The Dutch colony in South Africa, established after their arrival in 1652, was “accidental” (Keegan 15). The Dutch had initially intended South Africa to be no more than a trading post. They hoped that they would be able to trade with the native population to ensure supplies for their ships. However, this arrangement did not work out as well as the Dutch had planned and a decision to colonise the area was made. In order to do this, the Dutch came into conflict with the Khoikhoi natives through colonising their land. This act of force was met with heavy native resistance (Ross 22-23). The first Khoikhoi-Dutch war began in 1659 and was ended with a treaty, acknowledging Dutch rights over the disputed territory. The Dutch had successfully exploited native tribal tensions despite low morale and limited numbers. The conflict did not end with the imposition of the treaty; in 1673 a four year war began as a result of the murder of white elephant hunters. At the end of the war, the Dutch seized at least 1,765 Khoikhoi cattle and 4,930 sheep. Even though the Dutch never again declared war on the them, this was the beginning of the end for the Khoikhoi and they were forced to retreat to other areas (Frederickson 30-31).
The second point to be analysed is the arrival of the British and how this impacted on the Dutch and the Bantu, with particular reference to the Xhosa. Like the Dutch, the British occupation in South Africa was not initially about colonisation. The first occupation, beginning in 1795, was a “temporary measure” aimed at preventing the French from gaining authority in the area and to “guarantee provisions and a safe harbor for Britains great Asian fleets” (Beck 42). Life in the colony continued as it had done prior to the British invasion, but there was significant concern about unrest in Eastern frontier