Their ancestors were settled in these villages after the war of 1850 by the colonial authorities. The starvation and hardship caused by the cattle-killing tragedy of 1855 finally broke the power of the Xhosa chiefs and the Xhosa nation as a cohesive force. There was little resistance to setting up these villages under the regional authority of a magistrate, to whom the chiefs were responsible. Due to a lack of employment opportunities in the region, residents of these villages are poor in the material sense, but rich in their historical heritage and natural beauty in the rolling hills below the Amatola range.
The Tyume Valley of today reflects the stability of people living on land that has been in their individual families for nearly, 150 years. Neatly fenced plots in each village emphasise the orderliness of the valley. Cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, donkeys and poultry graze among the houses and on common land. Small church preaching stations, mostly built of wattle and daub, stand among the neat houses in every village. The Tyume River was for 100 years the disputed boundary between the Cape Colony and Xhosaland. [The river is just over the hill from the church shown at left]. A great deal of military activity took place here over the years, and the region was dotted with Colonial forts, many of which have now given their names to towns and villages. Fort Hare and Fort Beaufort, located to the west of the river and valley, are local examples.
The first Christian missionaries to work with the Xhosa, Van Der Kemp and Edmunds, met Chief Ngqika (Gaika) in his Great Place in 1797 and were allocated land in the valley. Van Der Kemp describes the view: “Before this house we had a beautiful field of grass in the middle of an amphitheatre of high mountains.....The ascent to the mountains was covered by a thick wood......some of the trees were above 100 feet high. Above......towards the top of the mountain were meadows of a vast extent, and of a beautiful verdure, and the top itself was covered with inaccessible woods."

26° 53' 6", -32° 38' 42"