Cobus van Bosch

Pondo chiefs at Bizana, 1897. (Oil on canvas, 50cm x 76cm, 2013).
Source: Western Cape Archives

In 1894 Pondoland, the territory of the Xhosa-speaking Pondo people in the Eastern Cape, was forced to become part of the Cape Colony when it was annexed by the British. In 1897 economic disaster was added to its loss of independence when Pondoland was struck by the rinderpest (cattle plague). As a result, many young men were forced into migrant labour on the Witwatersrand gold mines.