Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

The Voortrekkers - The Attack on Mosega.

The Voortrekkers under Potgieter attack Mosega, capital of the Matabele but fall out over who is to get the booty - the cattle.

Hendrik Potgieter Attacks Mzilikazi's Mosega

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At Blesberg, the trek wagons continued to pour in, including one hundred wagons under Gert Maritz, not a farmer but an accomplished administrator and artisan. On 7th December 1836, a meeting was held that elected Potgieter as military commander of the trek and Maritz - now a rival to Potgieter - as administrative head.

On January 2nd 1837, a small commando of 107 men set out from Blesberg, travelling past the site of the present Pretoria and then west to within range of Mosega, the complex of kraals that formed the Matabele capital, a total distance of some 320 miles.

The Attack on Mosega

At dawn on the morning of January 17th 1837, the Voortrekkers set upon the first of the kraals with total surprise, killing men, women and children. Herding survivors before them and torching the kraals, the Voortrekkers had laid waste to Mzilikazi's capital Mosega by the end of the morning leaving not a single warrior alive. No Voortrekkers were killed. Mzilikazi was away at the time at Kapain.

However, the great military kraal at Kapain was still intact and the horses were too tired to make the extra 60 miles. The trekkers, several thousand head of cattle and a party of American missionaries (that had elected to join them rather than stay) retired rapidly back across the Vaal River before the Matabele could regroup.

There then arose the first taste of discord between the leaders. Maritz wanted the cattle booty divided equally but Potgieter wanted back what had been lost at Vegkop - eventually getting his way. Potgieter moved out of Blesberg to make contact with Tregardt only to find that he had already left for Delagoa Bay and he thus returned to the Vet River to await the next turn of events.

Next: The Great Trek takes Shape

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