Coenraad de Buys

Title Frontier Brigand
Other Names
Date of Birth 1760-00-00
Date of Death 1825-00-00


Updated 13 Oct 2016

Born c.1760 Died c. 1825. De Buys was a colourful frontier brigand, huge in stature and possessed of supreme self-confidence. He crossed the Fish river and gained the confidence of the Xhosa royal house under Ngqika. He then crossed to the Orange in about 1815 and landed up in the Marico (i.e. Madikwe) district in the same year, earning the name "Moro", an adulteration of the Afrikaans "More", with which he greeted the baHurutshe. He was reputed to be the first white man ever among the baHurutshe.  He had come to establish trading relations, and was accompanied by a retinue of Khoikhoi and Kora servants. At this time the baHurutshe were engaged in a conflict with the baMalete who had apparently been a "thorn in the side" of the baHurutshe. This was one of the conflicts during the period of the so-called BaTswana wars of the early nineteenth century. Coenraad de Buys assisted the baHurutshe in this engagement. The baHurutshe crushed the baMalete but how much of this was due to De Buys' participation is anyone's guess. Certainly, his party possessed a significant number of firearms which impressed the baHurutshe. He moved on within a few months, however, which may have been due to the imminent arrival of missionaries, whom he believed would report his presence to the Cape authorities. He settled with his family among the Birwa people of east-central Botswana, eventually reappearing in today's Limpopo province. He had a large number of African  concubines and wives and spawned an enormous number of descendants of mixed racial origin.    

South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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