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Slagtersnek or Slachter's Nek ("Butcher's pass") can refer to:

  • A physical place (a ridge near Van Aardt’s Post in the Eastern Cape, some miles north of Cookhouse),

The Slagters Nek Rebellion

A traumatic event in the Cape history, this served as a key incitement to increased resistance to British colonial rule and ultimately led to the Great Trek of 1838.

The historical event

In 1815 Frederik Bezuidenhout, a farmer from the eastern border of the Cape Colony, was controversially summoned to appear before a magistrate's court and charged with mistreating one of his Khoi labourers. He resisted arrest and fled to a cave near his home where he defended himself against the soldiers sent to capture him, and was killed by one of the soldiers. One of his brothers, Hans Bezuidenhout, swore revenge and organised a rebellion against the British colonial rulers. On 18th November 1815, a commando of rebels thus met a British armed force at Slachter's Nek, on the eastern frontier. Though negotiations failed, no shots were fired and twenty rebels surrendered, while the majority of the rest simply left for home. However, some of the leaders - including Hans Bezuidenhout, refused to do so and on 29th November 1815, they were attacked by colonial troops. This time all except Bezuidenhout surrendered and he, like his brother, then died while resisting arrest.

The rebels were finally charged and a number of them were cleared of wrongdoing, while others were imprisoned or banished. Six were sentenced to death and five of them ultimately hanged on the 9th of March, 1816.

On 9th March 1916, exactly 100 years after the execution, a monument was unveiled on the site where the hanging took place.

Impact of the event

Although many of the other frontier farmers (Boers) did not at that time support or agree with the rebellion, some of the leaders of the The Great Trek of 1838 would later cite that incident as one of the reasons they felt compelled to leave the Cape Colony and the British sphere of influence.

The rebellion has subsequently been the theme of a number of fictional or documentary works.

Among them: Die Pad van Suid-Afrika (C.J. Langenhoven, 1913), Slagtersnek (van Bruggen, 1938), Die Verhoor and Die Rebelle (both by André P. Brink, and both published in 1970), The Road to Slagtersnek (André P. Brink/Michael Venables, 1986),


Slagtersnek, a documentary drama in two acts by J.R.L. van Bruggen (1895-1948)

The original text

Part of a collection of Afrikaans one-act documentary plays by Van Bruggen entitled Bakens: Gedramatiseerde mylpale uit die Groot Trek, aimed at commemorating the Great Trek of 1839. (Published in Johannesburg in 1938/9 by A.P.B., some of the plays performed in 1938)

It deals with the Slagtersnek (literally "Butcher's Neck", meaning "Butcher's pass") rebellion, when Dutch/Afrikaner farmers rebelled against the British government in the Cape Province. [1] in 1815.


Marisa Keuris. 2013. "J.R.L. van Bruggen (Kleinjan) se eenbedryf “Bloedrivier” uit Bakens: Gedramatiseerde mylpale uit die Groot Trek (1938/1939) – ’n terugblik vanuit 2013", LitNet Akademies 10(3)[2]

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