • Cornelius I Kok (1740 - 1822)
  • Adam Kok, I (1710 - 1795)

From "Children of the Mist" by Scott Balson:

It was in 1613 that a British East Indiaman, the Hector, anchored at Table Bay and took two unwilling hostages including the young local Chief Coree. They were taken back to London where they were shown English ways and taught the English language. The next year Coree was returned to the Cape after his companion died through the cold of the English winter. The experience left the Chief with deep misgivings about the intentions of those who visited their shores and when a small group of English convicts were left at Saldania, as the region was then known by the British, his people set upon them killing several and putting fear into the hearts of the others who fled in a long boat to Robben Island. The vicious attacks on the first white settlers stopped the British from settling the Cape of Good Hope some thirty six years before the Dutch.

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The Griguas, a people of very mixed origins, were the descendants of early Boer frontiersmen, the Khoisan tribes, escaped slaves, free blacks and of African tribesmen.

They gained control of a large area of southern Orange Free State, where they established a prosperous state. Whilst many were Christians they were not dominated by the missionaries. Many were literate, and they were very good at developing their own wealth through various activities including ivory hunting and ranching.

The migration of the Cape settlers forced them to leave their land, and they trekked across the Drakensburg to set up a new state in Grigualand East on the boarders of Natal. As the frontier region advanced further westwards they were yet again under pressure to move and in 1879 their country was annexed to the Cape Colony, and their political and social structure collapsed.

The aim of this project is to explore more fully the history and activities of these people. There is much online about them and I am in the process of reading Robert Ross's book - Adam Kok's Griquas'.

Interim References and Extracts

"... the Khoi Khoi (men of men) or Hottentots were the foundation of the Griqua people born out of generations of shame. The raiding by the first Dutch settlers of the Hottentot cattle and sheep herds caused conflict from the earliest days, this was followed by the oppressive state of serfdom then slavery that the Hottentots found themselves being forced to endure across the colony. Rhyne's view of the blacks as "barbaric" prevailed among the growing white community who plundered their herds and took their lands and their freedom. A barrier was erected to keep out the Hottentots from the growing white settlement at Cape Town. This barrier is today marked by the historic 350 year old van Riebeek's Hedge of wild, or Hottentot almond (Brabejum stellatifolium) that sprawls through part of Kirstenbosch Gardens (see image right). Also expelled were the offspring of young white men with Hottentot women a mixed race they called the Bastards ("Bastaard Clients"). To make matters worse, much worse in 1713 a major outbreak of smallpox devastated the Hottentot population in the Cape Colony.

The cohabitation of white male farmers with female Hottentot slaves on remote farms across the Cape colony dramatically expanded the number of Bastards. The Bastards saw themselves as better than the Hottentots (source White supremacy and black resistance in pre-industrial South Africa) and joined the white settlers in their raiding parties - learning a depth of savagery for which they would later be slammed. Large numbers of this new group of outcast Bastards and indigenous people became "troublesome" and were expelled from the Cape of Good Hope after having their traditional lands stolen from them under white man's laws. They were expelled together with law breaking white settlers who joined them in lands away from the colony's influence. Roving gangs of Bastards on horseback, known as the Bergenaars, started raiding native tribes further inland and pillaging their herds - even reaching the Orange river which they crossed before they settled at places like Hardcastle. From these earliest times the Bastards were led by the Kok family".

Adam Kok

- information about the origins of Adam Kok. He was apparently fathered in 1710 by the burgher Cornelius Jacobz with a woman of mixed slave (African slave and Khoi) heritage. He was named Adam by his father who thought that the Cape was a paradise, on his arrival at the Dutch settlement. To Cornelius way of thinking, the master of the paradise was Adam. He grew up to be an excellent cook and became known as ‘Kok’, the Dutch word for cook. Adam Kok was owned by a burgher by the name of Laubscher, from whom he bought his own manumission and became a Free Black.

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