Sarel Cilliers

Charl (Sarel) Arnoldus Cilliers (7 September 1801 – 4 October 1871) was a Voortrekker leader and a preacher.

Portrait of Sarel Cilliers by an unknown artist

QuotesEdit

  • I conceded in my weakness to the wish of all the officials, also was I aware that the majority of burghers were in favour of it. ... on a canon carriage [was the vow delivered] ... in a simple way, with as much dignity as the Lord enabled me to do.
    • Cilliers in his Journaal, concerning the Vow which was taken each day from the 9th to 15th December 1838, when the Zulu enemy was in view.
  • ... he had a leather bag around one shoulder, which he still carried and which contained his papers, including Mr Retief's negotiated treaty with Dingane, the circumscription of the land – this was to us all a wonder to see, as the bodies had been lying there for so long, and since the papers were still so unblemished and clean…
    • Cilliers' recollection of the recovery of the remains of the Retief delegation on December 23, 1838, more than 10 months after their murders, as reported in his Journaal, and quoted by G.B.A. Gerdener in Sarel Cilliers, die Vader van Dingaansdag, Cape Town, 1919, p. 104.
  • Moroka and also your father Moshesh would confirm in which circumstances they were at the time of our crossing of the Orange River – how we formed a wall of protection around them against the robbery and destruction of the Korannas and Basters – and how it subsequently went with them, as Rev. Archbell and Mr. Sephton can testify. In fact, in the year 1834, in a company of 10 men, namely A. and J. Struijs, A. and P. Pienaar, H. and P. van Heerden, A. Duvenage, A. Visagie, P. Cilliers and myself, we undertook a commission trek to the far side of the Vals River, during which we were able to view the region from the Modder River almost to the Renoster River. At this time, this region was empty, so to speak without inhabitants, with only here and there a few particularly lean and emaciated kaffirs who were in the process of starving. Wherever we went at this time, I did not see any sheep, goats or cattle. Those who escaped the assegai of Mzilikazi and the ravages of the Basters and Korannas, yes also survived famine, subsisted by digging trapping pits at the waters' edge. We also observed more than once that they carried bones and remains of overnight lion and hyena catches back to their kraals, when they saw the vultures descending on these. Out of compassion we shot a lot of game for them, and a group of them also accompanied us. In two places we met with horrible scenes. At the first I saw a stream where the waters had washed the corpses into a heap. The second was a defile in a cliff which was so to speak filled up with human bones. Upon our return home, we sent a memorandum, signed by 72 men, to the Cape Governor requesting to go and live there. This request was however denied.
    • Celliers in a letter (Doornkloof, 5 July 1864) to the editor of The Friend in Bloemfontein, in reaction to a letter to the same by Sekelo Moshesh (3 June 1864), The Friend (16 September 1864). See also: G.B.A. Gerdener, Boustowwe vir Kerkgeskiedenis (1929), pp. 156-160.
  • In the year 1836, if my recollection is right, we undertook to leave our motherland, and then crossed the Orange River. Would you now testify against us, whether we took anything without compensation from anyone during our passage? On the contrary, we exchanged with each tribe a lot of wheat and maize for our livestock, whereby we also enriched your father Moshesh. We trekked as far as the Vaal River, where Mzilikazi, the conqueror of you all, also unexpectedly overwhelmed our people. He killed a good part of us and robbed us of a very large part of our property, me being absent while on the commission trip to Zoutpansberg. When we returned from thence to the Renoster River, at Vechtkop, Mzilikazi attacked us again and also robbed us of all our livestock. When we were thus helpless, and in great distress, not your father Moshesh, but the Rev. Mr. Archbell with Moroka assisted us, for which I still thank them. They are still our friends, who have done us no harm to this day. Nor have Moroka's people robbed us, whereas our brethren suffered greatly under the pillaging of your father's people. To return to my story – we retreated from Vechtkop to Moroka's land. He received us as his friends and also made a donation of wheat for our hungry women and children. Moroka sent some of his people to join us on the first commando against Mzilikazi, our great enemy who was likewise your father's enemy.
    • Celliers in a letter (Doornkloof, 5 July 1864) to the editor of The Friend in Bloemfontein, in reaction to a letter to the same by Sekelo Moshesh (3 June 1864), The Friend (16 September 1864). See also: G.B.A. Gerdener, Boustowwe vir Kerkgeskiedenis (1929), pp. 156-160.
  • Let me draw your attention to Mzilikazi, when he fell upon us, murdering and pillaging – did he benefit from it or suffer harm? Was he able to remain in his country or did he have to flee? Let me draw your attention to our negotiations with Dingane, who in his demeanour had the likeness of a sheep, but in his heart was a ravaging wolf. How did it go for him? Did he benefit or suffer harm?
    • Celliers in a letter (Doornkloof, 5 July 1864) to the editor of The Friend in Bloemfontein, in reaction to a letter to the same by Sekelo Moshesh (3 June 1864), The Friend (follow-up, 23 September 1864). See also: G.B.A. Gerdener, Boustowwe vir Kerkgeskiedenis (1929), p. 159.

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