Ugie, Eastern Cape - South Africa
William Murray, member of the Free Church of Scotland, was sent by the London Missionary Society to the then
Cape Colony in South Africa to do missionary work amongst the Griquas of Adam Kok III who settled during 1862 in
the present Kokstad area. He was also qualified as a medical doctor.
were persuaded by the Cape Governor Sir George Grey to move from their territory named Griqualand, situated in
the area between the towns of Griquatown in the Northern Cape and
Philippolis in the Orange Free State. This was done because the leaders of
the Griquas always quarreled amongst themselves, usually troubled the British Government to make peace and from
time to time in conflict with the white farmers of the Orange Free State.
they moved from Philippolis. Preferred to
trek through Basuthuland [now Lesotho], because they did not want to cross
British territory, to their New Griqualand in the present Kokstad area. Old Griqualand was later on called Griqualand West and
New Griqualand, Griqualand East.
Due to a
dispute in the Kok family a smaller group broke away from the main group. They crossed the Orange River at Macumacuma near the
present town of Sterkspruit. Trekked through the present Barkly East
district. Crossed the Drakensberg at
Mount Enterprise near the present Ugie and settled along the I Nxu River. They called the river the Wildebeest.
A number of
them gathered at I Nxu Drift, now known as Lake’s Drift just north of the present town of Ugie. This was on
the wagon track between Dordrecht and the new settlement at
Kokstad. Ox wagons usually camped out there
during the night and had to stay over for a few days if the river was in flood. They usually overalled their wagons and “trekgoed” for
the oxen during the time. The Griquas that
settled there helped them for a small fee.
was born on 15th July, 1837 and grew up in the New Deer
province in Aberdeenshire in Scotland. His father was a shoemaker and small farmer on the banks
of the Ugie River near New Pitslego. The Ugie River originates in the mountains
near New Byth, flows through the Bucnan Hills and then into the North Sea at Peterhead near the city of
Fraserburgh. The railwayline between Aberdeen and Fraserburgh crosses the Ugie River between Maud and Strichen stations.
wife, Ann [née Elliott], and baby daughter, Ann Isabella, left Southhampton on a steamer on
27th July, 1862. They landed in Port
Elizabeth three weeks later on the 24th August.
From there by post coach to
Grahamstown. From there by ox wagon through
Fort Beaufort up to Hackney in the Queenstown district. In Katberg they were caught in a
they reached Hackney on the 9th of September 1862 their
baby daughter died. The following day his
wife also died. Both of them were buried
there on the same day. Due to all the grief
and hardships William Murray decided to stay at Hackney for a while.
Towards the end
of February 1863 a deputation of the Griquas left I Nxu Drift by ox wagon to fetch Murray. The driver
of the oxen was Jacob Franks. He was assisted
by Gert du Plooy and Tom Croutz. The wagon
leader was April de Wet.
to I Nxu Drift at the evening of 8th March. The long, lean and sun burnt Murray got off the wagon. Looked around him, went on his knees next to a rock and
prayed. “Oh, God is this my destiny.....If
so......Abide with me.......” When he stood
up he decided to call the place Ugie........to remember him of his homeland.
pronounces Ugie as “Oogie”. They derived it from the word “Oorie” of the Vikings in Iceland. It means to get cold. Literally to shiver of the cold.
Compiled by Frans Nel
12. 12. 1997