Johan Adam Enslin

Title Trekboer
Other Names
Date of Birth 1800-06-17
Date of Death 1852-00-00



Updated 15 Oct 2016

Enslin, Johan Adam.
Born 17 June 1800, died 1852. Enslin, of German stock, was one of the earliest (and most colourful) of the Trekkers in the former western Transvaal. He farmed in the Craddock district in the Cape until 1832 when he trekked to Natal and then the Orange Free State. After the Battle of Boomplaats in 1848, in which he fought, he moved to the Marico district and settled on the farm Mesig.
He became involved in trying to resolve disputes with the local black population, in particular the baKgatla leader Setshele. He served as a Commissioner to investigate rumours that Setshele was preparing for war with local Boers. He also became incensed at English travellers moving about the Marico district with insufficient documentation.

Enslin was appointed one of four Commandants-General in the Marico. However he was an implacable foe of President A.W. Pretorius. He laid a charge against Pretorius because he had allegedly threatened to destroy all the Enslins. However, he lost the case which was presided over by the landdros (magistrate) in Potchefstroom in July 1851. Enslin refused to accept the verdict, argued with the landdros, was suspended as Commandant-General, fined, and finally imprisoned for "extreme petulance". His relatives however freed him from prison.
 Enslin earned the title of "prophet" because he believed that only by conducting a pilgrimage to Jerusalem would his people be freed of the "tyranny" of the British and the black population. His followers were known as the "Jerusalem-goers". The Rev. Andrew Murray, the well-travelled Dutch Reformed Church minister, who took an opposing view was forcibly prevented from preaching in the Marico district, and branded as being in the service of the "anti-Christ", (i.e. Britain). However Enslin and a number of the "Jerusalem-goers" died following a malaria outbreak in 1852. The biltong and rusks for the trans-Africa trek had however bee

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

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