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Kgosi Galeshewe

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 26 AUGUST

26 August 1897, Kgosi Galeshewe captured by colonial forces.
26 August 1899, Despite being held 0-0 by Rhodesia in their final game, Griquas win the rugby Currie Cup. Played 3, won 2, drawn 1.
26 August 1902, Farewell supper and concert to the 1sr Royal Munster Fusiliers.
26 August 1957 Henry Solomon, after 42 years a town councillor, awarded Freedom of the city.

DID YOU KNOW

In July 1897, Kgosi Galeshewe (pictured), managed to escape from the Langeberge, where Luka Jantjie’s Batlhaping were besieged by a 2326 strong Cape Colonial force under the command of Colonel Edmund Dalgety of the Cape Mounted Rifles.

This escape by Galeshewe was a good ten days before a 1700 strong Colonial force attacked and defeated Jantjies’ force on the 30th and 31st July 1897.

On 21 July Galeshewe and some 24 armed Bathlaping had stealthily passed through the Colonial lines via the Korannaberg on horseback when they were observed by a unit of the Cape Mounted Police.

They were ambushed by the Police, five of Galeshewe’s men being killed and ten wounded. Galeshewe was also wounded but managed to make good his escape from the ambush with the remainder of his men, continuing northwards towards Bechuanaland (Botswana).

On 22 July Cape Town heard the news of Galeshewe’s successful escape and immediately contacted Captain George Dennison in Vryburg to raise a force locally and to capture Galeshewe. Dennison’s instructions were to take his force to Khuis on the Molopo River and ensure that Galeshewe did not cross over the border into Bechuanaland.

It took Dennison a week to raise his force of 120 colonists, mostly farmers, and 20 Basuto (Basotho) trackers. By 1 August Dennison’s force, complete with twenty wagons, carts and rations for ten weeks, left Vryburg, and took nearly three weeks to reach Khuis.

They encamped at Khuis and sunk wells in the Molopo to water their horses. Patrols around the area took prisoner some local Batswana, and information was obtained about exactly where Galeshewe was in hiding.

On the night of 25 August Galeshewe and his surviving force were surrounded by Dennison’s Stellaland Horse.

At sunrise on the 26th the Stellaland Horse advanced on Galeshewe and his group, surrounding them, and after a very brief skirmish captured the party in the sand dunes. The surrender came with Galeshewe’s force not offering any resistance, having been surprised by the raid, which would in the circumstances probably have proved futile and fatal.

Among the seven captured were the wounded Galeshewe, his uncle Morebonoke, his brothers Mootametsi and Telekela, Mogodi and two who remain un-named.

In February of 1898 Kgosi Galeshewe was sentenced in Kimberley to ten years imprisonment with hard labour and served five years on the Breakwater in Cape Town before being released. He stayed in Greenpoint Kimberley for a short time before settling at Modutung (near Taung) where he died in 1927.

PT-Breakwater_Prison-1897

Breakwater Prison 1897

This was the final act of the last uprising against the Colonial forces, the Cape Colony being absorbed into the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Also pictured is the Breakwater Prison as well as the Breakwater as it looks today.

PT_Breakwater_Prison-2016

Breakwater Prison as it looks now

(Sources utilised include the Diamond Fields Advertiser, the Cape Argus, the history of the CMR, as well as Kevin Shillington’s brilliant work on Luka Jantjie published in 2011. Thanks to the Kimberley Africana Library for their assistance.)

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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