Cape Rule and Misrule in Colonial Lesotho, 1871-1884
by Peter Sanders

I struck White Man, I threw him down;
He fell before the face of my horse,
He fell before the face of my horse, Koloboi …

Ka otla Khooa, ka le lahla fats'e;
Motho o oele ka mahlong a pere,
A oela ka mahlong a pitsi ea me, a Koloboi …

'I struck White Man, I threw him down' - this shout of triumph, taken from the vivid and dramatic praise poems of Chief Maama, a senior grandson of Moshoeshoe, encapsulates how completely the bonds of loyalty between the Basotho and their Cape Colonial rulers had been shattered.
When in 1871 Britain handed over control of Basutoland to the Cape Colony, the Cape's attack on chiefly powers had been welcomed by many of the ordinary people. But then, in the interests of wider security and control, the Cape government determined to disarm the Basotho and thereby provoked a rebellion, the Gun War of 1880/81, from which the Basotho emerged undefeated and defiant.
Their victory was of lasting significance and resulted in the withdrawal of Cape rule, the re-establishment of imperial rule, and the triumph of the chiefs.

'Sanders has produced a definitive work about Cape rule in Lesotho that also makes a major contribution to understanding Southern Africa history and the complexities of colonial relationships and strategies in general.' African Studies Review

Peter Sanders, a distinguished historian of Lesotho, tells, using oral traditions and archival sources, the story of these years, placing at the centre of the book a compelling and absorbing study of the Gun War itself.

With 61 illustrations

ISBN. 978-0-85036-654-9

2011 paperback