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Jeremy Rich

South African healer and prophet, was born to a prominent South African Xhosa-speaking family in the late eighteenth century. His father was an important leader under the authority of Chuief Ngqika within the larger Xhosa community. His mother, on the other hand, was driven from her husband’s home on the grounds that she had used supernatural power to harm others. Ntsikana grew up in a turbulent time, as the Dutch East Indian Company’s Cape Colony enclave (part of present-day South Africa) made inroads into the Great Fish River region. Occasional wars between Boer settlers and Xhosa, along with struggles between Ngqika and some other Xhosa rivals, posed difficulties. British forces proved more devastating once the British government definitively occupied the Cape Colony in 1806. The ravages of allied British and African forces (including Ngqika) against those Xhosa living west of the Great Fish River led to further upheaval.

It ...