The Great Trek as Exodus in J.D. Kestell's and N. Hofmeyr's De Voortrekkers of het dagboek van Izak van der Merwe

  • F. Hale University of Stellenbosch
Keywords: South African history, Voortrekkers, Great Trek, J. D. Kestell, N. Hofmeyr, Exodus, Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis, Groot Trek, Eksodus


Both before and after the end of the nineteenth century the Great Trek of the 1830s and 1840s was a recurrent theme in historical fiction. Not only in many of the novels written in Dutch and Afrikaans, but also in some which appeared in English, the bravery of the Voortrekkers was a pivotal theme. Often merged with this heroic motif was an identification of the Voortrekkers with the Israelites of the Old Testament. This thematic dualism reached its zenith in De Voortrekkers of Het Dagboek van Izak van der Merwe, whose authors, John Daniel Kestell en Nico Hofmeyr, both of whom were Dutch Reformed ministers, constructed the Great Trek as a post-figurative Exodus.


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