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Things eventually began to improve the sorry state of the Voortrekkers. A ship full of provisions had arrived, the grass had begun to grow and on 22nd November 1838, Andries Pretorius and 60 men and sixty wagons arrived.
Pretorius had been a volunteer when Potgieter had sacked Kapain and had carried the news to the Voortrekkers in Natal but had returned to the Eastern Cape to farm despite being entreated to join the trek. Eventually, in October of 1838 he changed his mind and rode north, gathering men capable of taking the field as he went.
Pretorius was six feet tall with a paunch but the Zulus called him Ngalonkulu - brawny arms. He was described as shrewd, charming and sensible and lost no time after his joyous reception amongst the Voortrekkers in getting things done. He removed all the old partisan animosities and established strict military discipline.
Combined with the small trekker group from Durban, almost five hundred men and over sixty wagons loaded with provisions and gunpowder moved into Zululand to take vengeance. With them were three small muzzle loading 2½" cannons. At the end of each day, the wagons were drawn into laager and sentries posted.
The strategy was simple - march straight to Umgungundlovu until the enemy was encountered.
The would-be cleric of the Voortrekkers, Erasmus Smit had been left behind and the 'poet of the Voortrekkers' Sarel Cilliers now felt compelled to do something more than hold the daily services.
After obtaining the approval of the commando leaders, at the service at Danskraal, standing on one of the gun carriages, he promised that should they be successful against the Zulus, they would dedicate a day in honour of the event and build a church to the Lord. This pledge was repeated by all on the commando every night until the Zulus were encountered.
The Voortrekkers Covenant
"My brothers and fellow citizens, here we stand in the presence of the Holy God, creator of heaven and earth, to make a vow unto Him, that if His protection shall be with us and He give our enemy into our hand so that we might be victorious over him, that this day and date every year shall be spent as a memorial and a day of thanksgiving, just as a Sabbath is spent and that we shall erect a temple to His honor wherever it will be pleasing to Him and that we shall also instruct our children that they must also share in it, as well as for our generations yet to come. Because the Honor of His name shall thereby be glorified and the glory and honor of the victory shall be given Him."