By Dibussi Tande (Originally published in Palapala magazine)
“The Route will remind you that you are travelling through an extraordinary country, chiselled out of the horrors of racial and social dispossession to become a dynamic monument to human dignity.” Makana Pocket Guide.
After a grueling 18 hour journey from Chicago to Johannesburg where I spent the night, I boarded a South African Airways flight bound for the Indian Ocean port city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.
Port Elizabeth was founded in 1820 as a gateway for the 4000 British settlers, the so-called 1820 settlers, who were brought in by the British government in a bid to strengthen the crown’s grip on the Cape Colony’s strife-torn eastern frontier – the Frontier Country – where the Xhosas were violently resisting British occupation of their lands – In 1996, Nelson Mandela described the settlers as "Pawns in a larger game" who "were nevertheless caught up on the wrong side of history, unable or unwilling to acknowledge as equals those into whose homeland they had been implanted." From 1779 to 1879, the British and the Xhosa’s fought nine Frontier Wars which left an indelible mark on modern South Africa.