Title: Assegais, Drums and Dragoons
Subtitle: A Military & Social History of the Cape
Author: Willem Steenkamp
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers
Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa 2012
ISBN 9781868424795 / ISBN 978-1-86842-479-5
Hardcover, 16x23 cm, 376 pages, several b/w and colour illustrations
What motivated a small multiracial force of Cape-born soldiers, whites, coloureds and Malays, to put up such stiff resistance at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806, in spite of odds so overwhelming that even some long-serving professional soldiers broke rank and ran? This was the intriguing question that launched author Willem Steenkamp’s research. It was an investigation which eventually took him back to 150 years before Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape in 1652, and involved examining the social as well as the military history of the Cape.
What Willem Steenkamp discovered differs from what most South Africans think about that period, and he corrects a number of serious misconceptions not only about the soldiers of 1510-1806 but about the social and political development of the Cape. For students of the Napoleonic Wars, the book provides new information about a forgotten aspect of that conflict; for the ordinary reader here is a story no-one has ever told before in its entirety.
A Golden Thread is Woven
The Company Moves Inland: Birth of the Commando
A New Society and the Passing of the Khoina
Guarding the Cape
Military Life at the Cape in the Early Years
The Final Flowering
Countdown for the VOC
Oaths and Insurrections
'DeKaap is Weer Hollands'
Local Forces and Distant Threats
Crisis in Europe - and a Fateful Decision
Prelude to Battle
'A Most Tremendous Fire'
Long Live King George!
EPILOGUE WHAT IF ...?
APPENDIX 1: THE VOC AND SLAVERY
APPENDIX 2: NAMING THE KHOINA AND
BUSHMEN: THE CONTROVERSY
APPENDIX 3: CASTLE ROUTINE IN THE 1720s
APPENDIX 4: THE BATTLE OF BLAAUWBERG! AN ANALYSIS
APPENDIX 5: UNITS AND UNIFORMS AT
MUIZENBERG AND BLAAUWBERG
APPENDIX 6: LATER CAREERS OF KEY