Did you know that while the British army was battling the Zulus, another force of Cape soldiers was fighting in a nearby region against the BaPhuti people of southern Lesotho?

It’s now known as the Siege of Moorosi’s mountain or the Moorosi Rebellion. It was a complicated, drawn out conflict against a skilled and dedicated opponent.

My good friend Cam Simpson is writing a book on the war and was recently on the Redcoat History Podcast to explain more. You can listen to the full audio version below.

I also wanted to post the timeline of events that Cam sent to me. I think it’s an important detail that will add context and understanding to the course of the war.

Background of rebellion:

  • Moorosi’s son Lehana [Doda] was arrested along with 6-others for cattle theft and was rescued from the local magistrates prison on 31 December 1878.
  • Cape Government demand that Moorosi returns Doda.
  • On10 Feb, local Cape commanders receive information that Moorosi is willing to fight them.
  • 23 February, Austen (the local magistrate) flees from his magistracy.


  • BaPhuthi clan: Under Chief Moorosi who was a vassal of Letsie, son of Moshoeshoe.
  • 8,000 population, probably 1,000 able bodied combatants, mounted in commandos
  • under head men.
  • Cape Government Forces: Cape Mounted Rifles, Cape Mounted Yeomanry, Various Volunteer units, Burghers (8 contingents), Basuto Police, Basuto Contingent & Levies.

Dates of the key engagements:

  • 5 March 1879: Action at the Telle Drift against Moorosi’s Commandos–hostilities commence (Moorosi Rebellion).
  • 8 April: Cape Forces first assault against Moorosi’s Mountain.
  • 29 May: Moorosi’s forces raid the Cape Mounted Yeomanry camp close to Moorosi’s Mountain (Moorosi Rebellion).
  • 5 June: Cape Forces second assault at Moorosi’s Mountainunder Colonel Brabant.
  • 19/20 November 1879: Cape Forces third and final assault at Moorosi’sMountain under Colonel Z. Bayly where Moorosi iskilled and the BaPhuthi are defeated.

You can also view the video I made with Cam which shows the geography and characters of the battle.

There was also a second Podcast episode that we made together, sepcifically, on the three Victoria Cross winners at Moorosi’s mountain. You can listen to that below.

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