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The Great Trek
Trekboers and migrations
[It is interesting to note that in North America with our own pioneers, there is quite a gap between image and reality. The image is of hardy pioneers who braved attacks by Indians, cut down the forests or moved out onto the prairies to carve farms out of the wilderness and opened a continent to development and civilisation. They were certainly hardy, but cockroaches are hardy! The reality of what the North American born pioneers were like was recorded by Susannah Moodie and other immigrants. According to these accounts, they were uncouth and ignorant, poorly educated, not all that trustworthy, whining, etc. However, they knew how to survive and could help show the newcomers. They certainly opened the continent to development, but their contributions to civilisation are much more in doubt. The point is that succceeding generations have a tendency to see early pioneers with rose-coloured glasses.
There is also a lack of perspective. The settlers in wagon trains moving west have been celebrated in song, novels, movies, TV programs and so on. The wealth and resources produced by industrialization in the East and Mid-West was probably more important in achieving the Manifest Destiny of the U. S., yet there are no movies celebrating the heroes of the blast furnace. The discovery and exploitation of mineral wealth (diamonds and gold) is undoubtedly the biggest factor in the creation of modern South Africa, but trekboers had little role in that; in fact, they often wanted to impede that development.]
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