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.