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The Great Trek (1835-1840)

How the Faure family was involved

There were no members of the Faure family that took part in the actual migration away from British rule in the period from 1835 to 1840. However the Faure family was prominent in the new settlements during the period directly following the trek.

Historians have identified multiple factors that contributed to the Great Trek, in varying degrees, although the primary motivation was disillusionment with British colonial rule. It was also mainly the farmers (also known as Boers at the time) in the present day Eastern Cape that seeked isolation from the colonial authorities. Most members of the Faure family lived in and around Cape Town and Stellenbosch and did not share the same sentiments.

The Reverend Dr Abraham Faure (1795-1875) served in the Graaff-Reinet congregation prior to the Trek and was known to the dissident farmers. Now in Cape Town, he was very vocal in his opposition to the Trek. It is also worth noting that the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), to which most of the Boers belonged, explicitly refused to endorse the Great Trek.

By 1838, near 6000 people, or about 20% of the population of the Cape Colony, have trekked. Most have settled in what is today known as KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

By 1843 the British annexed Natal. In September 1843, Dr Abraham and his wife were requested by the then Cape Governor (Sir George Napier) to visit Natal to attempt to foster a better disposition among the Boers towards the new administration. Dr Abraham was not well received and he made himself very unpopular by praying for the British Queen as legal sovereign of Natal. He was politely asked to not continue with his visit.

On his return to Cape Town he encouraged his son, Dr Hendrik Emanuel FAURE (1828-1898), who at the time have just completed his theological studies at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, to take his place among the new settlers in Natal.

In 1852, Dr HE FAURE was ordained as the first Afrikaans speaking minister of the congregation of  Pietermaritzburg, also known as the Voortrekkerkerk. He served there until 1859. During his tenure he was instrumental in the establishment of two more congregations, that of Ladysmith in April 1854 and Utrecht in November 1854 (named after the University of Utrecht where Dr HE FAURE studied).

In the meantime, Reverend Dr Philip Emanuel FAURE, minister in Wynberg, Cape Town, and the younger brother of Dr Abraham, was invited by the new settlers in the Free State to pay them a visit. The visit took place in October 1848. During his visit, he established three new DRC congregations. The first at the farm Rietrivier, the second in Smithfield and the third in Bloemfontein. The settlement at Rietrivier became known as Fauresmith - named after Dr Philip Faure and the then more popular Cape Governor, Sir Harry Smith.

File nameThe Great Trek (1836)
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