Friday, 11 March 2011

William Jordan (1849-1886), Coloured settler in Namibia

Coloureds in Namibia since 1884:

William Worthington Jordan, was a "coloured" man from the Cape Colony in South Africa. His father was British and his mother cape coloured. He was a hunter and trader in Botswana, Namibia and Angola.

On 21.04.1884 Jordan obtained a land and minerals concession of 50,000 kilometres around Otavi and Grootfontein from Ondonga King Kambonde kaMpingana, king of the Ondongas in the interior of Namibia. Kambonde hoped to strengthen his position against his main rival for control of the Ongonda chiefdom, Nehale Mpingana.

Jordan had traded with the Dorsland Trekkers and a group of trekboers on their way back from Angola were invited to stay on this concession he called the "Republic Upingtonia" - that on 20 Oct 1885 was founded as a settler polity with Grootfontein as its capital. He purchased the area on payment of 300 English pounds, 25 rifles, a slated horse and a barrel of brandy.

Subsequently the name is changed to Lijdensrust(Lydenrust)in 1886 and accepts German protection. The first, and only President, George Diederik P. Prinsloo (b. 1820 - d. 1888), presided from 20 Oct 1885 - June 1887.

Flag of Upingtonia

Jordan's killing on the orders of Ondonga King Nehale lyaMpingana on 30.06.1886 marked the end of the "Republic Upingtonia", and most of the Boers trekked back to Angola. Jordan's concession was auctioned in Cape Town after his death, and formed the basis for the South West Africa Company.

(By August 1892, Cecil Rhodes had come to dominate the SWAC which had the sole rights to operate railway lines between Sandwich Harbour and the Kunene River.The "Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahngesellschaft (OMEG)" was founded in Berlin on 6 April1900. The major shareholders were the German Disconto-Gesellschaft and the South West Africa Company (SWAC). The mining rights of Jordan were now held in this company which was in later years to become Tsumeb Corporation Limited.)

Following this, the German government at Windhoek asserted control over the region and ended Lijdenrust's independence.

It would be a stretch, but in essence the first coloured settler created a settler colony in 1885. He was killed in the fight between two Ondonga brothers to take over as Chief. Upon his death,the Germans took control of this territory. Thus, the first coloured settlement in Namibia had ended.

Max Du Preez in his book, Of Tricksters, Tyrants and Turncoats (Zebra Press Cape Town 2008) refers to him in a chapter entitled “The Darkie Boer”.

Chronology Of Namibian History
Author: Klaus Dierks
Published 1999 – Namibia Scientific Society