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"Valuable, Gallant And Faithful Assistants": The Fingo (Or Mfengu) As Colonial Military Allies During The Cape-Xhosa Wars, 1835–1881

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Chapter Summary

Most colonial armies operating in Africa during the nineteenth century employed large numbers of African allies. Perhaps no single African group became as important to colonial military success or fought alongside the British as long as the Fingo (or Mfengu) of the Eastern Cape. The origin of the Fingo people of the Eastern Cape has recently been the subject of intense debate and is intertwined with the history of the Cape-Xhosa War of 1835. Like the War of the Axe, the 'War of Mlanjeni' is also not a very appropriate name to refer to a conflict that was essentially a rebellion against Cape colonial rule by a number of different groups in and around British Kaffraria. The Mpondomise or Transkei Rebellion broke out in 1880 largely because of colonial agents undermining the authority of African chiefs, who had recently agreed to become British subjects.

Keywords: African group; British Kaffraria; Cape-Xhosa War; colonial military; Fingo (or Mfengu); Mlanjeni; Transkei Rebellion



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