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The Difaqane: The Mfecane in the Southern Sotho Area, 1822-24

William F. Lye
The Journal of African History
Vol. 8, No. 1 (1967), pp. 107-131
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/180054
Page Count: 25
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The Difaqane: The Mfecane in the Southern Sotho Area, 1822-24
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Abstract

The accounts of the Difaqane written in all the major histories of South Africa are based on three books which were written over fifty years ago: G. W. Stow, The Native Races of South Africa; D. F. Ellenberger and J. C. Macgregor, The History of the Basuto; and especially the earliest, G. M. Theal, History of South Africa. Certain contradictions exist between the story as told in these accounts and the evidence brought to light by the publication of the journals of Robert Moffat and David Livingstone. The object of this study is to reconstruct the events of the wars from the broadest possible evidence to give a more complete description, and thereby to test the revision implicit in the new information. This revision is required properly to identify the participants in the battles which were observed by Europeans in the western Tswana lands, especially the battle at Dithakong. In the earlier histories all the battles were attributed to the 'Mantatee', a name properly applied to one group of Tlokwa ruled at the time by the regentess, MmaNthatisi. Now it is possible to show that these Tlokwa were never in the west, but restricted their migrations to the valley of the Caledon River. Nor can their enemies, the Hlubi of Mpangazita and the Ngwane of Matiwane, be blamed, for they too remained in the east. Rather, the victims of these three bands, the Sotho peoples of the Caledon valley, can be identified as the aggressors among the Tswana beyond the Vaal. Moffat identified the Phuting of Tshane and the Hlakwana of Nkgaraganye. Livingstone demonstrated the role played by Sebetwane and his Fokeng, and Thomas Hodgson implicated Moletsane, the Taung. While many gaps in our information still exist, this reconstruction seems to justify the revision of the accepted account of the Difaqane.

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