Letter to Robert Moffat 1
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31 October, 1865.
I wish to tell you of our affairs
in this country, since the Boers have set it on
fire, having received it from the English.
I have despaired of this land since the
three missionaries, Edwards, Inglis and Livingstone
failed to receive justice. I had thought to have asked
the chiefs of the people who made war upon us at that
time, what these things meant; but I was without
an interpreter who could commend me to them, and I
was grieved; for I saw that there was no one to give me
an answer, and that therefore it was intended that
my country should be destroyed. I asked my teachers
how it was that I was disregarded, and they said,
It is because the rulers of the land on the other side
of the River have agreed with the Boers to give them this
country. It is this which has caused the teachers
to forsake this country, because the Rulers have made
a covenant with the Boers to give them this land.
And now the affliction of this country continues
after this manner. The Boers, though the
colored people be not to blame, wish to take them
captive like cattle or game. I ask you this, the
Rulers of the Teachers, why have you done this, because
it is not only the work of the Teachers, but of those who
have sent them. It were well if there could be a
judge who is to blame and who is innocent in
How will it be with you, rulers of the teachers,
that you disregard the shedding of innocent blood, and
the destruction of men's souls? How
it will it be
with you before God?
The souls of our people are wept for by
the teachers, but they cannot do anything to save
them, because the heads of your people neglect
this land. Therefore I ask the heads of the
English, Is this work good? The teachers say,
we cannot teach you in this land because our
rulers have given you over into the power of
the Boers, and the Boers will drive us away as
they have driven away the others. I speak
for my people as I am known of them as
one seeking the Kingdom of Christ, and this
is my letter to you. We see that we are
lost, because the teachers pass by us to go to the
people of Sebituane and the people of
Again a teacher called Mackenzie
has commanded that certain people in my
land shall be taught by the teachers from the
Boers, and for this I am grieved, because this is the
land in which my blood has been shed by the Boers.
My soul is grieved that the German missionaries
who come from the Boers should be the teachers
of my people; why men do you English refuse to
give me teachers? As to them (the Germans) some
died at my place, the rest I told to depart;
for I said, I shall ask the English for missionaries
because you do not teach. Let it not be so
Sirs, but let our land, even Gassitsioe's, Montsioe's,
Mosielele's, Mangope's and Mokhosi's and
self be taught by English teachers. Let us be
preached to like Sekhomi, Mosilikatse and the other
nations who are preached to by the English. And let
my prayer and my sorrowing with which I have besought
you for missionaries reach onto God.
And I have written to my teacher who is known as a
teacher by all my people, by the hand of his son who has
come from the Matabele, that he should these words for me
to the Cape since that is the gate to the rulers of the English, to
say that one of the chiefs of these people laments and prays for
his tribe according to these words. May God hear me and turn your
hearts! that you may send me teachers who may come to teach me
Let our land be taught by the English, but let the land of the Boers
be taught by the Germans. I wish the Rulers would to this land, for
this is why I cannot obtain teachers. My lamentations I
conclude with my salutations, and may God hear me!
Read the twelfth Hymn of the New Hymn Book.
Author(s) & contributor(s): Sechele I; John Smith Moffat
Date(s): 31 October 1865
Place(s) of creation: Logageñ
Form & transmission history: Original letter, as written down and translated by a British missionary.
Object description: Four-page/one-sheet letter on ruled white paper, with one hand in black ink fading to brown.
Repository: University of London. School of Oriental and African Studies (London, United Kingdom)
Shelfmark / Identifier: CWM/LMS/South Africa/Incoming Correspondence/Box 33/File 5/Jacket A
Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2020
Critical editing & encoding: Justin D. Livingstone, Mary Borgo Ton, Adrian S. Wisnicki
Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Cite this digital edition (MLA): Sechele I; John Smith Moffat. “Letter to Robert Moffat 1” (31 October 1865). Justin D. Livingstone, Mary Borgo Ton, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, site launch edition, 2020, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020029_TEI.html.
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