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There now followed a period of relative tranquility for the Voortrekkers who had undergone so much. Farms were apportioned and it seemed likely that their small republic would be recognized by Whitehall.
Africans also drifted back to the lands from which they had been driven by both Shaka and Dingane. However, only five families per farm were allowed to resettle and the surplus were relocated South to land claimed by paramount chief Faku of the Pondos. There were to be far reaching consequences to this action.
The Ncaphayi Incident
Another storm centered around Chief Ncaphayi, a neighbour of Faku who was accused of rustling some Boer cattle. Pretorius set off on another punitive expedition, collected the cattle (and more) and was accused of killing forty tribesmen.
In the inevitable outcry from the local missionaries (all of whom had the reputation of hating the Boers), Whitehall became interested, as both Faku and Ncaphayi were considered to be living under its protection.
Napier, Governor of the Cape sent a small force to Pondoland where it stayed for a year while deliberations continued in London whether to annex Natal. Eventually the decision was taken - not only because of the issue at hand but also because it would deny a potential enemy a seaport on the sea lanes to India and there had been reports of large coal deposits in the interior of Natal.