Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

Botched Executions at Slagter's Nek

A dispute between a Dutch farmer and the British lead to his being shot dead and his friends facing a botched execution.

The Executions at Slagters Nek

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The Final Straw

Matters came to a head in 1815 near Graaff Reinet. Soldiers were dispatched to arrest one Frederick Bezuidenhout who had for two years failed to answer allegations against him by a former servant. Apart from disputing the allegations, Bezuidenhout was riddled with gout and could not ride a horse.

A skirmish ensued during which Bezuidenhout was killed. At his graveside his brother Johannes vowed to rid the country of the tyrants.

A minor rebellion followed during which Johannes was also killed. Of his followers who surrendered, five were condemned to death at Slagter's (Butcher's) Nek. At the public execution, four of the ropes failed and riems (thongs) from a nearby wagon had to be used to hang the remaining four at the second attempt.

The men were condemned to death although no one had been shot. Despite the fact that the condemning judge was Dutch, this episode outraged the Dutch and marked a turning point in Afrikaner history.

Talks of Trekking

In many Boer homes, talk of moving away from the 'Kaffirs' (kafir - Arabic for 'unbeliever') and the English increased. The Boers could not move further east but there was frequent talk of an empty country to the north.

This country was not unknown. For many years, traders and hunters had crossed the Orange River into TransOrangia. One intrepid Afrikaner - Coenraad Buys - who had fallen foul of the law, had trekked all the way up to the northern Transvaal with his assorted wives, children and some English deserters. These 'Buys Volk' were known to have settled in lush, well-watered country in which their descendents live today.

As if this incident was not bad enough, things were to get worse for the settlers ...

Next: The Sixth Border War - 1834

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Natal Accommodation Guide
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