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Heritage and History

The History Of Magoebaskloof

In 1887 a gold rush broke out in the land now known as Magoebaskloof, a name derived from the Chief at the time, King Makgoba. The area drew the attention of prospectors who were hoping to secure their fortune from the precious metal.

The Sotho Tlou tribe indigenous to the area received orders from their Chief, King Makgoba, to frustrate the prospectors by removing markers used to mark claims. The Commissioner from local government responded by demanding that King Makgoba be levied with a tax. King Makgoba refused the request and rightfully requested that all Europeans vacate his tribes land. On the 2nd November 1888 King Makgoba was arrested by Dahl and his livestock were confiscated. On account of good behaviour King Makgoba was later released.

Prospectors concluded that there was not much gold to be discovered in the area and left, however the battle between Chief Makgoba and the Europeans continued. In January 1895, General Joubert arrived in the area to inspect the proceedings and subsequently built forts armed with garrisons of 20 or more men. On numerous occasions demands were sent to the Chief to surrender. King Makgoba replied that he would surrender if his life was guaranteed, the government however was not prepared to make such a promise.

On 4 June 1895, Makgoba’s capital kraal was captured, but he escaped deeper into the forest. Under the control of Abel Erasmus, a party of Swazi Impis (warriors) who were fighting on the Government’s side successfully tracked him down. According to the Swazi, King Makgoba was beaten to his knees and had his head cut off from his body. However, according to Makgoba’s followers, King Makgoba committed suicide before the Swazis found him.

The memorial to King Makgoba, Chief to the Tlou Tribe is situated in the gardens of the Magoebaskloof Hotel.