Gert Alberts

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Gert Alberts

Gert Andries Jacobus Alberts (born 3 January 1836 in Swellendam – died 29 March 1927 in Humpata) was the leader of the First Dorsland Trek. He was a member of the Gereformeerde Kerk (or 'Dopper' church) and served as a ‘kerkraadslid’.[1]

Elected leader of the trekkers,[2] he left Pretoria on 27 May 1874.[3] Alberts led ten families across the Kalahari, taking 50 oxwagons and 1,400 cattle with them.[4] He split the trek in three groups, with a two-day interval between them, to avoid overcrowding the rare waterholes along the path. Three families turned back before they crossed the Kgalagadi Desert, where a handful of cattle were lost during the waterless journey.[2]

Reaching Lake Ngami on 29 April 1875,[5] they demanded Hendrik van Zyl, a trader based in Ghanzi with a reputation for ruthlessness,[6] access to his wells, but he initially refused. He ultimately agreed to let them have water, and the trekkers continued to Rietfontein, on the border with German Southwest Africa.[4]

The group arrived in Rietfontein in January 1876,[1] and Andries Lambert, the Oorlams captain at Gobabis, granted them permission to stay.[4] They remained for a year, leaving only when they received a call for help from the second party of Dorsland Trekkers; they had attempted to cross the Kgalagadi with 500 people in 128 wagons, more than could be supported by the desert environment.[2] Alberts and his group managed to rescue some of them, and they continued their trek, reaching Okavango, where they were struck by malaria.[4]

Over a period of five years, the survivors arrived in the Humpata Highlands, in present-day Angola;[7] where Alberts died in 1927.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Gert Andries Jacobus Alberts (1836 - d.)". Geni. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Roger Webster (2003). The Illustrated at the Fireside: True Southern African Stories. New Africa Books. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-86486-558-8.
  3. ^ "The first group of Dorslandtrekkers (Thirstland trekkers), under leadership of Gert Alberts, leaves Pretoria". South African History Online. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Chris Marais; Julienne Du Toit (2006). A Drink of Dry Land. Struik. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-77007-274-9.
  5. ^ "The first Boer Trek to Angola that started in 1874 reaches Lake Ngami (Thirstland Trek)". South African History Online. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  6. ^ Lonely Planet; Alan Murphy; Anthony Ham; Trent Holden; Kate Morgan (2013-05-01). Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia. Lonely Planet. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-74321-648-4.
  7. ^ "Namibia: Holiday (12th to 27th of June 2010)". Gerhard's Photo Adventures. Retrieved 31 January 2014.

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