Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Unexpected Consequences of the Bubonic Plague of 1901

The meeting of the Khoikhoi – locally known as the Hottentots – and the white settlers in 1820 occurred on the day of their arrival as they were used to carry the settlers on their shoulders from their surfboats to the shore. How communication was possible is unknown but for good measure the Dutch farmers who were contracted to transport the settlers to Albany spoke neither Khoi nor English. Given the fact that the settlers arrived at the destination confirms that communication did occur, all be it, by means of gestures.

Of greater importance was the concept of housing. Simply put where did the Khoi stay? Being a nomadic people, the Khoikhoi would not have settled in one place but relocated as soon as the resources such as reeds or other resources were depleted in an area.

What has the discussion about housing have to do with a plague?

It will be made abundantly clear in a moment.

Main picture: The top of Hyman’s Kloof with Strangers’ Location in the background

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