BOTHA in Southern Africa


PEOPLE & HISTORY | Origins | Early History in SA | Ancestors
LINEAGE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA | Descendants | Migration | Botha/Blake
BOTHA POTPOURRI | Coat of Arms | Noteworthy Bothas | Botha Appellations
GENERAL INFORMATION | Information | Research Ideas | Own Research

The early history of both families shown in a reasonably chronological order.

  Pre 1652 The meaning of BOTH(A). The surname Both is derived from a Friesian a name "Botho" (or Bote) which means leader or one who commands/orders. The trailing "a" also has the meaning "son of".
The surname broken down means that Botha is the son of Both, the leader or the commander. Refer Afrikaanse Familiename, "South African Surnames" under Books Researched.
1653 Friedrich Both (FB) was born on 4th March 1653 in Wangenheim in the Province of Thuringia in Germany. The details of his parents can be obtained under "Ancestors".
1678 FB joins the VOC and arrives at the Cape as a soldier in 1678.
1683 Five years later FB obtains burgher rights and pursues his original occupation as a farm hand on various farms or as he put it, he was an assistant at one or another farmer - "landbouer bij den een en den ander geweest te sijn".
Maria Kickers arrives in Cape Town as an orphan from Holland and marries Jan Cornelisz on 11 July 1683.
1686 From 1686 FB stays at the farm of Jan Cornelisz where he farms for a quarter of the profits - "oom voor een vierde part met hem te zaaijen en te bouwen". This is the oldest example of the application of the French "métairie" system in South Africa. This métairie system originated from a loan or quitrent system which was possibly imported by the Romans into Galilea (Colonus partiarius). Métayer out of medietatarium, from medietate, half, originally means: He who farms for a half; the profit sharing foreman on a farm, small farmer, almost translated as tenant farming for part of the profit; métairie, the farm itself. Per JLM Franken - "Die Franse Vlugtelinge, Huisgenoot" 16 July 1926.
1689 FB laid out the 64 morgen farm he called Zandberg in 1689 and the farm was later renamed Scholtzenhof. Zandberg was transferred in 1694 from loan farm to freehold property in the name of FB. The farm with its thatch roof and gables is located on the right hand side of the road between Stellenbosch and Somerset-West and its position can be seen on the map of the area. Wine is still produced on the farm today and the current owner also has a web site "Ken Forrester Vineyards".

Sketch of the Old Homestead

The homestead was originally built in a T-shape and the front walls are about a meter thick and was most probably built by FB himself. There are fine yellowwood ceilings all through with a clay brandzolder a foot deep, above them. The house was later extended into a H-shape and recently restored by the architect, G. Osler.
In 1692 FB still signs his name as Both, but in 1699 he signs as Botha. In the "opgaafrolle" the surname is spelt Both, Boot as well as Botha.

From Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek under Books researched.

At the Cape in the late 17th and early 18th century it was common place to name a person from the place or area from where he emigrated. Jan van Eeden was known as Jan van Oldenburg and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg was Nicolaas Jansz.
The fact that Friedrich Both came from Gotha could have contributed to the fact that Friedrich Both from Gotha changed to Friedrich Botha.
Freely translated from South African Genealogies under Books Researched.
1700 In the early 1700's the general lively hood for most farmers was with livestock. The head of the family farmed on a particular farm and as his sons grew up and attained manhood, the farmer usually gave his son a certain amount of livestock. Where farmers made farms their habitat, they could be classified as "Veeboere". The sons had to seek new areas for grazing their livestock and as a result moved further into the "unknown". They could be classified as "Trekboere".

The direction of this migration was in the direction where there was adequate water and grazing. The result was thus a move into an easternly direction along the coast of South Africa. The migration ended in this direction when these "trekboere" met up with the black indigenous people of the Eastern Cape, the Xhosa.

The time scale is not definitive, but an indication is as follows:  1652-1700 Migration limited to the surrounds of Cape Town; 1735 Reached Mossel Bay; 1744 Reached Gamtoos River

All the Botha children are shown in the Church christening registers as being the offspring of Jan Cornelisz and Maria Kickers. At their divorce proceedings the following information is given (per JLM Franken - "Die Franse Vlugtelinge, Huisgenoot" 16 July 1926, footnote):
Jan Cornelisz van Oudbeijerland in cas van divortie contra Maria Kickers: "den eijscher, doende eijsch bij monde alsoo de gedaagdese haar niet en schaamd hem eijr niet alleen met slaan en stooten ende verdere onbetaemelijckheeden gestadig te bejeegenen, maar oock bovendien haren echt met de persoon van frederick Boot in overspel te buitjen te gaan . . . . " "De gedaagdese antwoordende, segt en bekendt alle hare kinderen, staande huwelijk niet bij den eijr haren man (vermits desselvs onbequaamheijdt) maar bij een ander; te weeten den voorn. fred. Boot, te hebben geprocrëeert; en dat haren man haar daar toe selfs aanleijding soude hebben gegeeven." (Crim. en Civ. 1689-1701, 22 Jan. 1700, p. 77) Fred. Botha en Maria Kickers word vir oorspel, aanhouding en verberging van vee, geweld aan persoon van Claas Das, tien jaar verban na Mauritius. Hul moet "separatelijk" gebanne bly en word verder veroordeel tot 100 Rds. boete en restitusie van aangehoue goedere (Crim. en Civ. 1701-'08, 16 Nov. 1706. f.47).
The period of banishment may be different as the following is also quoted (per HCV Leibbrandt - "Precis of the Archives, Journal of VD Stel" 16 November 1706):
The Court of Justice sentences a freeman and a woman in a criminal case to banishment to Mauritius for two years and fines each Rds. 100, the half for the Landdrost and the half for the Court.
In 1706 FB stayed at the farm "Moddergat" with Maria Kickers who was working at Matthys Greef in Stellenbosch.
In 1710 the loan farm "Eendracht" was registered in the name of Theunis, eldest son of FB. The farm lay in the soutern part of the "Land van Waveren" over the Breede River and beneath the Witsenberg and adjacent to Jan Stevensz Botma. By todays location between the Breede River Station and the Waaihoek Mountains.

In 1712 a younger sister of Theunis, Maria, married Coenraad Scheepers, who farmed immediatly north on the farm "De Liefde".

In 1714 the 64 morgen 482 sq. roods farm became his freehold property and was operated as a cattle farm.
1717 On 21 June 1717 at 64 years of age FB marries Maria Kickers, an orphan from the Netherlands and the divorced wife of Jan Cornelisz.
1730 Samuel Friedrich Bode (SFB) was born in 1730 in Lüneburg in Germany.
1735 The "Trekboere" reach Mosselbaai.
1737 In 1737 "Eendracht" was transferred to Christoffel, the eldest son of Theunis. The former introduced vines as well as a wine cellar on the farm. When Christoffel died in 1764, the farm was sold to Johannes Albertus Myburgh.
1744 The "Trekboere" reach the Gamtoos River.
1745 The government seated in Cape Town was not desirous of the outwardly bound movement of it's people, but wanted to maintain control over them and as a result moved the official borders of the territory continuously: 1745 Great Brak River; 1771 Gamtoos River; 1775 Great Fish River - the border of the Xhosa territory.
1766 SFB left the "Schwarze Hussaren" during this year as a result of a possible serious offence relating to a comrade and went to the Netherlands to offer his services as a sailor. He embarked aboard the "Noord Beverland" and sailed from the island of Texel on Christmas Day 1766 on his way to Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
1767 After an arduous voyage, on which 27 died at sea, the "Noord Beverland" arrives in Cape Town on 23 March 1767 with 54 sick members in its complement. The sick having been landed for treatment and the ship replenished, it sailed for Ceylon on 9 April arriving at Colombo on 28 June 1767, a further 35 persons having died at sea.

Among those put ashore at Table Bay was one "Fredrik Boode van Lunenbourgh" (SFB) who was permitted to remain at the Cape in the service of the VOC after he had recuperated.
1771 Cape border officially Gamtoos River.
1774 The Cape government expected that soldiers, in addition to their duties as guardians, had to assist the citizens. It is therefor not surprising to find that the services of SFB as a carpenter is contracted out to Hans Mohr for 36 Guilder plus full keep for a period of one year.
1775 Cape border officially Great Fish River.
1775 On the 12 December 1775 SFB makes a formal request for his release from the Company's service and the granting of burgher rights and his name appears on the list of persons granted burgher rights at the end of that year.

As in the case of FB (Friedrich Both) the pronounciation of the surname of SFB (Samuel Friedrich Bode) in the Cape "dialect" also caused the name to undergo a change to Botha.

1776 On 21 January 1776 SFB marries Anna Elisabeth Delport and the marriage register reads "Samuel Fredrik BOTHA".
1815 The main cause of the Slagtersnek Rebellion was the attempted arrest on 10 October 1815 of Freek Bezuidenhout after a charge of contempt of the Court. The arrest ended when Freek was fatally wounded. The family swore vengeance. At about the same time a commando was called up to defend the burghers against a possible Xhosa attack, but this did not materialise and the majority of of the part of the commando was convinced to join the Rebellion. The rebels surrendered to the government troops on 18 November.

The book "Slagtersnek en sy mense" was written very objectively by Dr. Heese and the following is quoted from it p.90 (freely translated from the book, the literal quotation may be seen in the Afrikaans text):

History writers and others saw in the people of Slagtersnek eithers heroes or felons, depending on their point of view. They became people of flesh and blood to me - people just like us, people with ambitions and people with weahnesses. There were brave people, but also cowards and braggarts, blood-thirsty ones as well as jokers. Together they made up an emotional part of history.
The Bothas with the rebels were:
  • Abraham Lodewikus Botha *c. 1794 - a1b1c7d4e10
  • Christiaan Botha *c. 1779 - a1b2c4d5e4
  • Christoffel Rudolph Botha *c. 1787 - a1b1c7d4e6
  • Johannes Frederik Botha *c. 1785 - a1b1c7d4e5
  • Philip Rudolph Botha *c. 1779 - a1b1c7d4e2
The Bothas with the government troops were:
  • Philip Rudolph Botha *c. 1790 - a1b1c7d10e2
  • Theunis Christoffel Botha *c. 1781 - a1b1c2d9e6
  • Theunis Christoffel Botha *c. 1793 - a1b1c2d9e2f1
  • Willem Petrus Botha *c. 1797 - a1b1c2d9e2f2
1836 Great Trek - Numerous books have been written on this subject and the reasons for this inwardly bound migration of Eastern Cape farmers. In summary it can be stated that the migratory trends of the farmers searching for land to graze their cattle was a major contributing factor over and above the socio-political factors which have been written about.
The details of the Bothas that partook in this epic journey can be obtained under "Voortrekkers".
Until the start of the twentieth century, the means of transport was by ox wagon or horse drawn cart. If a person moved house, it was a long and tedious process. Communication was not much better.
A young man looking for a partner in life would normally not seek much further than a days ride on horseback. His future wife would almost certainly come from the proximity where he stayed and they would only move to obtain new or better grazing.
This all changed with the advent of the Railroads in South Africa. The first railroad started in Cape Town and by 1902 the railroads had connected the majority of towns. People could now move about a lot easier, faster and without the rigours of travelling by ox wagon or horse drawn cart.
There were 5 main "treks" to and through the so-called Thirstland and they were referred to as the "Thirstland treks". The destination of these treks were mainly Namibia and Angola. One of these treks were under the leadership of Jacobus Frederik Botha and he was also later chosen as the Magistrate and Commandant of the settlement at Humpata. More about this can be obtained in the book "Afrikaners in die Vreemde". A complete list of people partaking in the Thirstland Treks is given in "Voortrekkers van Suidwes - Bylae A". Refer Books Researched.
The Portuguese authorities did not approve the education of the children in Afrikaans and the dissatisfaction about the language issue resulted in the relocation of between 1800 and 1900 persons in 1928 to Namibia.
1891-5 Zimbabwe Treks - There were ten treks to the previous Southern Rhodesia and so far no Botha names can be found that were members of any party. Quite a few Bothas relocated to this country, but they tavelled as individuals.
1902-5 Argentine treks - There were 3 main treks to this country and also in this case no Botha can be found in any party. The majority of these emigrants returned to South Africa during 1937 and 1938.

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Cheetah Date Last Updated:   26 August 2021
Date First Published:   26 June 1999

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