Senekal, A Short History

Now that we can all locate Senekal in the Free State, it is perhaps befitting to reflect on the town's 153-year history and how it came to bear its name. The concentration camp (township) near the town is named Matwabeng.

Senekal is named after a boer commander by the name of Frederik Petrus Senekal who died in 1865. He was killed by Basotho warriors led by the militant MASUPHA (no town named after him to date, it is befitting to rename Senekal to be MASUPHA or MASUPHAville), Moshoeshoe's third-born for his first wife MAMOHATO (who was also never honoured).

His death was one of the catalysts for a three-year war between Basotho and the boers which started in 1865 ending in 1868 through a treaty brokered by a man referred to as WARDEN (has a town named after him in the Free State) who was a major in the British army sent to mediate between Basotho and the boers.

The boers called this war, the Basotho War, and the famous white horse sculpture in the middle of Bloemfontein (Thabure) is dedicated to the boers who died during that war. Among them were numerous boer commanders, including Louw WEPENER, who also has a town named after him in Free State.

Basotho called this war “Ntoa ea Seqiti” because of the sound made by the boers’ cannons as they fired at their (Basotho) positions.

The Treaty of 1868 resulted in the current borders between South Africa and Lesotho. In it, the Free State was supposed to have been surrendered for 100 years only to the boers, as "reparations".

Hence, Free State evokes huge emotions to this day among Basotho as “conquered” territory.

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