Disillusionment and the Great Trek.

The Cape Boers soon became utterly disillusioned with British rule, taxation and punishments for non- compliance with local laws. These Boers were a hardy new race; they called themselves Afrikaners and they fiercely resented any intrusion with their way of life, especially politically motivated executions. They owed allegiance only to God, themselves and to Africa (hence the name Afrikaners). They were fully aware that the whole of unexploredAfricalay to the east and the north; surely it was possible, many asked, to move there and live in peace? Being devoutly religious, they fervently prayed for a solution and, inevitably, the solution stared them in the face. Because they had sought help through prayer, the obvious answer took on a religious significance and many Boers came to believe their trek from the Cape was ordered by God. The final indignity to be endured, which precipitated the trek, came in 1834 with yet more British legislation, including the Act of Emancipation, which finally abolished slavery and gave equality to all people, regardless of their race, colour, creed or station in life. As prodigious users of slaves, this was too much for some of the wealthier Boers who responded by selling their farms and heading for the uncharted African interior. They called themselves Voortrekkers, those who trek to the fore.


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