Henry Rider Haggard to Frederick Chesson, 17 August 1881
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C137 – 110
Author(s): Henry Rider Haggard
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: Natal
Date: 17 August 1881
Statement of Indabazimbi
I used to work on Mr Robson’s son’s place and on his death I went to Meyer’s (in the Utrecht district, Transvaal) abut a year ago. I took all my property with me. There lived on the farm old Isaac Meyer, Solomon Meyer who died during the war, young Isaac Meter, [Jan?] Meter, Martinus Meter also a man called Cornelius a “bigmooner” who lived on Solomon’s place after he died.
According to custom I sent my son to work for old Isaac Meyer as I lived on his place. When the war began all the Meyer family moved further into the Transvaal my son going with them as herd. I went up to Klip River with them as driver… the river forms the boundary between the Free State and Transvaal.
I returned at once leaving my son with the Meyers. He was a small boy about 12 years of age. At the termination of the war the Meyers sent for me to drive them down. I met them a day’s journey this side of the Klip River. I asked them where my son was, old Isaac Meyer told me he had sent him to look for horses he did not return and another boy was sent who brought the horses, the horses were found close by. No one went to look for my son. I asked old Isaac for leave to go and offer a reward amongst the kafirs for my son. He refused, saying I must drive him home and then he would give me a pass to come back and look for him. On our arrival at the farm I and my wife again applied to old Isaac to be allowed to go and see about my son. He refused, saying I must first shear the sheep. I replied that he well knew that I could not shear sheep. I said, How can I work when my heart is sore for my son. Meyer said again, I must wait awhile as the rivers were full. I said how could that matter, seeing that both going and coming with the wagon we crossed no rivers. As he refused me a pass I then started without one to seek my son. On arrival at Mavovo’s kraal I met my brother who told me I must go no further or the Boers would shoot me having no pass. I returned. On my return my wives told me that the Meyers had come to look for me every morning with guns to shoot me; telling them that it was now no longer the days for sjamboing (flogging with hide whips) the natives, but the days for shooting them. On hearing this I collected my goods and by morning had everything on the Natal side of the Buffalo River – on Natal ground. About midday Martinus Meyer overtook us by [Dugaza’s?] kraal and asked me what I was doing on the Natal side of the river. I told him I was leaving for Natal because I found it altogether too hot for me in the Transvaal. He said that if I came back he would make everything comfortable. I refused. He then attacked me with a knob-kerry and would have killed me had not one of my wives (seeing that I was badly hurt) knocked him with a piece of iron. Martinus then mounted his horse and galloped off. I then got on my horse and fled. My wives hid themselves. In the afternoon there came to the wagon Jan Meyer, Martinus Meyer, young Isaac Meyer and the man called Cornelius. They hunted all about for us with the object of shooting us as they told Degaza’s kafirs. My wives then saw them inspect the wagon and take everything away. I had a wagon, twelve oxen, four beasts and a mare. Also a box containing two hundred pounds in gold, a telescope, clothes, and other things. My wives found the box broken on the ground and all contents gone. Forty sacks of grain were also taken belonging to me. I was robbed of everything I had with me with the exception of the horse I escaped on.
The wagon was one I hired from my brother (a relation) the oxen were my own brother’s. Eighty pounds of money I got from the Standard Bank in Newcastle, for oxen, sold to the owner of the store at the Ingagaan Drift. The rest I had accumulated in … doctoring. I am a doctor among my people.
I come here now to ask you to allow me to settle on your land as a refugee.
His x mark
This statement was made by Indabazimbi at Hillsdrop: Newcastle, Natal on the seventeenth of August eighteen hundred and eighty one in the presence of the undersigned witnesses.
H. Rider Haggard
J.H. Gay Roberts
The outrage of which Indabazimbi has here given an account occurred within a week of the present date.
17th Aug 1881