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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sir George Grey Versus the Kaffir Relief Committee
Author:Peires, Jeffrey B.
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:The Cape
South Africa
Great Britain
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Sir George Grey arrived at the Cape in December 1854, just eighteen months before the great cattle-killing in Xhosaland commenced. Grey is, by common consent, a major figure in South African history, and most especially in the liberal version of it. Grey was the first to perceive the possibilities of the cattle-killing. What he was aiming at was to break the power of the chiefs, to end the political threat on the Cape frontier, and he wanted the Xhosa to become useful servants, consumers of British goods, contributors to the revenue. He wanted Xhosaland settled by a substantial European population. The cattle-killing by prophetical movements enabled Grey to bring about the changes he wanted immediately, totally and without hope of a resurrection. The Kaffir Relief Committee, founded in 1857, requested help to relieve the mass starvation following the great cattle-killing delusion of 1856-7. Humanity and compassion being not the sole considerations for Sir George Grey, his victory over the Kaffir Relief Committee illustrates the priority of the Cape's labour requirements in determining the policies of the Colonial government and demonstrates that Victorian liberalism, tailored to suit its self-interest, cannot be equated with simple humanitarianism. Notes.