Kevin passed through Utrecht at around lunch time today. It’s an interesting town, situated in the middle of a game reserve, with game roaming the town’s streets.
It has an interesting history too. The Boers, in the form of AT Spies, JC Klopper and CJ van Rooyen, who spoke fluent isiZulu, traded 100 cattle in 1852 from King Mpande, for a piece of land, according to Wikipedia. Van Rooyen was a friend of Mpande and had assisted him a few years earlier. The agreement with Mpande, dated 8 September 1854, read:
“Under the authority vested in me as Panda, King of the Zulus, I herewith declare that I have traded one portion of my land to the undersigned emigrants in exchange for one hundred head of cattle, which cattle I have received on this date and have given the land noted below as the everlasting property of the emigrants.” It was signed with an X.
But nothing is everlasting, except in heaven, especially when greedy colonials are bristling on the crest of surrounding koppies. “The Republic of Utrecht existed until 1858, when it joined the Republic of Lydenburg. This republic joined the ZAR in 1860. Utrecht and Vryheid remained part of the ZAR until 31 May 1902, when the ZAR surrendered to Great Britain. After this, both towns (and their districts) were incorporated into the colony of Natal as spoils of war.”
Republic of Utrecht, a quaint idea. I wonder what Utrechters would say about that these days.