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The Kennaway Trail looks at

Successful Venture?

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

The arrival of the Kennaway girls did not solve Sir George Grey's problem.

It was stretching the imagination to the extreme to expect all 153 to marry immediately on arrival in British Kaffraria, yet employment opportunities in the territory were simply not sufficient to accommodate even the small number who had arrived.

On the other hand, 153 unmarried females offered little prospect of wives to more than 2,000 bachelor soldiers. Indeed, the German legionnaires had as yet scarcely settled down. Generally, they made poor farmers, and were mostly interested in further military action if this was forthcoming. More than half enlisted when the Indian Mutiny broke out in 1858.

In short, the whole plan was ill-conceived and failed at the outset. Ultimately, Sir George decided to take matters into his own hands.

Much to the anger of the Colonial Office, he succeeded in bringing 1600 German peasant families to British Kaffraria in 1858 in what was clearly a far more successful venture than either of the Colonial Office immigration attempts.

Nevertheless, the Kennaway affair provided a colourful thread to the tapestry of South African history and there are many of South Africa's population who are descended from these women.

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