Swallow the Leader

Last week I spent a few hours in the mountains on St Fort looking for the cannibal-fattening kraal of Letsoena that I have been searching for, for a number of years but as yet have not found. I found new evidence as to where they may be situated by coming across a copy of a 1969 “Landbou Weekblad” that had an article on St Fort and it also mentioned that this is were the fattening kraals had been, however an interesting point was that the previous owner of the farm had broken them down as he was not happy having this structure on his property.

Prior to this only 2 references were available to me to assist in finding the kraal

· The one was in Bethlehem 125 by A P J van Rensburg
· The other Golden gate, “the history of two farms that became a national park” also by A P J van Rensburg

This new information helped because up till now I have been looking for stone walls built up in to a cave area, so now I was looking for an area that rocks not natural to that specific place had been moved and would be lying around “hopefully” as the article did not say whether or not the rocks had been moved or in fact used for other purposes.

A picture in the article also gave an indication as to were the kraal could be situated, the caption read “ Where the road disappears behind the krantz, this is where the cannibal Letsoana had his fattening kraal” with this new information in hand, a copy of the photo and my camera I drove to the farm and using the photo tried to orientate myself as to where the photo had been taken from. I walked for a while until it dawned on me that the photo in the magazine had been inverted so everything was back to front.

I was then able to fairly accurately see were the photo had been taken from and the approximate area that the fattening kraal was supposedly situated. The position also fitted in with pervious information that it was approx 800-900 meters away from the original homestead. So with this new discovery I eagerly climbed that krantz and searched every nook and cranny for a recess or cave that could have been used for the fattening kraal. After a while I was standing on a rock buttress and wondering were the kraal could be I remembered that in one of the earlier references it made mention that there had been a hut outside the kraal as well as a grave of either Letseona or a witchdoctor. As I was thinking about that I looked down towards the river on the other side of the road and wondered if the kraal could not have been there. Scrambling down the mountain I started to search that area I had identified from up high.

The location is good as its near the river and has flat ground has large rocks that could have been walled up (see picture 1), there is definitely stone that does not belong to the area and seems to have been moved there for a specific purpose and there also seems to be the foundations of a hut as well as what could possibly be a grave (see picture 2 and 3), however one aspect that worried me is that, one of the old references makes mention that the entrance to the kraal is so well hidden that even if you are a mere 10 feet away you could have difficulty in finding it, this is the one aspect that makes me doubt that this is the site as it is easily visible from the road or from above. So for now the search goes on. It’s a pity I cannot find anyone who has ever been to the site before, but I will continue searching and hopefully find the elusive Letsoena fattening kraal.

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