Marikana and Bulhoek
The Marikana massacre of two weeks ago has been compared with many things, but one of the things it most resembles is the Bulhoek Massacre of 1921, when the followers of a prophet, Enoch Mgijima, refused to move from a mountain they regarded as holy, and were shot down by police and soldiers.
Mgijima had joined an American-based denomination, the Church of God and the Saints of Christ, which had been founded by William Saunders Crowdy in 1896. Its basic theology was Seventh Day Adventist (rather like that of those involved in the Waco Massacre in Texas).
The Church of God and the Saints of Christ was brought to South Africa by Bishop John James Msikinya, a former Methodist, vut Enoch Mgijima soon became the leader of the South African branch. Enock Mgijima was sentenced to six years imprisonment for his part in the “disturbance”.
In the light of these events it is interesting that Nightingale, the Superintendent of Natives at Kamastone, wrote to the magistrate of Queenstown, recommending the appointment of the Revd Enoch Mgijima as a marriage officer. He described Mgijima as “a very respectable man, of good character and repute” and “honest and straightforward in all dealings I have had with him”. The church was growing rapidly, and the passover ceremony at Kamastone had more than 1100 people present.
You can read more about the Bulhoek massacre in this article on The Bulhoek tragedy by Joan Millard, a lecturer in the church history department of the University of South Africa.