Johannes Brand to Leicester Smyth, 5 December 1883, G9 Vol. 2 – 4

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Brand, Johannes








Orange Free State

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 22 / G9 Vol 2 – 4


5 December 1883


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Ex’s despatch of the 22nd ult enclosing copy of a minute from Your Excellency’s ministers with reference to the claim made by Samuel to the Chieftainship of the Baralongs living at Thaba Nchu.

That Your Excellency’s views and the opinion expressed in the minute of Your Excellency’s ministers are based upon sound principles, will I am sure be conclusively proved by the following facts.

If however the Chief Moroka who was our faithful ally, and with whom our Government was always upon the most friendly terms had any important matter to transacted, at which he could not be present be always deputed Sepmare to act for him, during his last illness and shewed that he considered Sepmare as the man who was to succeed him.

Shortly after the death of the Chief Moroka Samuel laid a claim to the Chieftainship and wished to assert his claim by force of arms, to prevent bloodshed, I offered my mediation and when this did not succeed I suggested that they should refer this question to the arbitration of the Governor of the Cape Colony or one of the judges of our High Court. They expressed their willingness to refer the question to arbitration if I would consent to act as arbitrator.

I expressed my willingness to do so, and on the 10th of June 1880 Sepinare and Samuel signed a deed of submission of which the following is a translation.

We the undersigned Sepinare and Samuel Moroka hereby refer the question at present existing between us about the Chieftainship over the territory which Moroka governed till the arbitration of Mr J.H. Brand President of the Orange Free State to finally decide that question binding ourselves hereby to submit to, obey, and abide by the hereby appointed arbitrator Mr J.H. Brand.

Samuel Moroka
Sepinare Moroka

As witnesses

Richard Moroka
George Moroka
Komo Moroka
John Moroka
G van der Wath
H.W. Sabyman

Mark X of Bogachu
Daniel Magon

To afford ample time for all the witnesses of both parties to be present I began to investigation at Thaba Nchu on the 8th July I have my award and decision on the 17th July. The following is a translation of my award.

Whereas Sepinare and Samuel Moroka have by their deed of submission signed by them on the 10th June at Thaba Nchu, agreed to refer the question regarding the Chieftainship of the territory over which the Chief Moroka was the ruler to my award as arbitrator, for final decision, and have bound themselves to submit to abide by and obey my decision. And whereas I have accepted the requested arbitration, and have commenced the investigation of the question in dispute on the 8th July 1880 at Thaba Nchu and have continued the examination thereof on the 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th July and concluded it on the 16th.

Now therefore after having in my aforesaid capacity heard the said Sepinare Moroka and the said Samuel Moroka and their witnesses, and after having duly considered everything that has been brought forward by the said Sepinare Moroka and the said Samuel Moroka in support of their respective claims, I Johannes Henricus Brand do hereby as arbitrator in the said question declare decide and make known that the said Sepinare Moroka is and ought to be the chief of the people and territory, over which the Chief Moroka before his death ruled at Thaba Nchu.

Given under my hand and seal at Thaba Nchu on this the 17th day of July in the year of our Lord 1880.

Sig J.H. Brand

This award signed by me and sealed with my seal was this day the 17th July handed by me to Sepinare in the presence of Samuel and many others. Some weeks after my decision Samuel and his followers came into hostile collision with the Chief Sepinare were defeated by Sepinare, and fled into the Free State, where they obtained refuge on condition that they should remain at least 8 hours from the Baralongs border, and behave peaceably and quietly.

On the 14th September 1880 I received the following telegram from His Ex the Right Honorable Sir Bartle Frere governor and high commissioner of the Cape Colony which I at once communicated to Samuel and Bagatchou.

Governor Cape Town to Present Brand O.F.S.

I received a letter from Samuel Moroka 30 July which owing to an oversight I have not yet acknowledge. Will your Honor do me the favour to inform him for me, that the matter discussed in his letter rests entirely with your Honor and the authorities in the Free State and I can only most earnestly advise him to be guided by the decision of your Honor as the President of the Orange Free State.

In my speech with which I opened the Volksraad before my departure to the Transvaal on the 3rd May 1881, I informed the Volksraad that I had given my decision in favour of Sepimare and on the 30th of May the Volksraad instructed the Voorzitter (speaker) to inform Samuel who had addressed the Volksraad with reference to the succession of Sepimare in the Baralong territory that as he had submitted himself to the arbitration of the State President, the Raad finds no terms to do anything further in the matter and receive it for information.

On the petition addressed by Samuel to the Volksraad in 1883 the Volksraad informed him that as the dispute between him and Sepimare concerning the Chieftainship had already been decided by the State President by virtue of the Act of submission in which the petitioner has joined by his signature and as the Raad has not the right to compel Sepimare, again to refer to arbitration the dispute which existed the Raad cannot accede to his request in which he prayed, among other things that the dispute between him and Sepimare should be investigated by a Commission of the Raad.

Had Samuel kept his promise and submitted to the award it would have been better for himself and followers.

I refrain from pointing out the many erroneous statements in his petition of which copy was enclosed in Your Ex’s despatch.

I have the honor to be
Your Excellency’s
Most obedient servant

Sig J.H. Brand

His Excellency
Lieut General
L Smyth ..
Cape Town