"Rhodes as almighty might-have-been" Read the full letter
John Moffat (1835 - 1918) was a London Missionary Society missionary variously stationed in Bechuanaland, the territories now Zimbabwe, and elsewhere in southern Africa. He was a son of the well-known missionary Robert Moffat. John Moffat was instrumental in intervening between Lobengula, chief of the Ndebele, and Cecil Rhodes in the late 1880s and early 1890s as Rhodes began to set his sights on northwards expansion. Moffat effectively persuaded (some would say tricked) Lobengula to sign over his land to the British High Commissioner (on instructions from Rhodes). He subsequently remained in what had been renamed Rhodesia as a British colonial official and also on the payroll of the Chartered Company. Moffat retired in 1896 and his departure from Rhodesia was linked by some to the subsequent escalation of violence and bloodshed which followed the uprising by the Ndebele and Shona people against white rule. It was the brutal and bloody quashing of this so-called rebellion by Rhodes's forces which Schreiner depicted in her allegorical novella Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland.
For further information see:
Elizabeth Elbourne (2004) 'Moffat, Robert (1795-1883)' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18874
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