The Day of The Vow

The Day of the Vow (a.k.a. The Day of the Covenant) was instituted on 16th December 1838 at the Battle of Blood River. Here is an article that appeared at this blog on 16 December 2011 titled 16th December The Day of the Vow.

THE DAY of THE COVENANT

By Dr. Peter Hammond

Sarel Cilliers statue To view this presentation with pictures as a PowerPoint on Slideshare, click here.

To listen to an audio presentation, as given at the Reformation Society, click here.

To view the video on our Vimeo page, as presented at the Reformation Society, click here.

An abbreviated translation of this message in Afrikaans is also available, click here.

9  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; ~ Deuteronomy 7:9

The Battle of Blood River

For over a century and a half, throughout South Africa, 16 December has been observed as The Day of the Covenant. Marking the decisive Battle of Blood River, the Day of the Covenant has been recognised by many, not only as a victory for the Voortrekkers, but as a triumph for Western civilization and Christianity in Africa.

Spiritual Warfare

It should be noted that before the Battle of Blood River, 16 December 1838, there were no known Christians amongst the Zulu nation. Despite the dedicated spiritual labours of British and American missionaries amongst the Zulus for 18 years previously, so great was the hold of superstition, the reign of terror of the Zulu kings, and fear of the witchdoctors, that no Zulus were known to have responded to the preaching of the Gospel before the defeat of Dingaan’s Impis at Blood River.

Christianity vs. Witchcraft

One could similarly note that despite the strenuous labours of famous British missionary Robert Moffatt, and others, amongst the Matabele, in what became Rhodesia, there were no baptised Matabele converts to Christianity before the defeat of Lobengula’s Impis in the Matabele War of 1893. 

The Spiritual Liberation of the Zulu

Observing the significance of The Day of the Covenant is not in any sense anti-Zulu. I have many precious friends amongst the Zulu. Having read extensively on their history, and visited many of the strategic battle sites and museums in Zululand, I have to regard the Covenant made by the Boers, and The Battle of Blood River, as the beginning of the spiritual liberation of Zululand. Only after The Battle of Blood River did hundreds, and then thousands, of Zulus come to Christ. 

Love in Action

It needs to be noted that after their victory over Dingaan’s forces the Afrikaans Christians built a magnificent mission station and church at Mgundgundlovu (Dingaanstad) within sight of the massacre of the Trek leader Piet Retief and his 100 followers who were brutally tortured and massacred. The Afrikaans missionaries built a school for the blind, an evangelists training college, and many other expressions of Christian love for their former enemies. 

Zululand for Christ

After the final defeat of the Zulu military, in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, Zulus came to Christ by the hundreds of thousands. Today there are millions of Zulu Christians. 

Vikings for Christ

As a descendant of the Vikings, I look to our former enemy, King Alfred the Great, as one of my Spiritual forefathers. Although the original Hammonds would have been among the Viking invaders of England, I recognise that the conversion and discipling of the once brutal Vikings began with the military victory of King Alfred the Great and his Saxon armies over the Vikings. Similarly, I believe that our Zulu brothers and sisters in Christ can rejoice in the Spiritual liberation of the Zulu nation that began with the original Day of the Covenant.

Shaka and the Mfekane

Shaka had built the Zulu into a great warlike nation. He unleashed waves of destruction impi ebomvu (total war) that left enormous stretches of country uninhabited by people. The Mfekane unleashed by Shaka had led to the annihilation of literally hundreds of tribes. Known as "the Black Napoleon", Shaka had soaked Southern Africa in blood, devastating countless kraals, particularly between 1820 and 1824. Shaka was described as tall, handsome and a military genius. He moulded the previously insignificant Zulu tribe into a mighty war machine. He introduced new systems of fighting, abandoning the long throwing spears, and introducing the far more lethal short handled broad-bladed assegai. He compelled his men to throw away their sandals and to harden their feet. His regiments (Impis) would be compelled to dance on thorns and if anyone showed pain they were immediately executed. Instead of standing at a distance singing, and taunting the enemy, and ineffectually throwing their spears, Shaka trained his men to fight as a cohesive unit, in the shape of cattle horns. The most experienced troops were at the head to gore, and the younger warriors were put on the horns to encircle the enemy. The Zulu were trained to rush straight in for the kill. They overwhelmed every tribe they came across and annihilated them. Many of the young women and young boys from these defeated tribes were amalgamated into the Zulu tribe, but the older people and warriors were exterminated.

Mzilikazi’s Path of Blood

One of Shaka’s most effective generals, Mzilikazi, was a dynamic, and ambitious, man. (Mzilikazi was born in 1790, making him slightly the junior of Shaka who was born in 1787.) Mzilikazi was 34 when he fled Zululand with his Impi and founded Matebele nation. To avoid retribution at the hands of his king, Shaka, Mzilikazi led his men on a devastating path of blood through the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and Botswana, later settling in what became Rhodesia. Mzilikazi spared the most promising of the vanquished tribes to be incorporated into his army and tribe. He moulded his heterogeneous horde into a great nation using the best of Zulu military tactics. His path through the interior of Southern Africa was as devastating as a veld fire, as he slaughtered, captured, plundered and left destruction in his wake. Until his defeat at the hands of the Boers at Vegkop, the Matabele were operating out of Western Transvaal. Their defeat at the hands of Hendrik Potgieter’s trekkers led Mzilikazi’s men to flee across the Limpopo River to settle in Matabeleland (in what later became Rhodesia, and ultimately Zimbabwe).

Dingaan’s Treachery

On 22 September 1828, Shaka, the founder and King of the Zulus, was stabbed to death by his half-brothers, Princes Dingaan and Mhlangana. Missionaries and English traders who visited Zululand described Dingaan as "astute", "sly", "cruel", "temperamental", "brutal", "charming", "diplomatic" and "treacherous". Shortly after murdering his half-brother, Dingaan quickly arranged the assassination of his co-conspirator Mhlangana, and then systematically executed all aristocratic rivals and anyone else who could possibly be a danger to him, including the commander-in-chief of Shaka’s army, Ndlaka, who he had strangled.

Corrupt and Cruel

Dingaan was about 30 years old when he seized power. He began to build himself a new capital in Mgungundlovu (the place of the great elephant). Dingaan quickly accumulated over 300 wives and concubines. Traders and missionaries described Dingaan’s appetite as "voracious, sexually and otherwise" and he soon became extremely obese. Unlike his brother Shaka, Dingaan preferred to stay at his palace. He was not a warrior like Shaka. Instead of leading military campaigns, he sent out his Impis and remained at Mgungundlovu surrounded by a continual programme of feasting and dancing.

The Gullibility of Piet Retief

When the Trek leader Piet Retief came to Dingaan to negotiate the right for the Voortrekkers to settle in the depopulated territory between the Tugela and the Bushmans River (present day Natal) he was warned by the missionaries that one of the principle objectives of Shaka had been to totally depopulate all the surrounding territory as far as his soldiers could penetrate so that his followers, over whom he held such despotic sway, might have no asylum or refuge if they attempted to escape his murderous rule. Retief was also warned that the defeat of the renegade Zulu general Mzilikazi at the hands of the Boers in the Transvaal had sent shockwaves through Zululand. As Dingaan’s military expeditions against Mzilikazi had all been indecisive, he feared the power of the Boers. Yet, Piet Retief seemed supremely self-confident and brushed aside every warning about the danger of the dictator with whom he was attempting to negotiate.

Mgundgundlovu

Dingaan’s capital, Mgungundlovu, was described as an efficient military camp entirely fenced in with thorn bushes. The king’s quarters dominated the high ground, overlooking the two thousand huts to the sides of the main entrance and open arena. Each hut accommodated twenty warriors. Within the lines of the military huts were four strongly fenced in cattle kraals. Dingaan’s own quarters consisted of hundreds of beehive huts including huts for his enormous harem, and his counsel house and reception hall, both some 20 feet in height, with the roof supported by 22 pillars entirely covered in bead work. The floors were made of mud and dung, polished with blood and fat until they shone like a mirror. Mgungundlovu as a whole was arranged in ovals, circles and semi-circles, with thousands of beehive huts appearing like beads in a necklace. Facing the capital, on the other side of the stream below was the hill of execution (KwaMatiwane).

In the Presence of Dingaan

Dingaan required his subjects to throw themselves to the ground and crawl forward in the dust for about two hundred metres before coming to a halt a good distance from his throne. Piet Retief and the other white visitors refused to succumb to such an indignity, and stood in the presence of the king. They noted that Dingaan was entirely hairless. He was shaved every day and was described as having an abhorrence of human hair. He wore many ornaments on his head and his body was rubbed daily with fat to make him appear like polished ebony.

Warnings from the Missionaries

Acting as the king’s secretary was Rev. Francis Owen of the Church Missionary Society. Most of what we know concerning the meetings of Piet Retief with Dingaan come from Owen’s diary. Piet Retief first reached Mgundgundlovu on 5 November 1837. The king entertained him with war dances by thousands of his warriors. Owen warned him of the countless cruelties, tortures and executions that he had been forced to witness. However, Piet Retief seemed most impressed with the "sincerity", "graciousness", "intelligence", and "goodwill" of Dingaan.

After seeking to impress Retief for two days with parades of his regiments and herds, Dingaan informed Retief that he was willing to grant the Trekkers the territory his armies had depopulated across the Tugela, and around Port Natal – on condition that Piet Retief should return the cattle, which had been taken by Sikonyela and his Batlokoa people. As they had come on horseback and dressed in clothes, Sikonyela’s people had been assumed to be Boers. To prove that the trekkers were not in any way responsible for Sikonyela’s cattle raid, he required them to deal with this chief.

The CMS missionary, Francis Owen, warned Piet Retief that he was wasting his time, for Dingaan was utterly inconsistent and had already granted the desired territory to the English government through John Gardiner. However, Piet Retief regarded the expedition against Sikonyela as necessary for the vindication of their honour. Owen questioned how a man of Retief’s intelligence could attach any value to any promise made by a tyrant like Dingaan.

When Piet Retief later gave an enthusiastic account of the splendours of Dingaan, his kindness and boundless hospitality, American missionary Rev. George Champion declared: "I have known Dingaan for two years Mr Retief, and I know full well what a dangerous character he is. I can only see disaster should you visit him again." Rev. Kirkwood also warned Retief of Dingaan’s intention to have him put to death as "a wizard." But Retief brushed all their warnings aside declaring: "Have no apprehension on my account!"

Sikonyela and the Batlokoa

Chief Sikonyela was described as a man who always caused trouble. He was the son of a famous warrior queen Ma Ntatisa. He had done his share of devastating the country along the Caledon River. The remnants of the devastated tribes he moulded into the Batlokoa. Cattle raids were part of the African way of life and both Sikonyela and many of the trekkers questioned Retief’s actions as contrary to his own code of behaviour by interfering in inter-tribal affairs. However, Retief felt himself justified in taking action, if these people had indeed posed as Boers. Retief managed to avoid bloodshed by using a pair of handcuffs to restrain Sikonyela and then declaring that he was "under arrest" and they would only take the handcuffs off if he returned the stolen cattle. Sikonyela was kept prisoner for three days while the seven hundred cattle were rounded up and identified by the accompanying Zulus.

Failing to Heed Advice

A passing trader warned Piet Retief of Dingaan’s planned treachery against him upon his return. Fellow trek leader Gert Maritz repeatedly warned Piet Retief not to return to Dingaan declaring: “I do not trust Dingaan!” But, every attempt to dissuade Piet Retief was brushed aside. Maritz reminded him of the murder of Anders Stockenstrom in 1811 while having friendly talks with a band of Xhosas.

Gullible’s Travels

Piet Retief, with almost a hundred followers, arrived at Mgundgundlovu on Saturday 3 February. He was rebuked by Dingaan for having released Sikonyela unharmed. Dingaan was shocked that Retief had not executed him, or at least brought him to the Zulu capital for execution.

He then requested the Boers to make a demonstration of their war dances on their horses. The trekkers staged an impromptu charge on horseback in the royal arena, making the air resound with the sound of their muskets. Dingaan and his subjects had never seen anything like it and were plainly shocked at the speed and agility of the Boers on horseback and the deafening sound of their muskets. The missionary warned Retief that his display was entrenching the fear of Dingaan that he was a wizard and a threat that must be eradicated.

However, when Dingaan agreed to sign the document drawn up by Retief to cede the territory between the Tugela and Umzimvubu Rivers to the trekkers, Retief felt that all of his trust in the word of Dingaan was fulfilled. This document was placed in his leather briefcase with great relief.

However, the CMS missionary, Rev. Owen, was most disturbed that Retief and his followers had missed the Sunday morning church service on 4 February, for these formalities for the king. Retief later said that he had forgotten what day of the week it was.
On Monday the trekkers were treated to an endless display of war dances and military manoeuvres by Dingaan’s Impis. Dingaan was described as "a master showman" with his entertainment the most spectacular ever seen in the sub-continent. Dingaan again asked for a display of the Boers war tactics on horseback. The Zulus sat stunned at the speed and perfect control of the men with their rifles on horseback.

Defenceless Before Dingaan

Dingane_-_'Bulalani_abathakathi'_-_1897 On Tuesday morning William Wood, a young English trader fluent in Zulu, who was visiting the Owens, warned Retief that "your entire party will be massacred before the day is out." As the Retief party struck camp and were preparing to leave, they were invited to a final farewell display. For this they were requested to leave their firearms, bandoleers and powder horns outside the gates of the kraal. Incredibly, they acceded to this demand. Leaving their firearms outside the kraal, they walked defenceless into the arena of Dingaan’s kraal. After ominous war dances which increased in volume and intensity, Dingaan stood up and shouted "Babulaleni abathakathi!" ("kill the wizards!").

Cold Blooded Murder

From across the stream on the opposite hillside, Francis Owen was reading the New Testament when a messenger rushed up to inform him that Dingaan had decided to kill the Boers but he was not to be concerned. Owen looked with horror as he saw an immense multitude, "about nine or ten Zulus to each Boer were dragging the helpless unarmed victims to the fatal spot" on the hill of execution. Many of the Boers were impaled on assegais, and they were all clubbed to death. Piet Retief’s young son was killed before his eyes. Amongst the dead was their interpreter, Thomas Halstead, the only Englishman of the party. The various missionaries and traders who had warned Piet Retief repeatedly questioned how such an intelligent and experienced man as Piet Retief could have been so thoroughly deceived, even mesmerized, by the tyrant Dingaan. Soon, the sky above the hill of execution was black with vultures. The heart and liver of Piet Retief was brought to Dingaan, but the rest of the corpses were left out in the open on the hill of execution to later be discovered along with Retief’s blood-stained leather case containing the signed treaty with Dingaan. It was almost ten years since Dingaan had murdered his half-brother Shaka to assume the chieftainship.

Massacre at Midnight

About noon on that fateful Tuesday, 6 February, Rev. Owen saw Dingaan send out a huge army in the direction from where the Boers had come. There was no doubt that even worse was to come. In the early hours of 17 February, ten thousand Zulu warriors attacked the sleeping Voortrekkers between the Bushman’s the Blaauwkrants Rivers. There was no moon that night and it was pitch dark. Trekkers awoke to the sounds of their dogs barking. Wave after wave of Zulu warriors were stabbing men, women and children, wiping out whole families.

Fighting for their Lives

The followers of Gert Maritz were more cautiously laagered and better prepared to defend themselves. However, the followers of Piet Retief were spread out and most vulnerable. Sarel Cilliers and Gert Maritz led charges to rescue fleeing trekkers. Women and children, even as young as ten years old, fought tenaciously, selling their lives dearly. Marthinus Oosthuizen charged through the mass of Zulus to a wagon for ammunition and then back again to re-supply the beleaguered Van Rensburgs surrounded on a hill.

Devastation

Fighting continue until the afternoon of the 17th when the Zulu army retreated, taking over 25,000 cattle, and many horses and sheep, with them. Many hundreds of the Zulu attackers had been killed in the fierce fighting. As the Voortrekkers began to count up their own dead, they grieved over the loss of 185 of their children murdered. Of the women 56 were dead – this included even grandmothers – many with multiple assegai wounds. The murdered men numbered 40. Incredibly, some women who had been horribly stabbed were found alive amongst the piles of dead. Johanna van der Merwe and Margarita Prinsloo had each survived despite 20 assegai wounds, and Klasina Le Roux with 17 stab wounds.

Weenen

As Gert Maritz organized a mass burial of the slain trekkers, the sky was full of circling vultures and the sounds of weeping could be heard throughout the area. The Boers later founded a town at the site of the massacre which was named Weenen (The Place of Weeping).

Ambushed at the Buffalo River

On 6 April a counter-attack by a Boer commander led by the two rival leaders Piet Uys and Andries Potgieter was ambushed across the Buffalo River at Italeni. A British expedition from Port Natal rushed to assist the beleaguered trekkers, but ten of the Commando were killed, including Piet Uys and his brave son Dirkie who kept fighting by his father’s side to the very end. As this commando retreated it became known as the Vlugcommando (the fleeing commando).

Disaster

It was the darkest time of despair for the Voortrekkers. Death, disaster and dissention seemed to doom their ambitious enterprise.

Andries Pretorius Comes from the Transvaal

With the arrival of Andries Pretorius from the Transvaal, there was fresh hope. The widow of Piet Retief declared of Andries Pretorius: "This man has been sent by God. He will help us obtain justice." Andries Pretorius was a dynamic pistol packing farmer from Graaf Reinet. He was described as a tall, imposing figure in a well cut suit, with a pistol and a cutlass at his belt. He also came with 60 Transvaal volunteers for the Wencommando that he intended to organize. At an assembly of the Volksraad, Pretorius was elected Commandant General.

The Wencommando

Within a couple of days, he was heading out with 464 men, and 64 wagons, to engage the Zulus. Pretorius adopted the motto Eendragt Maakt Magt (unity is strength). (These words were to become the motto of the Transvaal Republic.) All in the Wencommando (The Victory Commando) were lectured on discipline, Christian conduct, decency, integrity, compassion and courage. As God’s soldiers their conduct had to be of a high standard. The chaplain, Sarel Cilliers, who was widely respected as a man of God, and who had proved himself in battle at Vegkop, ensured strict religious observance with daily devotions and prayer times where the men were required to kneel.

On the move the 64 wagons travelled in four rows so as not to make the column too long for the vanguards and rear guards to protect from ambush. Every night their laager was drawn up, sentries posted, inspections held, and defensive drills practiced. Scouting patrols were sent out every day to ascertain the whereabouts of the Zulu army, and to identify any potential threats.

The Covenant

As the Tugela River was flood, the Wencommando crossed near Spioenkop. At Waschbank, on Sunday 9 December, Sarel Cilliers stood on a gun carriage before the men had who assembled for worship and he proposed a solemn vow: "My brethren and fellow countrymen, at this moment we stand before the Holy God of Heaven and earth to make a promise. If He will be with us and protect us and deliver the enemy into our hands so that we may triumph over him, that we may observe the day and the date as an anniversary in each year and a day of Thanksgiving like the Sabbath, in His honour; and that we shall enjoin our children that they must take part with us in this, for remembrance even for our posterity; and if anyone sees a difficulty in this, let them return from this place. For the honour of His Name shall be joyfully exalted, and to Him the fame and the honour of the victory must be given."

All the English volunteers joined with the Afrikaans Voortrekkers in taking this Vow. From 9th December the Vow was repeated every evening, up until the night of the 15th, during evening services when Psalms were sung and prayers were offered.

Confronting the Zulu

There was a calm deliberation amongst the men of the Wencommando. They knew that they were going up against the most formidable force in Africa at that time. Up to that point, the Zulu Impis had never been beaten. They knew that Dingaan had over 20,000 warriors that he could throw at them. They were only 464, and this being 1838, they only had smooth ball muskets, which required 30 to 40 seconds to reload. And they knew charging Zulu warriors could cover a lot of ground in that time.

To the Ncome River

On Saturday the 15th of December the Commando crossed the Buffalo River and outspanned between the Buffalo River and the Ncome River. Two scouts reported that they had seen a huge Zulu army only half an hour ride away. Pretorius inspected the terrain for a suitable laager site and he sensed God’s guidance for there was a perfect spot on the other side of the Ncome. On its western bank there was a deep hippopotamus pool and a large donga, or gully. The laager was set up making use of these natural defensive features on two sides. The 64 wagons were firmly lashed together with two battle gates secured at the two openings where the canon were placed. The back of the D-formation was set against the donga, and the semi-circle faced towards the open plain. Candles were set out everywhere and lanterns suspended over the wagons on the long whip handles, to prevent the Zulus from approaching the laager unseen in the night. As Sarel Cilliers led the Commando in repeating the Vow for the last time, and then in singing the Psalms, the Zulus had moved within earshot and could hear their strange singing and see the eerily lit laager.

To Beat the Unbeatable Foe

It was a suspenseful moonless night. Two hours before dawn the trekkers were at their posts. A veil of mist lifted and a perfect day broke. There was not a cloud in the vivid blue sky and there was no wind. It was a day of crystal clarity. As the mist lifted the Boers saw the entire Zulu army seated facing them with their shields in front. The front row of the Zulus was only 40 paces away from the half-moon of wagons. Row after row of Zulu regiments were grouped according to the colour of their shields. There were between 12,000 and 15,000 Zulu’s surrounding the laager.

Fear God Alone

"Do not fear their numbers, we can deal with them", shouted Pretorius. As warriors were moving into position to attack from the donga in the rear, Commandant Pretorius decided to seize the initiative and he ordered his men to open fire immediately. Before the Zulus could even begin their intimidating war dances the roar of gunfire shattered the early morning peace. The day began in furious battle with Zulus yelling, hissing, smashing their assegais against their shields, thunderously stamping the ground with their feet, charging the laager at full speed. The two little canon cut swathes through the Zulu ranks, and the deadly aim of the Boer Commandos took their toll. As a mass of Zulus tried to scale the donga and assault the rear of the laager, Sarel Cilliers led his men to cut them down.

Taunting the Enemy
As the Zulus retreated out of range to about 500 metres, Pretorius sent out his brother and an interpreter to taunt the Zulus: "What are you doing, men of Dingaan? We have come to fight men, not women and children! Why don’t you attack?"

Facing the Zulu Tidal Wave

The Zulus leapt up to attack, drumming their shields, yelling, whistling, hissing and swept in a black wave down upon the wagons. This was the longest charge of the two-hour battle. Muzzles were becoming dangerously hot, wagons bristled with assegais, but the strategic positioning of the laager was frustrating the assaults of the Zulus. The closer they got to the wagons, the more they were funnelled and compressed by the river and the donga until they were tripping into one another and stumbling over their earlier casualties. Their losses were becoming enormous, yet without achieving anything. Never in the experience of their warrior nation had anything like this happened to them before.

Charging the Enemy

Andries Pretorius sensed a change in the tempo of the battle and ordered a charge form the laager. He had the two canon dragged out and fired from the front. Then he led a charge into the middle of the Zulu Impi. For the first time in history a Zulu Impi broke and fled. The cohesion on which the Zulu Impis was based was shattered. The Zulus began to flee across the Ncome River, many drowning in the process. As Pretorius fired on one Zulu his horse reared and threw him off. A Zulu lunged at him and Pretorius managed to ward off the assegai with his rifle. As the Zulu struck again Pretorius was thrust through his left hand. He pinned the Zulu to the ground and grappled hand to hand until the warrior was stabbed with his own assegai.

Pursuing the Enemy

On the other side Sarel Cilliers led a commando charge that put to flight the other section of the Zulu army. The mounted Boers pursued the fleeing Zulus, shooting at them as long as their bullets lasted, and firing pebbles when all their bullets were exhausted. Over 3,000 Zulu dead were counted around the laager. Yet not one Voortrekker had been killed, although several were wounded.

Thanksgiving

As the sun set the exhausted Commando members returned for a service of Thanksgiving and for their first meal of the day. Then they had to clean their muskets and cast bullets for the final push to track down Dingaan at Mgundgundlovu.

The Remains of Retief

By the 20th December the Zulu capital was sighted. It was ablaze from one end to the other. Dingaan had fled and set fire to his own capital. When the grizzly remains of Piet Retief and his 100 followers was discovered on KwaMatiwane they saw the legs and arms still tied with thongs, the impaling sticks still visible. Next to the remains of Piet Retief lay his water bottle and leather satchel which still contained Dingaan’s signed and witnessed agreement for the cession of Natal. On Christmas Day the remains of these victims were all gathered and buried in a communal grave at the foot of the koppie.

Reaping the Whirlwind

The Zulu kingdom fell into a civil war and Dingaan was overthrown by his half-brother Mpande.

Loving their Enemies

It is remarkable that, despite the treachery that the Boers had endured at the hands of the Zulu, and the massacres of so many unsuspecting women and children on the banks of the Blaauwkrans River, that no atrocities were committed by the Boers in retaliation. Instead, the Biblical injunction to love their enemies was fulfilled by the vigorous missionary work which was established by the Reformed Church in Zululand, establishing schools, hospitals, churches and orphanages, even within sight of where Piet Retief and his followers were so brutally murdered. In the century and a half since that original Day of the Covenant, many millions of Zulus have come to Christ and Zululand has been blessed by Revival. In a very real sense all of that began with the Covenant proposed by Sarel Cilliers, and enthusiastically adopted by the Wencommando.

Set Free to Serve Christ

Just as the descendants of the Vikings can look back to their one-time enemy King Alfred the Great as their Spiritual father who brought the first Vikings to the Lord after defeating them in battle, so the Zulus and the Afrikaners and English, with whom they had once been locked in deadly battle, are now united in Christ. With the defeat of Dingaan, and later Ceteswayo, the power of the witchdoctors was also broken and the Spiritual liberation of the Zulu people began. As the Lord promised in Genesis 22:17: "…thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies…" Jesus Christ is building His Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Blessed in Order to be a Blessing

God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled to this day:

2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 
3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. ~ Genesis 12:2,3

Dr. Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Email:
mission@frontline.org.za
Website: www.FrontlineMissionSA.org 
 
Sources:
The Voortrekkers, by Johannes Meintjes, 1973, Corgi Books.
The Great Trek, by C. Venter, 1985, Nelson.
The Voortrekkers of South Africa, by M. Nathan, 1937, London.
Andries Pretorius in Natal, by B.J. Liebenberg, 1977, Pretoria.
The Washing of the Spears, by Donald Morris, 1966, Jonathan Cape.

This article has been adapted from a chapter in Sketches from South African History (now also available in Afrikaans: Sketse uit Die Suid Afrikaanse Geskiedenis) available from Christian Liberty Books, P.O. Box 358, Howard Place, 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490,

Email: admin@christianlibertybooks.co.za,

Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

This message was presented by Dr. Peter Hammond to The Reformation Society. The audio CD and PowerPoint are available from Christian Liberty Books.

Soli Deo Gloria_________________________________

The Retief Massacre of 6 February 1838 revisited – events that lead to the Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838.

Armistice Day

Lest We Forget. Armistice Day Centenary Armistice Day, which is also known as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day, is commemorated every year on 11 November and this year is its centenary (1918 – 2018).

Armistice Day marks the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Remembrance DayWestern Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.[1]

In South Africa one of the first instances where this tradition was honoured was at a church service in Cape Town. The city was in mourning after the publication of South Africa’s first casualty list from Word War I in 1916. A local businessman, Mr. J.A. Eggar, proposed that the congregation at a church service should keep a minute’s silence to honour the ‘Fallen.’ At the time it received no publicity.

Cape Town two-minute silence 1918 (Pic: SA History Online)On 27 October 1919, the famous South African author[2], politician and mining financier, Sir James Percy FitzPatrick proposed through Lord Milner, the former High Commissioner for South Africa, the idea of a two-minute silence, which proposition was presented to King George V that a moment of silence be observed annually on November 11 in honour of the dead of World War I. This had been a daily practice in Cape Town from April 1918 onward, since being proposed by Sir Harry Hands[3]. On 17 November, King George proclaimed that ‘at the hour when Armistice came into force, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all our normal activities . . . so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’

Delville-wood, 1916 First World War Trenches People observe a one or more commonly a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time. It is a sign of respect for, in the first minute, the estimated 20 million people who died in the war (1914-1918), and in the second minute dedicated to the living left behind, generally understood to be wives, children and families left behind but deeply affected by the conflict.

images images-1

We remember all who have given their lives in both the World Wars I & II and all other wars of conflict around the world, not forgetting the South African soldiers who lost their lives in WWI&II, the Border War and the Rhodesian Bush War defending all people groups against communism and socialistic tyranny.

13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ~ 1 John 3:16

Memorial Wall

However, there is another war that rages on daily and this conflict is for the souls of men. As millions of unsaved souls have been lost in past wars, as Christians we are commissioned to reach the souls of men who stand upon the edge of hell and damnation in the eternal lake of fire which is the second death (read Revelation 20:14, 21:8). For as a Christian this Scripture is true, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). And, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (2 Corinthians 10:3,4).

For we have been warned,

17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? ~ 1 Peter 4:17,18

22  And of some have compassion, making a difference: 
23  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. ~ Jude 22,23

15  And he [JESUS] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
~ Mark 16:15,16

Soli Deo Gloria____________________

Related Blog-post: Remembrance Day 2015

Sources: King James Bible, Wikipedia, SAMVOA (South African Military Veterans Organisation of Australasia)

1 Shushkewich, Val (12 September 2005). The real Winnie : a one-of-a-kind bear. Natural Heritage Books. p. 42. ISBN 9781554883509.

2 Author of Jock of the Bushveld. Originally published in 1907. 

3 "Cape Town’s WWI Mayor – Sir Harry Hands" (PDF). wordpress.com.

[Note – Last paragraphs after the “Memorial Wall” picture added on 12 November 2018]

Diwali ~ A festival of lights? Or a festival of darkness?

Rangoli decorations , made using coloured powder or sand, are popular during Diwali. Diwali, or Deepavali, is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It falls on the day of ‘Amavasya’ or new moon. This year, it will be observed on November 7, 2018.

Introduction

The five-day celebrations begin with Dhanteras and conclude with Bhai Dooj. On the third day, people collectively participate and partake in the celebrations of Diwali by exchanging greetings and gifts with loved ones and indulging in lavish feasts. They also clean and furnish their houses and decorate them with rangolis (an art form), diyas (oil lamps) and bright lights, and worship goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. [Source]

Diwali (Dipavali in Sanskrit, IAST: Dīpāvalī , meaning "row of lamps"; also spelled Deepavali) is a Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.” During the celebration, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated. The preparations, and rituals, for the festival typically last five days, with the climax occurring on the third day coinciding with the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, the festival generally falls between mid-October and mid-November. [Source]

Observances by other Religions

Some other faiths in India also celebrate their respective festivals alongside Diwali. The Jains observe their own Diwali, which marks the final liberation of Mahavira, the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, while Newar Buddhists, unlike other Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshiping Lakshmi. The festival of Diwali is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia (except Sarawak), Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. [Source]

This blog-post is not about bashing people of Indian descent or the people of the Hindu religion, but it is solely written showing the erroneous ways of the religion of Hinduism and more specifically, in this instance, the ‘celebration’ of Diwali. Within the Hindu faith there are over 300 million idol deities that they worship as gods and/or goddesses. As can be seen from above, two of the millions of idol gods worshipped are Lakshmi and Ganesha. A short description of each follows:

Raja Ravi Varma, goddess Lakshmi, 1896 - goddess of fortune, wealth, prosperity & beautyLakshmi (/ˈlʌksmi/; Tamil: இலட்சுமி, IAST: lakṣmī) or Laxmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti (energy) of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. With Parvati and Saraswati, she forms Tridevi, the holy trinity. Lakshmi is also an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples. Lakshmi has also been a goddess of abundance and fortune for Tamils and was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Hinduism. Goddess Lakshmi in Hinduism: The goddess of abundance and fortune, Sri Lakshmi, reflected the accumulated wealth and financial independence of the Tamil monasteries.

Archaeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for Lakshmi by the 1st millennium BCE BC. Lakshmi’s iconography and statues have also been found in Hindu temples throughout southeast Asia, estimated to be from the second half of the 1st millennium CE AD. The festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima (Kojagiri Purnima) are celebrated in her honour. [Source]

Ganesha Basohli miniature circa 1730 Dubost p73 - god of new beginnings, success and wisdom. Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश, Gaṇeśa), also known as Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillaiyar and Binayak, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bali (Indonesia), Bangladesh and Nepal. Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains and Buddhists.

Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured Philadelphia Museum of Art - Ganesha, Madhya Pradesh, c. 750, Indiaat the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.

Ganesha likely emerged as a deity as early as the 2nd century CE AD, but most certainly by the 4th and 5th centuries CE AD, during the Gupta period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva of the Shaivism tradition, but he is a pan-Hindu god found in its various traditions. [Source]

The True LIGHT Enters the World

This festival is a ‘celebration’ of idol gods, the lighting of artificial light, fireworks and feasting. We will now look at who is venerated during Diwali comparing it with the Holy Scriptures handed down by GOD the Creator to HIS creation.

You will note that the aforementioned Hindu idol deities emerged in the 1st millennium BC (Before Christ not Before the Common Era) through the 2nd century AD (Anno Domino – In the year of our Lord – not Common Era) when the earth was created by the Creator GOD (YHVH) in or about 4004BC according to the genealogies of the Holy Bible that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You can read of GOD’s family lines from Creation all the way to the birth of HIS only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ, “a Saviour which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), in the Old Testament Books: Genesis 1,4,5,11,15,17,21,29,30,35; 1 Chronicles 2:3-5,9-12,15, 3:5,16,17, 11:3; 2 Chronicles 26:1; 2 Samuel 5:3; Ruth 4:17-22; 1 Kings 2:12, 14:21,31, 15:8,24, 22:50; 2 Kings 14:21, 15:7,38, 16:20, 20:21, 21:18,26, 24:6; and in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew 1:2-16 and of Luke 3:23-38. The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ divided time on earth into BC and AD.

The all existing eternal GOD “In the beginning created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and said, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). GOD reveals further in HIS Holy Word, for it is written,

1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
2  The same was in the beginning with God. 
3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 
5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 
6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 
7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 
8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 
9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:1-14

The Lord Jesus Christ, Who is revealed and known as the King of kings and Lord of lords (see Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16) is the manifestation of the Creator GOD for we read, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). This is the historical record of GOD visiting HIS creation in the person of HIS Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

GOD reveals in the Book of Isaiah, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22), and continues by speaking through the prophet Isaiah, GOD reveals that HE is “the first, and with the last; I am he” (Isa 41:4) and, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isa 42:8). It is clear from this statement that GOD will not let HIS glory be usurped by any other gods and/or goddesses. This puts Hindus and the religion of Hinduism in peril with GOD since they worship the graven images of  Lakshmi and Ganesha, for GOD reiterates and brings an indictment against idolaters in Isaiah 42:17,18, “They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.”

Whilst GOD might be speaking to Israel, HE most certainly being the Only True and Living GOD makes known that all HIS creation must worship HIM alone and no other. For the prophet Moses reveals Who the GOD of creation is, when he writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as we read, “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6). Jacob got a name change from GOD; he was renamed Israel, “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel” (Genesis 35:10). Therefore, the GOD of creation whom we all are to worship is the GOD of Israel, a GOD many nations, peoples and languages despise because of their own man-made religions!

The prophet Isaiah continues GOD’s History when he records, 

10  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
11  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. ~ Isaiah 43:10,11

15  I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. ~ Isaiah 43:15

The prophet Isaiah continues writing what GOD makes known to him that the GOD of creation, the GOD of Israel, the One and Only True and Living GOD is One GOD who will not compete with idols and false gods, for we read, for it is written,

25  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
26  Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. ~ Isaiah 43:25,26

6  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. ~ Isaiah 44:6

24  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; ~ Isaiah 44:24

5  I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: ~ Isaiah 45:5

7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. ~ Isaiah 45:7

9a  Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! . . . ~ Isaiah 45:9a

18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. ~ Isaiah 45:18

20  Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
21  Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 
22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 
23  I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ~ Isaiah 45:20-23

This Old Testament “every knee shall bow” is magnified again in the New Testament by the apostle Paul when he preaches “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi” (Phil. 1:1), for it is written, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10,11).

Further, this is all summed up in the Second Commandment that was given to GOD’s prophet Moses upon Mount Sinai by GOD, which reads as follows,

3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 
4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:3-6, read also Deuteronomy 5:7-10

GOD makes known that no graven image (idol) is to be made in the likeness of HIS creation, not in human form or animal form, like Lakshmi and Ganesha respectively, and those who worship and serve these idols – in statue or picture form as graven images – are cursed to the third and fourth generations. Parents, or ancestral forefathers, who teach their children to worship idols will not be blessed as they often say, but the curse of GOD will proceed through their family lines to the third and fourth generations, and will so continue in like fashion until the generational curse is severed through “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). For the apostle John confirms this when he writes, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). GOD also makes known that idols are useless when HE speaks through HIS Word by the psalmist, and says,

1  Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. 
2  Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? 
3  But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. 
4  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 
5  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 
6  They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 
7  They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 
8  They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. ~ Psalm 115:1-8

GOD says in verse 8 here above that they (idol worshippers) are like their idols, lifeless; dead in their trespasses and sin! Hindus are not the only people who find themselves in this graven images predicament. So too are Roman Catholics (with their crucifixes with a Jesus still on the cross, the wafer-god in the Mass, Mary worship and other Saint statues), Buddhists, Darwinian Evolutionists (read Romans 1:20-23), the Jains of Jainism, Islamists, and the like.

There can much more be written where the True GOD of creation (YHVH – the Hebrew name being YEHOVAH) will shed True Light on the Truth.

In Conclusion

A typical Diwali vedic prayer from Brhadaranyaka Upanishad celebrating lights is this example of the Pavamana Mantra:

Asato ma sat gamaya | (असतो मा सद्गमय ।)
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya | (तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।)
Mṛtyor ma amṛtam gamaya | (मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।)
Om shanti shanti shantihi || (ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥)

Translation:

From untruth lead us to Truth.
From darkness lead us to Light.
From death lead us to Immortality.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

As can be seen from the preceding Holy Bible Scriptures one needs to know, or rather be known by, the True GOD. We will look at the Diwali prayer above and show the error of its ways and show what GOD truly says as HE reveals (my emphasis added in bold):

TRUTH

4  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. ~ Psalm 33:4

6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
~ John 14:6,7

LIGHT

1  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1

12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ~ John 8:12

ETERNAL LIFE / IMMORTALITY

1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 
2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 
3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 
4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 
5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
~ John 17:1-5

9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: ~ 2 Timothy 1:9,10

PEACE, PEACE, PEACE

11  The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. ~ Psalm 29:11

6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~ John 14:27 [JESUS The Prince of Peace speaking]

Why we preach / share the Gospel of Jesus Christ

As Christians we are commissioned to make known to the world the TRUTH (see Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8, 8:1,4) and as soldiers enlisted, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Our love for GOD is to reach as many lost souls for HIM as we possibly can. As Paul the apostle exhorted the believers by writing an epistle “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1:2), we read,

26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: ~ Colossians 1:26-28

Our hope and prayer is that as many Hindus, or just sinners, who would read this treatise and come to repentance through GOD’s calling, then this too will be your message, for it is written,

5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 
6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 
7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. ~ 1 John 1:5-7

Today while it is still today repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ ONLY, the Only True GOD and Saviour, for that is your only hope. Know this: Diwali is not a festival of true light, but darkness.

Soli Deo Gloria __________________________

Sources: The Authorised Version of the Holy Bible (King James, 1611) and Wikipedia.

President Paul Kruger

Voortrekker, Commando and Conservationist

by Dr. Peter Hammond

To view this article as a video, click here.

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To listen to the radio interview with Andrew Hitchcock, click here.

10 October used to be celebrated as Kruger’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, which marked the birth of this great founding father of our nation.

001 Groot Trek Oom Paul was born on his grandfather’s farm at Bulhoek, 10 October 1825. Paul’s parents were Casper Kruger and Elsie Steyn. Drought, locusts and migrating herds of buck forced them to lead a nomadic existence in the Karoo. He was hardened by nature and schooled by the Bible. He received only three months of formal education, mostly being home schooled. He read the Bible daily.

Voortrekker

His father, Casper Kruger, joined the Trek party of Hendrik Potgieter in one of the very first of the expeditions, 1835. As a young boy of 10-years-old, Paul Kruger set out on the Great Trek under Hendrik Potgieter.

Battle of Vegkop

At age 11, Paul Kruger was one of the "men" who successfully defeated the previously unbeaten Matabele Impies of Mzilikazi at the Battle of Vegkop.

002 Vegkop Fighter

He had a rough upbringing on the trail and, in the wilderness, became proficient in horse riding and hunting. After his baptism of fire at the Battle of Vegkop, he served in numerous campaigns against raiding tribes, including the Makapan in 1854 and Mapela in 1858. He led the Republican forces in the First Anglo Boer War of 1880-1881.

Farmer

Paul Kruger’s father first settled close to what is today Potchefstroom, and later moved to what is now Rustenberg. At age 16, Paul Kruger carved his own farm out of the wilderness at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountains. He later made this farm available to Missionaries from Andrew Murray’s Africa Institute to establish the first Reformed Mission station in the Transvaal.

Father

At age 17 he married Anna Marie Etresai du Plessis (1826-1846). His wife and child died January, 1846. He then married again in 1847, Gezina Suzanna du Plessis (1831-1901). Together they were blessed with 7 daughters and 9 sons. Before the end of his life he had over 144 grandchildren.

003 Paul Kruger Statue Reformed Christian

Paul Kruger was a deeply devout believer who studied the Scriptures daily. He memorised most of the Bible by heart. He was a founding member of the Gereformeerde Kerk, which was formed in Rustenberg in 1859. The Doppers, as the Gereformeerde Kerk members were known, separated from the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk 004 Rustenburg Church over a new Hymnbook, which they believed contradicted some of the principals of their foundational documents, the Synod of Dort, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession. The Gereformeerde Kerk founded the Potchefstroom University College for Higher Christian Education. The Gereformeerde Kerk uses only Hymns from the Bible, mainly the Psalms, and other Skrifberymings directly drawn from the Bible. His first involvement in politics began at age 25, when he represented the Transvaal at the Sand River Convention, 1852.

005 Volksraad Leader

Paul Kruger was a Field Cornet in the Commandos and eventually became Commandant General of the South African Republic. He was appointed member of a Commission of the Volksraad to draw up the Constitution for the Transvaal Republic. He was present at the Sand River Convention of 1852, in which the British government recognised the independence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. In 1875, he was elected as a member of the Executive Council and shortly after that became Vice President of the Transvaal. When President T.F. Burgers came to power in 1872, Paul Kruger could not support his liberal policies and resigned in early 1873. It was the declining popularity of Burgers that led Lord Shepstone to seize the Transvaal Republic and annex it to the British Empire. So unpopular was Burgers and his policies that not one Boer responded to his call for the Commandos to defend their independence.

However as the British began to tax the farmers, Paul Kruger became the most vocal leader of the Resistance to foreign rule. At a historic gathering at Paardekraal, in December 1880, the citizens restored the Republic, electing Paul Kruger, Piet Joubert and M.W. Pretorius to form a Triumvirate to lead their Republic.

006 Majuba Resistance

After the Transvaal was annexed by Britain in 1877, Paul Kruger led the resistance movement, visiting Britain as the leader of a deputation protesting the violation of the Sand River Convention and demanding the restoration of Transvaal independence. After the Boer victory at the Battle of Majuba in 1881, Paul Kruger played a vital role in the negotiations with the British which led to the restoration of the Transvaal independence.

President

On 30 December 1880, at age 55, Paul Kruger was elected President of the Transvaal. He visited Europe on a number of occasions and was received with great honour in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. In the elections of 1883, 1888, 1893 and 1898, Paul Kruger was victorious, each time defeating his main rival, Piet Joubert.

007 Gold Gold and the Uitlanders

The discovery of gold, on the Witwatersrand in 1884, had far-reaching political repercussions as Uitlanders poured into the Transvaal, dramatically changing the demographics and threatening to overwhelm the independence of the Boer Republic. In his Memoirs, Paul Kruger declared that instead of rejoicing at the discovery of gold, they should have wept, because of how it would cause their land to be soaked in blood.

008 Kruger Park Nature Conservation

Paul Kruger was far-sighted in his concern for nature conservation and he is credited with the establishment of the initial Sabi Reserve in the Eastern Transvaal which has grown into the greatest game reserve on earth: The Kruger National Park.

The Jameson Raid

Paul Kruger displayed tremendous wisdom and restraint in how he handled the treachery of some prominent miners in their attempt to foment revolution, and the failed Jameson Raid, led by Cecil John Rhodes’ most trusted leader, Leander Starr Jameson, in 1895. Instead of hanging the plotters, and imprisoning the invaders, as his own people demanded, he handed them over to the British government to deal with.

Paris Fashions

There are numerous amusing stories of Oom Paul on state visits overseas. On one occasion he walked into a French banquet hall only to immediately turn around and walk out, declaring: "I am sorry, I was not aware that your women were not yet dressed!" as a protest against the immoral fashions prevalent in Paris.

Half the Bible

When President Kruger announced that any church could receive an acre free for them to build their House of Worship on, he was approached by a Jewish Rabbi, who requested an acre. Oom Paul thought for a moment and then responded that he could have half an acre, as the Jews only believed half the Bible!

009 Pretoria Synagogue Dedicating a Synagogue to Christ

When the Rabbi invited the President to dedicate the Pretoria Synagogue, Oom Paul solemnly removed his hat and declared: "In the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I dedicate this Synagogue to the Glory of God." It may be the only Synagogue dedicated in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Uitlander Dilemma

With the radical economic and political challenges that followed the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, President Kruger was concerned that the miners would soon out-vote the farmers. To counter this possibility, he made the conditions of naturalisation more demanding. In 1890, the government restricted the Uitlander franchise for presidential and Volksraad elections to naturalised citizens who had been in the country for at least 14 years. A second Volksraad was created to represent Uitlander interests, to be elected by naturalised citizens of at least two years.

010 Anglo-Boer War Anglo Boer War

Sir Alfred Milner, the British High Commissioner in South Africa, was an ardent imperialist and committed to agitating Uitlander dissent and opposition to Kruger’s government in the Transvaal and the absorption of both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State into a British South Africa. As the British invaded the Transvaal, May 1899, President Kruger was sent overseas to raise support for the Boer cause. He withdrew through Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). There he boarded the Dutch Warship, Gelderland, sent by the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, which defied the British naval blockade to transport him safely to Europe.

011 Queen Wilhelmina Mobilising Opposition to Britain

In Europe he was greatly honoured as the principled leader of a courageous people who had been most unjustly invaded and abused by the British Empire. Visitors to Kruger House in Church Street, Pretoria, can see many of the trophies and awards granted by the Russian Tsar, the Emperor of Austria, Kaiser Willem II of Germany, from the Dutch, French, Italians and Swiss.

Honoured Hero

Oom Paul died in exile in Clarens, Switzerland, 14 July 1904. On 16 December 1904 his remains were reburied in Heroes Acre in Church Street Cemetery, Pretoria. A statue of Paul Kruger in his characteristic formal dress, stands in the centre of Church Square, Pretoria. The Kruger Rand gold coin is named in his honour and features his face. A Street in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Krügerstrasse was named after him. His greatest monument is the Kruger National Park.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” ~ Proverbs 9:10

KRUGER HOUSE

Pretoria is also home to Kruger House, the historic residence of the President of the South Africa Republic, Paul Kruger. Built in 1884, by architect Tom Claridge, this house was the first in Pretoria to be lit by electricity. The two stone lions on the veranda were presented to President Kruger as a birthday gift on 10 October 1896, by mining magnet, Barney Barnato.

Oom Paul, as the president was often referred to, used to receive citizens on the stoep to discuss their concerns over coffee and koeksisters.

Kruger House now houses a Museum with many fascinating artefacts and furnishings from Paul Kruger and the tumultuous times in which he lived. Paul Kruger and his family lived in this house on Church Street from 1884 to 1900. The museum includes the president’s state coach and ox-wagon and many of the awards received during his exile in Europe, the presidential railway coach he travelled on for official business and artefacts from the Anglo Boer War.

Dr. Peter Hammond

Reformation Society
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Email:
mission@frontline.org.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.frontlinemissionsa.org

This article was adapted from a chapter of Sketches from South African History. And the full lecture on audio CD, as delivered at the Reformation Society are both available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358 Howard Place 7450 Cape Town South Africa Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: admin@christianlibertybooks.co.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

See also:

The Great Trek and the Battle of Blood River

The First Anglo-Boer War

Copyright © 2018 Reformation Society. All Rights Reserved.

Soli Deo Gloria

The DAY of the COVENANT and the BATTLE of BLOOD RIVER

To listen to an audio presentation of this lecture as given to the Reformation Society, click here.
To watch the video presentation of this lecture as given to the Reformation Society, click here.
To view this presentation with pictures as a PowerPoint on Slideshare, click here.

An abbreviated translation of this message in Afrikaans is also available, click here.

"Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps Covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 7:9

The Battle of Blood River
For over a century and a half, throughout South Africa, 16 December has been observed as The Day of the Covenant. Marking the decisive Battle of Blood River, the Day of the Covenant has been recognised by many, not only as a victory for the Voortrekkers, but as a triumph for Western civilization and Christianity in Africa.

Spiritual Warfare
It should be noted that before the Battle of Blood River, 16 December 1838, there were no known Christians amongst the Zulu nation. Despite the dedicated spiritual labours of British and American missionaries amongst the Zulus for 18 years previously, so great was the hold of superstition, the reign of terror of the Zulu kings, and fear of the witchdoctors, that no Zulus were known to have responded to the preaching of the Gospel before the defeat of Dingaan’s Impis at Blood River.

Christianity Vs. Witchcraft
One could similarly note that despite the strenuous labours of famous British missionary Robert Moffat, and others, amongst the Matabele, in what became Rhodesia, there were no baptised Matabele converts to Christianity before the defeat of Lobengula’s Impis in the Matabele War of 1893.

The Spiritual Liberation of the Zulu
Observing the significance of The Day of the Covenant is not in any sense anti-Zulu. I have many precious friends amongst the Zulu. Having read extensively on their history, and visited many of the strategic battle sites and museums in Zululand, I have to regard the Covenant made by the Boers, and The Battle of Blood River, as the beginning of the spiritual liberation of Zululand. Only after The Battle of Blood River did hundreds, and then thousands, of Zulus come to Christ.

Love in Action
It needs to be noted that after their victory over Dingaan’s forces the Afrikaans Christians built a magnificent mission station and church at Mgundgundlovu (Dingaanstad) within sight of the massacre of the Trek leader Piet Retief and his 100 followers who were brutally tortured and massacred. The Afrikaans missionaries built a school for the blind, an evangelists training college, and many other expressions of Christian love for their former enemies.

Zululand for Christ
After the final defeat of the Zulu military, in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, Zulus came to Christ by the hundreds of thousands. Today there are millions of Zulu Christians.

Vikings for Christ
As a descendant of the Vikings, I look to our former enemy, King Alfred the Great, as one of my Spiritual forefathers. Although the original Hammonds would have been among the Viking invaders of England, I recognise that the conversion and discipling of the once brutal Vikings began with the military victory of King Alfred the Great and his Saxon armies over the Vikings. Similarly, I believe that our Zulu brothers and sisters in Christ can rejoice in the Spiritual liberation of the Zulu nation that began with the original Day of the Covenant.

Possessing the Gates of their Enemies
Those who have been justified by Faith are known as children of Abraham. The Father of the Faithful was tested by the Lord when he was required to prepare his own son, Isaac, for sacrifice. Abraham foresaw the coming of Jesus Christ when he declared: "God will Himself provide the Lamb…" Genesis 22:8

God sent His angel to stop Abraham: "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him: for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Genesis 22:11

The Word of the Lord was revealed to Abraham: "In blessing I will bless thee, in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies." Genesis 22:17

Blessing the Nations
In Christ, the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12 and Genesis 22 are fulfilled. In Matthew 16 Christ declares that He is building His Church and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against His Church. (Matthew16:18). The Cultural Mandate (Genesis 1:28), and The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) are fulfilled as the children of Abraham are faithful in living and proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, applying the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life. Entire nations will be blessed as they are brought under the whole counsel of God’s Word.

Understanding the Times
As God’s people, we need to know God and to make Him known. We need to understand our history in order to build for a better future. We need to "understand the times" and know what God wants us to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Shaka and the Mfekane
Shaka had built the Zulu into a great warlike nation. He unleashed waves of destruction impi ebomvu (total war) that left enormous stretches of country uninhabited by people. The Mfekane unleashed by Shaka had led to the annihilation of literally hundreds of tribes. Known as "the Black Napoleon", Shaka had soaked Southern Africa in blood, devastating countless kraals, particularly between 1820 and 1824. Shaka was described as tall, handsome and a military genius. He moulded the previously insignificant Zulu tribe into a mighty war machine. He introduced new systems of fighting, abandoning the long throwing spears, and introducing the far more lethal short handled broad-bladed assegai. He compelled his men to throw away their sandals and to harden their feet. His regiments (Impis) would be compelled to dance on thorns and if anyone showed pain they were immediately executed. Instead of standing at a distance singing, and taunting the enemy, and ineffectually throwing their spears, Shaka trained his men to fight as a cohesive unit, in the shape of cattle horns. The most experienced troops were at the head to gore, and the younger warriors were put on the horns to encircle the enemy. The Zulu were trained to rush straight in for the kill. They overwhelmed every tribe they came across and annihilated them. Many of the young women and young boys from these defeated tribes were amalgamated into the Zulu tribe, but the older people and warriors were exterminated.

Mzilikazi’s Path of Blood
One of Shaka’s most effective generals, Mzilikazi, was a dynamic, and ambitious, man. (Mzilikazi was born in 1790, making him slightly the junior of Shaka who was born in 1787.) Mzilikazi was 34 when he fled Zululand with his Impi and founded Matebele nation. To avoid retribution at the hands of his king, Shaka, Mzilikazi led his men on a devastating path of blood through the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and Botswana, later settling in what became Rhodesia. Mzilikazi spared the most promising of the vanquished tribes to be incorporated into his army and tribe. He moulded his heterogeneous horde into a great nation using the best of Zulu military tactics. His path through the interior of Southern Africa was as devastating as a veld fire, as he slaughtered, captured, plundered and left destruction in his wake. Until his defeat at the hands of the Boers at Vegkop, the Matabele were operating out of Western Transvaal. Their defeat at the hands of Hendrik Potgieter’s trekkers led Mzilikazi’s men to flee across the Limpopo River to settle in Matabeleland (in what later became Rhodesia, and ultimately Zimbabwe).

Dingaan’s Treachery
On 22 September 1828, Shaka, the founder and King of the Zulus, was stabbed to death by his half-brothers, Princes Dingaan and Mhlangana. Missionaries and English traders who visited Zululand described Dingaan as "astute", "sly", "cruel", "temperamental", "brutal", "charming", "diplomatic" and "treacherous".

Shortly after murdering his half-brother, Dingaan quickly arranged the assassination of his co-conspirator Mhlangana, and then systematically executed all aristocratic rivals and anyone else who could possible be a danger to him, including the commander-in-chief of Shaka’s army, Ndlaka, who he had strangled.

Dingaan was about 30 years old when he seized power. He began to build himself a new capital in Mgungundlovu (the place of the great elephant).

Dingaan quickly accumulated over 300 wives and concubines. Traders and missionaries described Dingaan’s appetite as "voracious, sexually and otherwise" and he soon became extremely obese.

Unlike his brother Shaka, Dingaan preferred to stay at his palace. He was not a warrior like Shaka. Instead of leading military campaigns, he sent out his Impis and remained at Mgungundlovu surrounded by a continual programme of feasting and dancing.

The Gullibility of Piet Retief
When the Trek leader Piet Retief came to Dingaan to negotiate the right for the Voortrekkers to settle in the depopulated territory between the Tugela and the Bushmans River (present day Natal) he was warned by the missionaries that one of the principle objectives of Shaka had been to totally depopulate all the surrounding territory as far as his soldiers could penetrate so that his followers, over whom he held such despotic sway, might have no asylum or refuge if they attempted to escape his murderous rule. Retief was also warned that the defeat of the renegade Zulu general Mzilikazi at the hands of the Boers in the Transvaal had sent shockwaves through Zululand. As Dingaan’s military expeditions against Mzilikazi had all been indecisive, he feared the power of the Boers. Yet, Piet Retief seemed supremely self-confident and brushed aside every warning about the danger of the dictator with whom he was attempting to negotiate.

Mgundgundlovu
Dingaan’s capital, Mgungundlovu, was described as an efficient military camp entirely fenced in with thorn bushes. The king’s quarters dominated the high ground, overlooking the two thousand huts to the sides of the main entrance and open arena. Each hut accommodated twenty warriors. Within the lines of the military huts were four strongly fenced in cattle kraals. Dingaan’s own quarters consisted of hundreds of beehive huts including huts for his enormous harem, and his counsel house and reception hall, both some 20 feet in height, with the roof supported by 22 pillars entirely covered in bead work. The floors were made of mud and dung, polished with blood and fat until they shone like a mirror. Mgungundlovu as a whole was arranged in ovals, circles and semi-circles, with thousands of beehive huts appearing like beads in a necklace. Facing the capital, on the other side of the stream below was the hill of execution (KwaMatiwane).

In the Presence of Dingaan
Dingaan required his subjects to throw themselves to the ground and crawl forward in the dust for about two hundred metres before coming to a halt a good distance from his throne. Piet Retief and the other white visitors refused to succumb to such an indignity, and stood in the presence of the king. They noted that Dingaan was entirely hairless. He was shaved every day and was described as having an abhorrence of human hair. He wore many ornaments on his head and his body was rubbed daily with fat to make him appear like polished ebony.

Warnings from the Missionaries
Acting as the king’s secretary was Rev. Francis Owen of the Church Missionary Society. Most of what we know concerning the meetings of Piet Retief with Dingaan come from Owen’s diary.

Piet Retief first reached Mgundgundlovu on 5 November 1837. The king entertained him with war dances by thousands of his warriors. Owen warned him of the countless cruelties, tortures and executions that he had been forced to witness. However, Piet Retief seemed most impressed with the "sincerity", "graciousness", "intelligence", and "goodwill" of Dingaan.

After seeking to impress Retief for two days with parades of his regiments and herds, Dingaan informed Retief that he was willing to grant the Trekkers the territory his armies had depopulated across the Tugela, and around Port Natal – on condition that Piet Retief should return the cattle, which had been taken by Sikonyela and his Batlokoa people. As they had come on horseback and dressed in clothes, Sikonyela’s people had been assumed to be Boers. To prove that the trekkers were not in any way responsible for Sikonyela’s cattle raid, he required them to deal with this chief.

The CMS missionary, Francis Owen, warned Piet Retief that he was wasting his time, for Dingaan was utterly inconsistent and had already granted the desired territory to the English government through John Gardiner. However, Piet Retief regarded the expedition against Sikonyela as necessary for the vindication of their honour. Owen questioned how a man of Retief’s intelligence could attach any value to any promise made by a tyrant like Dingaan.

When Piet Retief later gave an enthusiastic account of the splendours of Dingaan, his kindness and boundless hospitality, American missionary Rev. George Champion declared: "I have known Dingaan for two years Mr Retief, and I know full well what a dangerous character he is. I can only see disaster should you visit him again." Rev. Kirkwood also warned Retief of Dingaan’s intention to have him put to death as "a wizard." But Retief brushed all their warnings aside declaring: "Have no apprehension on my account!"

Sikonyela and the Batlokoa
Chief Sikonyela was described as a man who always caused trouble. He was the son of a famous warrior queen Ma Ntatisa. He had done his share of devastating the country along the Caledon River. The remnants of the devastated tribes he moulded into the Batlokoa. Cattle raids were part of the African way of life and both Sikonyela and many of the trekkers questioned Retief’s actions as contrary to his own code of behaviour by interfering in inter-tribal affairs. However, Retief felt himself justified in taking action, if these people had indeed posed as Boers. Retief managed to avoid bloodshed by using a pair of handcuffs to restrain Sikonyela and then declaring that he was "under arrest" and they would only take the handcuffs off if he returned the stolen cattle. Sikonyela was kept prisoner for three days while the seven hundred cattle were rounded up and identified by the accompanying Zulus.

Failing to Heed Advice
A passing trader warned Piet Retief of Dingaan’s planned treachery against him upon his return. Fellow trek leader Gert Maritz repeatedly warned Piet Retief not to return to Dingaan declaring: “I do not trust Dingaan!” But, every attempt to dissuade Piet Retief was brushed aside. Maritz reminded him of the murder of Anders Stockenstrom in 1811 while having friendly talks with a band of Xhosas.

Gullible’s Travels
Piet Retief, with almost a hundred followers, arrived at Mgundgundlovu on Saturday 3 February. He was rebuked by Dingaan for having released Sikonyela unharmed. Dingaan was shocked that Retief had not executed him, or at least brought him to the Zulu capital for execution.

He then requested the Boers to make a demonstration of their war dances on their horses. The trekkers staged an impromptu charge on horseback in the royal arena, making the air resound with the sound of their muskets. Dingaan and his subjects had never seen anything like it and were plainly shocked at the speed and agility of the Boers on horseback and the deafening sound of their muskets. The missionary warned Retief that his display was entrenching the fear of Dingaan that he was a wizard and a threat that must be eradicated.

However, when Dingaan agreed to sign the document drawn up by Retief to cede the territory between the Tugela and Umzimvubu Rivers to the trekkers, Retief felt that all of his trust in the word of Dingaan was fulfilled. This document was placed in his leather briefcase with great relief.

However, the CMS missionary, Rev. Owen, was most disturbed that Retief and his followers had missed the Sunday morning church service on 4 February, for these formalities for the king. Retief later said that he had forgotten what day of the week it was.

On Monday the trekkers were treated to an endless display of war dances and military manoeuvres by Dingaan’s Impis. Dingaan was described as "a master showman" with his entertainment the most spectacular ever seen in the sub-continent. Dingaan again asked for a display of the Boers war tactics on horseback. The Zulus sat stunned at the speed and perfect control of the men with their rifles on horseback.

Defenceless Before Dingaan
On Tuesday morning William Wood, a young English trader fluent in Zulu, who was visiting the Owens, warned Retief that "your entire party will be massacred before the day is out." As the Retief party struck camp and were preparing to leave, they were invited to a final farewell display. For this they were requested to leave their firearms, bandoleers and powder horns outside the gates of the kraal. Incredibly, they acceded to this demand. Leaving their firearms outside the kraal, they walked defenceless into the arena of Dingaan’s kraal. After ominous war dances which increased in volume and intensity, Dingaan stood up and shouted "Babulaleni abathakathi!" ("kill the wizards!").

Cold Blooded Murder
From across the stream on the opposite hillside, Francis Owen was reading the New Testament when a messenger rushed up to inform him that Dingaan had decided to kill the Boers but he was not to be concerned. Owen looked with horror as he saw an immense multitude, "about nine or ten Zulus to each Boer were dragging the helpless unarmed victims to the fatal spot" on the hill of execution. Many of the Boers were impaled on assegais, and they were all clubbed to death. Piet Retief’s young son was killed before his eyes. Amongst the dead was their interpreter, Thomas Halstead, the only Englishman of the party. The various missionaries and traders who had warned Piet Retief repeatedly questioned how such an intelligent and experienced man as Piet Retief could have been so thoroughly deceived, even mesmerized, by the tyrant Dingaan. Soon, the sky above the hill of execution was black with vultures. The heart and liver of Piet Retief was brought to Dingaan, but the rest of the corpses were left out in the open on the hill of execution to later be discovered along with Retief’s blood-stained leather case containing the signed treaty with Dingaan. It was almost ten years since Dingaan had murdered his half-brother Shaka to assume the chieftainship.

Massacre at Midnight
About noon on that fateful Tuesday, 6 February, Rev. Owen saw Dingaan send out a huge army in the direction from where the Boers had come. There was no doubt that even worse was to come. In the early hours of 17 February, ten thousand Zulu warriors attacked the sleeping Voortrekkers between the Bushman’s [and] the Blaauwkrants Rivers. There was no moon that night and it was pitch dark. Trekkers awoke to the sounds of their dogs barking. Wave after wave of Zulu warriors were stabbing men, women and children, wiping out whole families.

Fighting for their Lives
The followers of Gert Maritz were more cautiously laagered and better prepared to defend themselves. However, the followers of Piet Retief were spread out and most vulnerable. Sarel Cilliers and Gert Maritz led charges to rescue fleeing trekkers. Women and children, even as young as ten years old, fought tenaciously, selling their lives dearly. Marthinus Oosthuizen charged through the mass of Zulus to a wagon for ammunition and then back again to re-supply the beleaguered Van Rensburgs surrounded on a hill.

Devastation
Fighting continued until the afternoon of the 17th when the Zulu army retreated, taking over 25,000 cattle, and many horses and sheep, with them. Many hundreds of the Zulu attackers had been killed in the fierce fighting. As the Voortrekkers began to count up their own dead, they grieved over the loss of 185 of their children murdered. Of the women 56 were dead – this included even grandmothers – many with multiple assegai wounds. The murdered men numbered 40. Incredibly, some women who had been horribly stabbed were found alive amongst the piles of dead. Johanna van der Merwe and Margarita Prinsloo had each survived despite 20 assegai wounds, and Klasina Le Roux with 17 stab wounds.

Weenen
As Gert Maritz organized a mass burial of the slain trekkers, the sky was full of circling vultures and the sounds of weeping could be heard throughout the area. The Boers later founded a town at the site of the massacre which was named Weenen (The Place of Weeping).

Ambushed at the Buffalo River
On 6 April a counter-attack by a Boer commander led by the two rival leaders Piet Uys and Andries Potgieter was ambushed across the Buffalo River at Italeni. A British expedition from Port Natal rushed to assist the beleaguered trekkers, but ten of the commando were killed, including Piet Uys and his brave son Dirkie who kept fighting by his father’s side to the very end. As this commando retreated it became known as the Vlugcommando (the fleeing commando).

Disaster
It was the darkest time of despair for the Voortrekkers. Death, disaster and dissention seemed to doom their ambitious enterprise.

Andries Pretorius Comes from the Transvaal
With the arrival of Andries Pretorius from the Transvaal, there was fresh hope. The widow of Piet Retief declared of Andries Pretorius: "This man has been sent by God. He will help us obtain justice." Andries Pretorius was a dynamic pistol packing farmer from Graaf Reinet. He was described as a tall, imposing figure in a well cut suit, with a pistol and a cutlass at his belt. He also came with 60 Transvaal volunteers for the Wencommando that he intended to organize. At an assembly of the Volksraad, Pretorius was elected Commandant General.

The Wencommando
Within a couple of days, he was heading out with 464 men, and 64 wagons, to engage the Zulus. Pretorius adopted the motto Eendragt Maakt Magt (unity is strength). (These words were to become the motto of the Transvaal Republic.) All in the Wencommando (The Victory Commando) were lectured on discipline, Christian conduct, decency, integrity, compassion and courage. As God’s soldiers their conduct had to be of a high standard. The chaplain, Sarel Cilliers, who was widely respected as a man of God, and who had proved himself in battle at Vegkop, ensured strict religious observance with daily devotions and prayer times where the men were required to kneel.

On the move the 64 wagons travelled in four rows so as not to make the column too long for the vanguards and rear guards to protect from ambush. Every night their laager was drawn up, sentries posted, inspections held, and defensive drills practiced. Scouting patrols were sent out every day to ascertain the whereabouts of the Zulu army, and to identify any potential threats.

The Covenant
As the Tugela River was flood, the Wencommando crossed near Spioenkop. At Waschbank, on Sunday 9 December, Sarel Cilliers stood on a gun carriage before the men had who assembled for worship and he proposed a solemn vow: "My brethren and fellow countrymen, at this moment we stand before the Holy God of Heaven and earth to make a promise. If He will be with us and protect us and deliver the enemy into our hands so that we may triumph over him, that we may observe the day and the date as an anniversary in each year and a day of Thanksgiving like the Sabbath, in His honour; and that we shall enjoin our children that they must take part with us in this, for remembrance even for our posterity; and if anyone sees a difficulty in this, let them return from this place. For the honour of His Name shall be joyfully exalted, and to Him the fame and the honour of the victory must be given."

All the English volunteers joined with the Afrikaans Voortrekkers in taking this Vow. From 9 December the Vow was repeated every evening, up until the night of the 15th, during evening services when Psalms were sung and prayers were offered.

Confronting the Zulu
There was a calm deliberation amongst the men of the Wencommando. They knew that they were going up against the most formidable force in Africa at that time. Up to that point, the Zulu Impis had never been beaten. They knew that Dingaan had over 20,000 warriors that he could throw at them. They were only 464, and this being 1838, they only had smooth ball muskets, which required 30 to 40 seconds to reload. And they knew charging Zulu warriors could cover a lot of ground in that time.

To the Ncome River
On Saturday the 15th of December the Commando crossed the Buffalo River and outspanned between the Buffalo River and the Ncome River. Two scouts reported that they had seen a huge Zulu army only half an hour ride away. Pretorius inspected the terrain for a suitable laager site and he sensed God’s guidance for there was a perfect spot on the other side of the Ncome. On its western bank there was a deep hippopotamus pool and a large donga, or gully. The laager was set up making use of these natural defensive features on two sides. The 64 wagons were firmly lashed together with two battle gates secured at the two openings where the canon were placed. The back of the D-formation was set against the donga, and the semi-circle faced towards the open plain. Candles were set out everywhere and lanterns suspended over the wagons on the long whip handles, to prevent the Zulus from approaching the laager unseen in the night. As Sarel Cilliers led the Commando in repeating the Vow for the last time, and then in singing the Psalms, the Zulus had moved within earshot and could hear their strange singing and see the eerily lit laager.

To Beat the Unbeatable Foe
It was a suspenseful moonless night. Two hours before dawn the trekkers were at their posts. A veil of mist lifted and a perfect day broke. There was not a cloud in the vivid blue sky and there was no wind. It was a day of crystal clarity. As the mist lifted the Boers saw the entire Zulu army seated facing them with their shields in front. The front row of the Zulus was only 40 paces away from the half moon of wagons. Row after row of Zulu regiments were grouped according to the colour of their shields. There were between 12,000 and 15,000 Zulu’s surrounding the laager.

"Do not fear their numbers, we can deal with them", shouted Pretorius. As warriors were moving into position to attack from the donga in the rear, Commandant Pretorius decided to seize the initiative and he ordered his men to open fire immediately. Before the Zulus could even begin their intimidating war dances the roar of gunfire shattered the early morning peace. The day began in furious battle with Zulus yelling, hissing, smashing their assegais against their shields, thunderously stamping the ground with their feet, charging the laager at full speed. The two little canon cut swathes through the Zulu ranks, and the deadly aim of the Boer Commandos took their toll. As a mass of Zulus tried to scale the donga and assault the rear of the laager, Sarel Cilliers led his men to cut them down.

Taunting the Enemy
As the Zulus retreated out of range to about 500 metres, Pretorius sent out his brother and an interpreter to taunt the Zulus: "What are you doing, men of Dingaan? We have come to fight men, not women and children! Why don’t you attack?"

Facing the Zulu Tidal Wave
The Zulus leapt up to attack, drumming their shields, yelling, whistling, hissing and swept in a black wave down upon the wagons. This was the longest charge of the two hour battle. Muzzles were becoming dangerously hot, wagons bristled with assegais, but the strategic positioning of the laager was frustrating the assaults of the Zulus. The closer they got to the wagons, the more they were funnelled and compressed by the river and the donga until they were tripping into one another and stumbling over their earlier casualties. Their losses were becoming enormous, yet without achieving anything. Never in the experience of their warrior nation had anything like this happened to them before.

Charging the Enemy
Andries Pretorius sensed a change in the tempo of the battle and ordered a charge from the laager. He had the two canon dragged out and fired from the front. Then he led a charge into the middle of the Zulu Impi. For the first time in history a Zulu Impi broke and fled. The cohesion on which the Zulu Impis was based was shattered. The Zulus began to flee across the Ncome River, many drowning in the process. As Pretorius fired on one Zulu his horse reared and threw him off. A Zulu lunged at him and Pretorius managed to ward off the assegai with his rifle. As the Zulu struck again Pretorius was thrust through his left hand. He pinned the Zulu to the ground and grappled hand to hand until the warrior was stabbed with his own assegai.

Pursuing the Enemy
On the other side Sarel Cilliers led a commando charge that put to flight the other section of the Zulu army. The mounted Boers pursued the fleeing Zulus, shooting at them as long as their bullets lasted, and firing pebbles when all their bullets were exhausted. Over 3,000 Zulu dead were counted around the laager. Yet not one Voortrekker had been killed, although several were wounded.

Thanksgiving
As the sun set the exhausted Commando members returned for a service of Thanksgiving and for their first meal of the day. Then they had to clean their muskets and cast bullets for the final push to track down Dingaan at Mgundgundlovu.

The Remains of Retief
By the 20th December the Zulu capital was sighted. It was ablaze from one end to the other. Dingaan had fled and set fire to his own capital. When the grizzly remains of Piet Retief and his 100 followers was discovered on KwaMatiwane they saw the legs and arms still tied with thongs, the impaling sticks still visible. Next to the remains of Piet Retief lay his water bottle and leather satchel which still contained Dingaan’s signed and witnessed agreement for the cession of Natal.

On Christmas Day the remains of these victims were all gathered and buried in a communal grave at the foot of the koppie.

The Zulu kingdom fell into a civil war and Dingaan was overthrown by his half-brother Mpande.

Loving their Enemies
It is remarkable that, despite the treachery that the Boers had endured at the hands of the Zulu, and the massacres of so many unsuspecting women and children on the banks of the Blaauwkrans River, that no atrocities were committed by the Boers in retaliation. Instead, the Biblical injunction to love their enemies was fulfilled by the vigorous missionary work which was established by the Reformed Church in Zululand, establishing schools, hospitals, churches and orphanages, even within sight of where Piet Retief and his followers were so brutally murdered. In the century and a half since that original Day of the Covenant, many millions of Zulus have come to Christ and Zululand has been blessed by Revival. In a very real sense all of that began with the Covenant proposed by Sarel Cilliers, and enthusiastically adopted by the Wencommando.

Set Free to Serve Christ
Just as the descendants of the Vikings can look back to their one time enemy King Alfred the Great as their Spiritual father who brought the first Vikings to the Lord after defeating them in battle, so the Zulus and the Afrikaners and English, with whom they had once been locked in deadly battle, are now united in Christ. With the defeat of Dingaan, and later Ceteswayo, the power of the witchdoctors was also broken and the Spiritual liberation of the Zulu people began. As the Lord promised in Genesis 22:17: "…thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies…" Jesus Christ is building His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Blessed in Order to be a Blessing
God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled to this day: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and ye shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12:2-3


Dr. Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
mission@frontline.org.za
www.FrontlineMissionSA.org
Sources:
The Voortrekkers, by Johannes Meintjes, 1973, Corgi Books
The Great Trek, by C. Venter, 1985, Nelson
The Voortrekkers of South Africa, by M. Nathan, 1937, London.
Andries Pretorius in Natal, by B.J. Liebenberg, 1977, Pretoria.
The Washing of the Spears, by Donald Morris, 1966, Jonathan Cape.

This message was presented by Dr. Peter Hammond to The Reformation Society. The audio CD and PowerPoint are available from Christian Liberty Books:
P.O. Box 358 Howard Place 7450 Cape Town South Africa
Tel & Fax: 021-689-7478
Email:
admin@christianlibertybooks.co.za
Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za


Both of the above books are available from Christian Liberty Books.

Promotion of One Religion in Schools Not Allowed Rebuttal

THIS blog post will consist of two newspaper articles, a rebuttal of judge Willem van der Linde’s South Gauteng High Court ruling and a conclusion by writer from the only True standard being the Holy Word of GOD. The School Governing Bodies (SGBs) will not be legally bound by this decision until such time as this judgment has been appealed to and until such time the appeals are concluded and therefore the SGBs can continue as before with their chosen religious ethos.

ChristianView Network condemns this mornings judgment of Wednesday 28 June 2017, by the South Gauteng High Court that school governing bodies may not adopt a particular single faith religious ethos is legally flawed for multiple reasons and hopefully will be overturned on appeal. The ruling undermines the authority of parents through the school governing body. It is unfair to people of faith who have to contribute taxes towards education, but cannot then benefit by having those taxes used towards single faith ethos. The national consultation by Education Minister Bengu in 1999 found that almost all parents and religious groups wanted single faith ethos in schools. . . .

The matter will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal and then to the Constitutional Court and thus School governing bodies will not be legally bound by this decision until such time as such appeals are concluded. In the interim, they will be able to continue as before. – Philip Rosenthal of ChristianView Network (Source)

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The first newspaper article

Single religion schools unlawful

News / 29 June 2017, 07:57am / Kamcilla Pillay and Zimasa Matiwane (Source)

Judge's gavel

KwaZulu-Natal religious bodies have welcomed the South Gauteng High Court ruling against the promotion of one denomination over another at public schools.

Judge Willem van der Linde said in his ruling on Monday: “Neither a school governing body nor a public school may lawfully hold out that it subscribes to only a single particular religion to the exclusion of others.”

In May, the Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy brought an application to the high court asking it to rule against having one dominant religion observed at public schools.

The organisation, reported the African News Agency, brought the application against six schools: Laerskool Randhart, Laerskool Baanbreker, Laerskool Garsfontein, Hoërskool Linden, Hoërskool Oudtshoorn and Oudtshoorn Gimnasium, arguing that religious practices at these schools resulted in the suppression of scientific teachings of evolution, and a religious ethos that was a form of coercion and an abuse of pupils’ rights.

Van der Linde said public spaces were not “rarefied spaces” but public ones which needed to help to achieve “universal and non-discriminatory access to education”.

The judge also said the constitution demanded that provision for religious policies and observances needed to be conducted on a “free and voluntary, and equitable” basis.

“In this country, our diversity is celebrated, not tolerated.”

Van der Linde questioned if it would be acceptable if a public school, through rules laid down by the school governing body, held out that it was “exclusively a Jewish, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or an atheist, school”.

“Accepting a notional feeder community of 100% single religion parents, could it ever pass muster of the need for a national democratic respect for our country’s diverse cultural and religious traditions for that school to brand itself as adhering to that particular single faith to the exclusion of others?”

The national department of education said the ruling was consistent with its own policy, informed by the South African Schools Act and the constitution, that no one religion should be promoted above another.

“The aim is not to ban religious practices in schools but about protecting children and emphasising that schools should engage in religion education rather than religious instruction and not promote one religion over another,” said a spokesperson for the department.

Chairperson of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, Motsamai Lekata, said the organisation welcomed the “progressive” judgment.

He said today’s pupils would interact with a far “more pluralistic society” and that schools were the one place where different religions met.

“South Africa is one nation but its people believe in many gods. This, if implemented correctly, will teach our pupils tolerance, diversity, equality and justice,” Lekata said.

South African Muslim Network chairperson Dr Faisal Suliman said fostering a culture of inclusion should be a “natural, human inclination”.

“We are trying to build social cohesion. How do we do that? We try to understand each other: it starts here, at our schools. This will go a long way in eradicating extremism too.”

He praised the judgment for its values of mutual tolerance and acceptance.

Ashwin Trikamjee, president of the Hindu Maha Sabha, said that – especially 23 years after the advent of democracy – this kind of case should not be coming before the courts.

“We very often hear complaints from disgruntled parents about this exclusion. It should not be happening in this day and age.”

It was not the responsibility of schools to teach children about their faith, said chairperson for the Diakonia Council of Churches, the Reverend Ian Booth.

“This is for places of worship to do. We would support this judgment as it is in keeping with our constitution.”

The ChristianView Network did not approve of the ruling and said it confused the “constitutional affirmation of unity in diversity with the positive requirement of celebrating diversity”.

“In other words, tolerance of other religions does not imply a need to ‘celebrate’ multi-faith observances, with which most people of faith have a strong objection.”

The Mercury

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the second newspaper article

Judge Willem van der Linde hands down the ruling at the High Court in Johannesburg. (Wikus De Wet-Netwerk24)‘Schools should not adopt one religion to the exclusion of others’ – judge

2017-06-28 10:35 – News24 (Source)

Johannesburg – The High Court in Johannesburg has handed down a ruling on religion in public schools, saying that schools can’t promote one religion.

The case was brought by the Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy (OGOD) against six schools.

"Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that:
(a) Those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities;
(b) They are conducted on an equitable basis; and
(c) Attendance at them is free and voluntary," Judge Willem van der Linde said while handing down the judgment, quoting from Section 15 of the Constitution which deals with freedom of religion, belief and opinion.

"…we have however also found at the level of principle that neither a school governing body nor a public school may lawfully hold out that it subscribes to only a single particular religion to the exclusion of others," said Van der Linde.

OGOD wanted the court to declare unconstitutional the religion policy of six schools: Randhart Primary School in Alberton, Baanbreker Primary School in Boksburg, Garsfontein Primary School in Pretoria, Linden High School in Johannesburg, Oudtshoorn High School and Langenhoven Gymnasium in Oudtshoorn, Netwerk24 previously reported.

The six schools, the ministers of basic education and justice, and the National Society for School Governing Bodies were respondents.

The court found that it was against the Education Act to "promote one faith or one religion primarily at the expense of others or allow school staff to do it", Netwerk24 reported.

"In the circumstances, we issue the following order:
(a). It is declared that it offends Section 7 of the Schools Act, 84 of 1996 for a public school –
(i). To promote or allow its staff to promote that it as a public school adheres to only one, or predominantly only one, religion to the exclusion of others; and
(ii). To hold out that it promotes the interests of any one religion in favour of others."

The remainder of the relief claimed was refused and there was no order as to costs.

Advocate Hendrik van Nieuwenhuizen, for OGOD, said it is in the interests of South African democracy that public schools are not allowed to promote a particular religion, but that the choice of religion lies with pupils.

Advocate Adrian d’Oliveira, the school’s legal representative, said every school community was unique and should therefore be allowed to choose a religious policy that serves the community. They wanted the court to recognise the "governing authority" of the school governing bodies.

Advocate Matthew Chaskalson, for the minister of basic education, said the national policy on religion and education prohibited public schools from offering religious education in a single faith or in favour of a particular religious ethos.

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rebuttal by philip rosenthal

Thought Leaders June 29, 2017 (Source)

Religion in public schools judgment is ‘flawed’ – Philip Rosenthal

JOHANNESBURG — Religious freedom is one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s Constitutional democracy. The state is secular and people have the right to choose their beliefs. But in a multi-faceted society as complex as South Africa, huge differences in opinion are set to emerge. Subsequently, a landmark judgment delivered this week regarding religion in public schools is already causing heated debate. The South Gauteng High Court ruled this week that public schools should not favour any one religion over others. The landmark ruling came about amid the Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy having brought the case against six schools with a Christian ethos. News organisation Enca reported that “the organisation argued that the schools’ decision to stop the scientific teaching of the theory of evolution is an abuse of pupils’ rights”. The organisation reportedly further “opposed the teaching of creationism and what it described as coercing pupils to follow Christianity and hymn singing”. Of course, creationism should not get in the way of scientific teaching, especially in a South Africa that sorely needs a skilled populace. But some experts are arguing that schools should at least still have the right to choose their religious ethos. In this article, Philip Rosenthal puts once such viewpoint forward. – Gareth van Zyl

By Philip Rosenthal*

Why Judge VD Linde was wrong on religion in schools judgment

The judgment of Wednesday 28 June 2017, given by Willem van der Linde in the South Gauteng High Court that school governing bodies may not promote themselves as having a particular single faith religious ethos is flawed for multiple reasons and hopefully will be overturned on appeal.

Philip RosenthalThe judge was however correct firstly in dismissing the detailed list of 71 demands of the atheistic lobby group O.G.O.D. based on the principle of subsidiarity, where the challenge must first appeal to the lowest level of law in its hierarchy (i.e. first School Governing Body (SGB) policy, second provincial legislation, third national legislation and lastly the constitution).

Secondly he was correct in dismissing challenge based on the National Religion Policy, which is not enforceable the by the court. The judge made the wrong assumptions that public schools are ‘organs of state’, rather than a parent-teacher-state partnership; confused the constitutional affirmation of ‘unity in diversity’ with a requirement of ‘celebrating diversity’.

He wrongly assumed that the SGB rules must accommodate both past and possible future demographics and accommodate any possible religion equally in direct contradiction to the interpretation of the same clause by the Constitutional Court in 1996.

Despite having found the applicant’s case procedurally flawed, the court invoked an overly broad and not adequately substantiated interpretation of their discretionary powers to issue an order in their favour, that would, if accepted, leave every person on every right vulnerable to judicial activist social engineering policy making.

The matter will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal and then to the Constitutional Court and thus School governing bodies will not be legally bound by this decision until such time as such appeals are concluded. In the interim, they will be able to continue as before.

Education must be aligned with human rights, everyone has a right to choose their own religion. Schools must respect that #SchoolsReligion

— IG : Khangwi_Ino (@Khangwi_ino) June 28, 2017

Why the decision had the wrong reasoning

The judge gave the following key reasons. We explain why each is flawed:

The judge stated his assumptions before his reasons:

Judges assumption #1: “Public schools are organs of state” We argue that public schools should not be viewed as “organs of state”, but rather as independent institutions which are extensions of the family where teachers operate ‘in loco parentis’, under the authority of parents represented by the School Governing Body (SGB) in partnership with the state. The state takes parents tax money and redistributes it to public schools and regulates certain issues such as educational standards. Public schools should thus be viewed as ‘state-aided institutions’ rather than ‘state institutions’. The implications of this assumption influences whether the centre of authority should be parents or the state.

Judges assumption #2: The judge quoted the preamble of the Constitution as ‘united in our diversity‘, but then interpreted from this ‘the need to celebrate our diversity’. Nevertheless, there is a big difference in the context of sharply differing views between ‘united’ and ‘celebration’ in the context of religion and belief. ‘United’ means that we tolerate, accommodate and respect differences and find ways to work together. It does not mean that we must ‘celebrate’ another’s religion or belief. For example, a Christian may respect a Muslim’s right to “celebrate” Eid, but does not wish to “celebrate” the festival by participating. Likewise a Muslim may respect a Christian’s right to celebrate Easter but not wish to participate. “Celebration” is part of religious observance. “Unity” and “equity” requires “reasonable accommodation”, but not joint “celebration”. ‘Tolerance’ and ‘respect’ are passive, while ‘celebration’ is active. The judge did not see this subtle but key logical difference.

Based on these assumptions, the judges gave the following reasons:

1) Communities evolve, were influenced by past racial demographic policies and must be encouraged to evolve. Answer: As a community changes, they have the opportunity to change the School Governing Body policies on religion and this is happening all the time. Often different schools in the same area adopt different policies, or a particular school may stream religious observances. Minorities have the opportunity to opt-out, to stream parallel observances for their religion or choose the school in the area with the most favourable policy to them. The ruling prohibiting single faith ethos is not needed to facilitate such flexible change and it is not the responsibility of the court to force a mixed uniform religious policy.

2) (a). A member of a minority religion may due to economic circumstance have no choice of alternatives. Answer: There are non-public school alternatives of home schooling, private schooling and the rising trend of the growth of ‘cottage schools’ i.e. very small private schools held in a home or community building, often making use of distance education resources – which are affordable and also occur in economically disadvantaged areas. Minorities do have the right to “reasonable accommodation” implied by the “equitable” in Section 15(2)(b) of the Constitution, which would allow them to opt-out or have their own streamed observances within a public school if they wish.

Court says it’s concerned by single faith branding in schools, and endorsing one religion to the exclusion of others #ReligionInSchools

— Michelle Craig (@MichelleL_Craig) June 28, 2017

2) (b). Being in a religious minority in a school of a particular faith, may inculcate a sense of ‘inferior differentness’. Answer: Firstly, the school has a responsibility to encourage a culture of tolerance of individuals who are different for various reasons, not only religious. Secondly, every individual is likely during their school career to feel ‘different’ for reasons that may or may not relate to religion. Even within the majority religion, there will be subdivisions of belief or practice which are ‘different’. Thirdly, forcing multi-faith observances onto a school can then may those of the majority faith who wish to opt-out of such observances also feel ‘inferior differentness’. The problem is not entirely avoidable as a possibility under any system except ‘homeschooling’ and is not solved by the proposed ruling against particular ethos.

3) Judge vd Linde comes to his conclusion” “accepting as one must, that the SGB rules must provide equitably for all faiths (given present and evolving future demographics), would the adoption of a single faith brand that excludes others not misrepresent the legally required position? That learners of all faiths are (should be) welcome? We think it would.”

Answer: Judge van der Linde builds on the flawed assumption that the SGB rules must accommodate evolving demographics already answered. Nevertheless, at this critical point of conclusion he paraphrases the Constitution incorrectly and misinterprets it, contradicting a previous ruling of the higher Constitutional Court. Clause 15(2) of the Constitution says “Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that a. those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities; b. they are conducted on an equitable basis…”

In the class room

In the judgment, S v Lawrence , S v Negal ; S v Solberg,1996, a case that took place during the interim constitution and in the year the final constitution became law, then Chief justice Chaskalson interpreted the same clause “It is in this context that it requires the regulation of school prayers to be carried out on an equitable basis. I doubt whether this means that a school must make provision for prayers for as many denominations as there may be within the pupil body; rather it seems to me to require education authorities to allow schools to offer the prayers that may be most appropriate for a particular school, to have that decision taken in an equitable manner applicable to all schools, and to oblige them to do so in a way which does not give rise to indirect coercion of the “non-believers”.

In other words, Chief Justice Chaskalson differed from Judge vd Linde’s interpretation of this clause in that ‘equitable’ does not mean that every individual school governing bodies religion policy rules must equally accommodate every religion equally, but that the national framework of laws regulating school religion must allow the different policies of each SGB to be made on an ‘equitable basis’. In other words the national system must allow one school to decide to have a Christian ethos and another to have a Muslim ethos or another to have a Secular or New Age (multi-faith) ethos.

For all the above reasons, Van der Linde’s ruling was wrong and hopefully will be overturned on appeal.

Did the court really have the power to issue this order?

Extraordinarily, the Gauteng High Court did not declare any legislation or rule of the School Governing bodies invalid or issue any of the 71 requested interdicts against any specific party in the dispute. They explained they could not do so because of the procedurally misdirected way in which the case had been framed by the atheistic lobby group O.G.O.D with respect to subsidiarity (explained earlier). The vague application could be compared with aiming a sawn off shotgun in the general direction of the education system and hoping that somehow, something will hit some target. Normally, when the applicant’s case is procedurally flawed, it is simply dismissed – and they must try again following correct procedure and doing their legal homework properly.

Gauteng High Court

But in this case, the Court came to the rescue of the applicant’s procedurally disqualified case and invoked what it claimed were general discretionary powers of the Court that it found in Section 172(1)(b) of the Constitution and Section 21(1)(c) of the Superior Courts Act. Now there are several problems with invoking these extraordinary discretionary powers in this case. The power granted in terms of section 172(1)(b) says ‘When deciding a constitutional matter within its power, a court may make any order that is just and equitable, including i. an order limiting the retrospective effect of the declaration of invalidity and ii. an order suspending the declaration of invalidity for any period and on any conditions, to allow the competent authority to correct the defect. “ But in this case, firstly the declaration of made by the Gauteng High Court was on inconsistency with section 7 of the Schools Act – not the Constitution. And the possible alleged infringement which they claim to find was in terms of Gauteng Provincial legislation, not the Constitution or the Schools Act. So their declaration is already acting outside the scope of this authority and unlinked to their logical reasoning. Further, since only four of the six schools were in Gauteng, even if accepted, such reasoning would then not apply to the two schools in the Western Cape or the tens of thousands of schools elsewhere.

Secondly, the context of this exceptional discretionary power of the court is in context in the two examples that follow is meant to allow the court to mitigate or narrow the effect of their order to limit social disruption – not to expand their powers to declare anything they wish. So, for example, if they declare a law invalid, it allows them to give time to the government to put alternative legislation in place. If this clause is interpreted broadly to allow the court to issue any declaration they wish at their sole discretion, without the need to justify it, then they have created a loophole in the constitution, and now incrementally stretching that loophole, which means we are no longer living in a limited Constitutional democracy, but that activist judges are our new kings.

#SchoolsReligion and a 30% pass mark is going to produce some interesting dogma. e.g. Moses and the Three Commandments.

— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) June 28, 2017

Thirdly, any discretionary power exercised by anyone must be very carefully justified in that instance to avoid it being abused and causing social harm. For example, in an emergency a traffic officer can close a road, but he cannot abuse such emergency power to close any road he wishes if there is an alternative less harmful remedy available. In this instance, the court has issued an unusually thin 35 page judgment, with hardly any motivation for why this extraordinary discretionary power is invoked except that certain other courts have invoked it before. The merit of these other cases is debatable, but, in these precedent cases cited, very detailed motivation was given which this court did not.

To put the matter in context, the precedent cases cited, had judgements double to four times the length over issues of comparatively trivial social impact. Of this 35 page judgment, about half of it is verbatim quotation from other cases or laws, leaving only about 17 pages of original reasoning, most of this explaining why they were not granting the 71 interdicts demanded by the atheist lobby group. Only two paragraphs refer to why this extraordinary discretionary power is invoked and the reasons in that are not much more than that it has been done before.

The reasoning for the substantive declaration is limited to a few paragraphs. They do not even refer to or weigh up the thousands of pages of expert witness and legal research placed before the court, by nine respondents and five friends of the court much of which would contradict their findings. One has to question whether in the space of only six weeks to issue this decision (which surprised all parties), they actually applied their minds to all this evidence – and that itself may be grounds to overturn it.

Further, they did not find any evidence of harm from the practice of single faith ethos, but only that “…but we think it could” make others ‘feel inferior’. But just about anything ‘could’ happen. How would you like a court to rule against you, without finding you had done anything wrong, but only that you ‘could’ potentially harm someone’s feelings?

And even if such harm was proved, the court is required in terms of the limitations clause 36(1)(e) in the Constitution to consider alternative “less restrictive means to achieve the purpose.”, which they did not. For example, a school promoting tolerance and reasonable accommodation of minorities, as most do. So without any finding of evidence of actual harm or infringement of rights, and without considering less restrictive means, the judges decide to abuse their powers, and engage in an act of social engineering – and such judicial abuse of power threatens everyone’s rights. The case becomes then not just about school religion, but about whether the courts have discretionary social engineering policy powers?

Unresolved interpretation and future disputes

Even if Van der Linde’s ruling was upheld by the higher courts, it would leave open major unresolved questions on the interpretation of what it’s limitation on ‘single faith’ religious ethos and observances are – opening the door for many more legal disputes that schools do not want. In its current wording the declaration only limits the school from branding or marketing itself as a particular faith ethos. The court did not rule on what a school could actually do internally in practice. This leaves schools vulnerable to endless litigation and legal intimidation from such lobby groups.

For example, South African schools have historically accommodated religious differences via ‘streaming’, rather than ‘multi-faith religious observances’ to which many people of faith have a strong religious conscientious objection. ‘Streaming’ allows a significant group from a minority religious group to hold alternative religious education or observances at the same time as the majority are having theirs. If this matter is not clarified, it will inevitably result in another court case. Reasonable accommodation via streaming is a much more acceptable alternative than requiring public schools to secularise or have ‘multi-faith’ religious observances.

Nevertheless, streaming is only practical for ‘observances’ and ‘religious education’ and does not resolve the full spectrum of educational ethos which implicitly affects every subject and activity in education. Here neutrality is impossible and thus the South Gauteng High Court ruling tends to favour secularisation and multi-faith ethos, and discriminate against single-faith ethos.

The current legal framework is working well, with no need to change it.

What should schools do?

The ruling will firstly almost certainly be appealed and until that is exhausted (which may take another year or two), it is not legally binding. Secondly, even if upheld its wording limits only promotion of a school as single faith ethos and not its internal practice. Schools should not thus make hasty changes in response to this decision. The ruling does however need to be challenged, both for the sake of governing body rights and to restrict judicial abuse of power in general.

Philip Rosenthal is the director of the public advocacy group, ChristianView Network.

Gareth van ZylGareth van Zyl June 29, 2017| atheistic lobby, BNT5, ChristianView Network, diversity, education, Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy, Philip Rosenthal, public schools, Religion, South Africa, South Gauteng High Court, Supreme Court

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conclusion

In conclusion, above are two newspaper reports surrounding a ruling handed down in the South Gauteng High Court pertaining to an application brought against six public schools in South Africa that have a Christian ethos and teach Christianity. This was followed by a rebuttal against the ruling by Philip Rosenthal and now we will conclude with the Word of GOD.

The real issue at hand is not about multi-religions, but the underlying issue is that the atheistic organization ‘ogod’ has an axe to grind with Christianity and against the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not want the Truth to be told in public schools, but want everyone to conform to the devilish teachings of Darwinian evolution and thereby place the onus upon the children to make misguided decisions of which religion to follow, if any. This is ogod’s attempt at promoting their atheistic-worldview of ecumenism which is Satan’s deception to lead those falling for his lie straight into Hell and the eternal lake that burns with fire and brimstone! Their religious equation looks like this:

atheistic-worldview [no GOD] + ecumenism [all gods] = No True GOD = Eternal Damnation!

The theory of evolution that is being taught in schools as ‘scientific’ is not observable in its ‘scientific macro evolution’ form – evolution from one form into another form for the missing links from one kind into another kind remain missing due to them having never existed and is therefore taught from artistic fanciful imaginations and impressions depicting what they think the science should look like. In essence it is a fairy-tale for grownups, if ever fairy-tales existed! It therefore remains exactly as it is described: ‘a theory.’ A theory is not fact as we can see from the following descriptions:

  • Factnoun. Something that is certainly true.
  • Theorynoun. (plural theories) 1. An idea or set of ideas put forward to explain something. 2. Ideas (contrasted with practice), different theories about how to bring up children. 3. The principles of a subject, music theory.
  • © The South African Oxford School Dictionary, compiled by Joyce M. Hawkins, Oxford University Press 1996

The theory (set of ideas) of evolution is a religion. It is the teachings and worship of the creation more than the Creator, for it is written,

18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 
20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 
21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 
23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 
25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. ~ Romans 1:18-25

The atheist wants everyone’s attention taken off of their Creator and placed on creation and to serve it. This is foolishness. If in the atheist’s interpretation that there is no GOD and everything evolved, then it does not take rocket science to understand that the various life forms have different flesh so how could all kinds (everything) evolve into different kinds from a single organism? The Word of GOD clearly explains the atheist’s quandary, for it is written,

38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. ~ I Corinthians 15:38,39ff

Now to turn to judge Willem van der Linde who handed down the ruling in favour of the atheists, he has a lot to answer to GOD come the Day of Judgment when he will appear before his Creator Who is the True Judge of the Universe and have to give an accounting to the sovereign Ancient of Days. Willem van der Linde must repent of his wicked deed and rescind this ruling and confess his wickedness to his Creator GOD YEHOVAH and receive GOD’s Son Jesus Christ as his redeemer! This is Willem van der Linde’s only hope of escaping GOD’s damnation of his soul in Hell. He has sided with the Satanic agenda of the atheist lobby group ‘ogod.’ His ruling promotes the ecumenical religions of the deceived atheists, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, et al, that they have man’s law on their side to reject GOD’s Holy Word and HIS Laws. The way of everlasting life which is to be disciplined as a follower of GOD’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ, can ONLY be received through Jesus Christ the saviour of the world! For it is written,

1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 
2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 
3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
~ John 17:1-3ff

GOD tells us that HE will not give HIS glory to any other and that before HIM there were no god formed, for it is written,

8  Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. 
9  They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 
10  Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? ~ Isaiah 44:8-10

The South Gauteng High Court ruling is encouraging all manner of gods to be encouraged in the education system when pupils are to be taught that which is true! As a result of this ruling it has put GOD on trial, HIS Word on trial and HIS Son Jesus Christ on trial. The schools who were brought before the court were Christian ethos schools – Christ following schools! GOD commands that, for it is written,

3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 
4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:3-6

The school system is already forcing children to learn about all religions in a subject known as life skills! Already the indoctrination of young minds is in the education system and parents have the right to determine what their children are exposed to and what they learn. Children are not the property of the state. Parents have the GOD given responsibility to raise them as GOD fearing, GOD honouring and GOD worshipping children, in the Name of Jesus Christ – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Lord Jesus Christ exclusively stated that He is the way, the truth and the life, for it is written,

6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
~ John 14:6,7

With these words the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is GOD manifest in flesh (John 1:1,2,14), stated that He is the ONLY way, and the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life. He never said He is some way. The way is exclusive! For Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7, “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” He never said He is some truth. The truth is exclusive! Truth is not subjective, one truth for one person and another truth for another person based on what they believe. Truth is not subjective but objective! To have truth is to have it 100%. If there is but 1% of untruth mixed in with what is perceived to be true, that 1% or smaller measure renders the other 99% untrue, for truth cannot be tainted with untruth for it will render the whole untrue! Jesus Christ said He is truth and in John 8 He said, “31 If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And in verse 36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And He never said He is some life. The life is exclusive! For it is written in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

The truth of the matter is that the god of this world Satan that wicked crooked devil is leading all deceived religious persons straight to Hell and one day they will find out that this place truly exists, then it will be too late! Today, while it is still today, throw yourself upon the mercy of GOD and have your “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). This is your ONLY hope!

Soli Deo Gloria

365 Years Ago Today . . .

24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: ~ Acts 17:24-27

Today is the 365th Anniversary (6th April 1652 – 6th April 2017)since Commander Johan “Jan” van Riebeeck from the V.O.C. (Dutch East Indies Company) landed at the Kaap de Goede Hoop (the Cape of Good Hoop) which is present day Cape Town. A God fearing man of Dutch Reformed Christianity, came to the fairest Cape and brought with him and his fellow Dutchmen the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the original Resolution prayer in Dutch for the work that lay ahead in establishing the refreshment post at the Cape:

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These historical documents are from the Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope – December, 1651 to December, 1653 – of Riebeeck’s Journal translated into English and stored in typed text by H. C. V. Leibrandt, Keeper of the Archives, 1897. The following extracts are a log of events as the Drommedaris sailed southwards from Texel in Holland to the Cape.

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Further readings of this historical day in South African History, can be read at these blog links:

Ten Grand Tract

Soli Deo Gloria

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