Episode 29 – Murder, massacre and pacification of the Roodezand Khoi while settler rebel Barbier meets a grisly end.

This is episode 29 and we’re dealing with the pacification of the Khoisan in 1739. The Bushman War of that year had broken out as we’ve heard over repeated incursions into Khoi territory by settlers who’d abused the hospitality of Captain Gal of the Great Namaqua – then shot him and eight of his family for good measure before driving off most of his cattle.

This was the last straw for Khoi who rose up and began burning Dutch farms along the Olifant’s River. Not to be confused with the Olifants River in the far north of the country – Limpopo province – in fact the Olifants flows through the Kruger Park. No, our Olifants is in the Cape.

The Olifants here rises in the Winterhoek Mountains near modern day Ceres and flows northwesterly through a deep valley that widens downstream near Clanwilliam and drains into the Atlantic ocean.

Remember last week we heard that the Frenchman and company deserter Estienne Barbier had been hiding out in this area protected by various frontier’s folk as he tried to instigate a settler uprising against the VOC.

Ranged against him were men of the company including the powerful owner of many farms, Kruywagen. The latter had been hunting Barbier and trying to pacify the Khoi at the same time and when his commando returned to Stellenbosch at the end of May 1739, Barbier was still on the run.

The Governor had declared Barbier enemy number one and placed a bounty on his head – dead or alive. The northern frontier zone was unstable but the major military operation required to end the fighting would only begin in Spring.

In the meantime the pressure on trying to maintain some kind of semblance of law and order fell on the shoulders of the various veldkorporaals like Barend Lubbe. He was in charge of the Olifant’s River and was instructed to make sure he did not antagonize the “Hottentot Pokkebaas Claas” or any other peaceful Khoi.