Keith Smith

Harry Smith’s Last Throw

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“The War of Mlanjeni was the longest conflict in South African history until the second Anglo-Boer War. The loss of life was substantially heavier than that of the Zulu War of 1879 and the political after-effects of it were significantly greater than those that followed the Zulu War. The Zulu War has been the subject of numerous accounts but the silence surrounding the Eighth Frontier War is deafening. Harry Smith's Last Throw fills this gap: a moving history, vividly drawn out using eye-witness accounts. The narrative is not limited to the British perspective. Xhosa accounts have been translated (many for the first time) to avoid an Anglo-centric bias. For both sides by the 8th War there was a great deal of blood to avenge and brutal killings were perpetrated by many combatants. The author provides a colorful backdrop, explaining how the Dutch East India Company came to the Cape to establish a provision station for ships on the way to its East Indies empire. Dutch Burghers settled there but the Company had no interest in Africa itself. In order to be viable farms had to be large and this created a class of independent-minded who looked increasingly to the interior of Africa, pushing the Colonys borders. The wars with the Xhosa were the result of the eventual expansion of these boundaries into Xhosa territory.”
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517 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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