Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Pofadder is N!gha

On the way home we spent a night at Pofadder – a town South Africans use to typify a sleepy backwater. It is certainly small: two tar roads, a kaffee, a church, and a hotel. But this is a town with a big history of resistance to the European colonial invaders.

This fresh water spring was home of the Koranna people, who emerged from fragments of various Khoi-Khoi groupings who had found safety along the Orange River. While they were held in low esteem by the European colonisers of the Cape - Rev Edward Terry described them as “beasts in the skin of men” while J. Campbell described the Koranna as lazy beings who only hunted, slept and danced.....(which could describe most university students today) - they put up a spirited resistence to those who invaded their traditional lands.*

In 1875 a mission station was established amongst the Koranna by the Reverend Christiaan Schroder, who named it Pofadder, after their local chief. In 1918 a town was laid out at the Koranna springs and called Theronsville. But local memory prevailed, the name Pofadder stuck, and it was later officially changed back to the name of the old mission. The mission is now a Roman Catholic Church that runs a blockmaking enterprise, a chicken farm and a dairy, giving employment to the poor

Today it is a great place to stop over. The hotel has self catering cottages that provide a welcome break from the endlessly straight roads through the Kalahari/Bushmanland plains. And the people are warm and welcoming – even when we arrived in the middle of a crucial rugby match (Stormers vs Brumbies) . And I am told that in the flower season this is a great place from which to explore the beauty of the Namaqualand flowers. So a return visit in August is definitely on the cards.

And if you asre wondering what the logo on the cap means: n!gha is a khoi-khoi word for “great/wonderful/cool – as in “this is n!gha food” or “that is a n!gha car” – and contrary to the South African perception, Pofadder is n!gha.

Footnote * (The escalating conflict between the colonising white farmers and the Koranna led to a commando of about 300 mounted burghers attacking the Koranna entrenched on one of the Orange River islands. Cupido Pofadder negotiated a treaty that agreed that he would protect his part of the river which bordered on the district of Calvinia in exchange for ammunition to enable him to do so. He would also be recognised as chief of all the Koranna living in the region. But this treaty was short lived, as drought forced the Koranna to attempt to regain their traditional land from white farmers. Klaas Pofadder succeeded his brother Cupido as chief and thought to arm his people by pretending to distance himself from the rebels. The terms of the treaty 1870 were still being met and in January of 1879 Pofadder was given 20 lbs lead, 5 lbs gunpowder and 4 guns. Unfortunately for the colonial authorities, two days later Pofadder returned to the rebel side. The inevitability of superior fire power led to Pofadder being gunned down by a commando of farmers).


Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for that... I've always wanted to visit Pofadder, but each time I've been near there wasn't enough time -- it's a bit out of the way!

Anonymous said...

Peter, I have not read your blog for a while so I went back through them. Thank you, Thank God for your pastoral heart. Your understanding of the WA fellowship is deeply profound. Yes, as Christians we belive the fullest revelation of God is found in Jesus but .... God may have also choosen to be revealed in other ways?! The land owner has the prerogative to pay what ever wages to whomever, whenever. I'm glad you had a good break. I think about you often and hope you stay in ministry and never give in to the "stuff" that burns you up and out. Pieter G.

Jen Tyler said...

I think you're pretty n'gha too.