Their history was wrong.
Their stories embellished.
Their paintings falsified.
We stood atop our mountain, one we had christened Dragon’s Back, for the craggy mountain that stretched into the sea. They called it the Cape of Good Hope.
“Baba.” The young boy spoke.
“Those ships are coming closer. It is as the great bronze Kudu foretold.”
“Yes.” He turned towards the boy; his greying brows furrowed. “Prepare the people.”
The bronze Kudu stood against the cavern entrance gleaming in the morning sun. Stone gears spun gradually below the structure, pushing the great god back into its sanctuary. The boy gained the attention of the villagers with a sharp tap of his golden scepter on the cold mountain floor; the ruby gem at the tip shone against their eyes.
“As the great Kudu foretold,” the boy began. Although young, his voice carried across the congregation, “our visitors will arrive within the setting of two suns upon this great land.” The murmurs were soft. They had all seen the large ships drifting towards them from afar.
“Great prince, are we to hide?”A voice asked. The boy cast cold eyes at the speaker.
“We are not hiding, merely keeping our technology hidden. We do not know who they are or what they want, but we have foreseen the destruction our weapons will weave across our sacred land in their hands.”
“And what destruction will they weave with their weapons?” Another asked.
“Plenty still.” the boy’s eyes softened. He placed a closed fist over his heart. The horns of the kudu were etched on the bronze plate that fell over his shoulders and draped to his chest.
“I fear for you. The bronze and gold monstrosities they will build from our primitive work will be…” he sighed. The people could see the fear blaze in the young prince’s eyes; they felt a stirring of that fear themselves.
“We cannot bestow our secrets and knowledge to them. I beg of you.” his eyes swept over his people. Barely past thirteen summers he hoped to never become the king the Shaman foresaw. He pulled his chest plate over his head and held it in his hands. He was now like the rest of his people. When they saw this, they fell to their knees and let their bronze mechanisms fall from their arms and legs. It was the end of an era.
The dark waters swept the reflected stars back and forth across its glistening surface. A distorted mirror reflecting distorted hearts. Hidden from sight under a reflective boat, traitors glided from the approaching ships towards the coast. Towards what they had already started calling the Cape of Good Hope.
On 24 December 1651, accompanied by his wife and son, Jan van Riebeeck set off from Texel in The Netherlands for the Cape of Good Hope. Van Riebeeck had signed a contract with the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to oversee the setting up of a refreshment station to supply Dutch ships on their way to the East. Sailing on the Dromedaris with two other ships, the Rejiger and De Goede Hoop, Van Riebeeck was accompanied by 82 men and 8 women.
Hope you enjoyed my little tale. Can you guess what’s going to happen next?