HC Deb 11 December 1857 vol 148 c554

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if Her Majesty's Government has received any official account of the famine said to be raging amongst Her Majesty's native subjects in Kafraria, and whether any steps have been taken to alleviate the sufferings of that people?


said, that about a year ago, acting upon the advice of a so-styled prophet who suddenly appeared among the people, a great many of the native inhabitants of Kafraria had been induced to destroy their cattle, and to abstain from cultivating their lands, under the impression that by some miraculous agency an improved breed of cattle would be restored to them, and the fertility of their lands would be increased. The result of the delusion had been most deplorable, destitution of the most dreadful kind having overtaken the native tribes. He was persuaded that the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope (Sir George Grey) and the inhabitants of the Colony had done all in their power to mitigate the effects of the calamity. The Governor had supplied the natives with seed, and many of them had immigrated into the British Colony, seeking for employment. They had been furnished with rations to enable them to proceed thither, committees of the inhabitants had been formed, and many of the natives had been employed as agricultural labourers. At the instance of the Governor, an Ordinance had passed through the local Legislature to protect these people as agricultural labourers, and to facilitate their employment in that capacity. He was persuaded that everything that could be done both by the Governor and the inhabitants of the Colony had been done.