n Historia - A gripping account although lacking in fresh insights
The Return of Makhanda: Exploring the Legend, Julia C. Wells : book review

Volume 60, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Many people who stand at the front gate of Rhodes University in Grahamstown notice the striking view of Makana's Kop on the other side of town. The hill is named after a Xhosa man, also known as Lynx, Nxele, and now Makhanda, who led an ambitious, but disastrous attack by some 10 000 Xhosa on Grahamstown in 1819. Although Makhanda was imprisoned on the infamous Robben Island shortly after the battle and drowned trying to escape, many Xhosa people believed for a long time that he would someday return to lead continued resistance against colonisation. By the late twentieth century this hope had turned to cynicism and it became popular among Xhosa people of the Eastern Cape to refer to something that is promised but will never happen as "when Nxele returns".

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