Griqualand West

Griqualand West Supreme Court Image source

Griqualand West is proclaimed a separate Crown Colony .The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 resulted in a flood of treasure hunters, especially from England, streaming to the interior of the country. Ownership of the diamond fields was contested by the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, as well as various other groups like the KhoiKhoi, Koranas under Andries Waterboer, and the Batlhaping under Chief Mankuroane.In 1870, Transvaal President Andries Pretorius declared the diamond fields as Boer property. Immigrant miners were enraged and a former British sailor called Stafford Parker organised his fellow countrymen and drove all the Transvaal officials out of the area. On 30 July 1870 he declared the Klipdrift Republic and by December of the same year about 10 000 British settlers made their home in the new republic. Parker was also chosen as President It was also called the Digger's Republic and the Republic of Griqualand West.In the 5th of August 1879 it became a separate British Crown Colony. However, this did not settle the conflict of ownership. The Batlhaping under Mankuroane and the Qriquas rebelled against British in an attempt to regain their independence. British forces crushed the rebellion. Chief Mankuroane fled to neighbouring Tswana chiefdoms but Chief Montshioa of the Barolong Boo Ratshidi urged other Tswana chiefs not to give rebellious chiefs refuge in their chiefdoms. Finally, British forces captured Chief Mankuroane and Qriqua leaders. The republic sat next to the Vaal River, but existed for an extremely short time. During the following year Boer forces attempted to regain the territory through negotiation, but were unsuccessful, and on 27 October 1871 British forces marched in and occupied the small country. It became the Griqualand West colony and eventually was incorporated into the Orange Free State.

Building work started on the Griqualand West Supreme Court, on the Market Square in 1882 and took two years to complete, opening in February 1884. This was short-lived as the building was declared unsafe in 1886, partially demolished and rebuilt. The clock tower (with clock) was added on in 1889. The building remained the Supreme Court of Griqualand West until 1968 when it moved to its present position in the Civic Centre (Malay Camp), but was retained as the Magistrate’s Court until May 1990 when the staff moved into their new premises on Knight Street – opened officially by Kobie Coetsee on 22 February 1991. The South African Police Services used the building as offices until 1994 when it was returned to the Dept of Public Works. The building itself, a National Monument (declared 2 November 1990), is built of blue ironstone that came from a kopje overlooking Dutoitspan Mine. Convicts built the entire structure, and most of the fittings and the furniture were made in Kimberley. Restored at a cost of R6.3 million in 2001 by MDH Joint Venture, the building is used by the Public Works. 

References:
• Potgieter, D.J. (ed) 1973. Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa POP-SLA. Cape Town: Nasionale Opvoedkundige Uitgewery.
• http://www.buckyogi.com/footnotes/natkl.htm
• http://flagspot.net/flags/za_kd.htmlhttp://www.kimberley.org.za/today-kimberleys-history-13-september/
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Further Reading:

www.sahistory.org.za › Culture of South Africa

Last updated : 07-Nov-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011