The Voortrekkers
Piet Retief strikes a deal with Zulu king Dingane.
Dingane and Retief
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Dingane intended to impress Retief and called in many thousands of cattle from outlying areas. On Retief's arrival, he kept him waiting for two days with tribal dancing displays while he deliberated on his response to the inevitable request for land. His indunas Ndlela and Dambuza who wielded great influence were all for killing the party there and then.

Zulu Umuzis - huts

He had expected to meet Uys, the commander of the Natal Commissie Trek and was surprised when Retief appeared, whom he called too small to be a commander. He set about accusing the Boers of rustling Zulu livestock near the Drakensberg but Retief replied that it was Sikyonela's Wild Cat people who were known to wear European clothing.

Dingane and Retief Strike a Deal

Piet Retief Dingane then asked that such livestock be recovered by the Boers as a sign of their good intentions whereupon he would cede them the land between the Tugela River in the north and the Umzimvubu River in the South.

Retief (right) agreed to recover the cattle and sent messengers back to the Voortrekkers informing them that the land was theirs. Thus by the 14th November 1837, the first trekker wagons stood at the foot of the Drakensberg. To improve their prospects, the trek wagons of the much-respected Gert Maritz had arrived.

By the time Retief returned from Umgungundlovu, there were one thousand wagons camped in the area around modern day Estcourt. At the very time that Retief was seeing Dingane, Potgieter was finishing his attack on the Matabele at Kapain.

Next . . . Retief tricks Sikyonela