Emeritus Professor Mike de Jongh, research fellow, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, UNISA

Born in 1761 on a farm near Montagu, Coenraad de Buys was the progenitor of the Buys people of the far northern Limpopo Province. An exceptionally tall, formidable man of great resourcefulness and courage, Coenraad de Buys married or cohabited with several indigenous women, including the niece of the Matabele king, Mzilikazi. He left an indelible imprint on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century sociocultural landscape of South Africa. Today his descendants, a hybrid community of some 300 individuals (de facto) or a few thousand (de jure), inhabit 11 000 hectares of land which comprises Buysdorp in the foothills of the Soutpansberg. Their story, one of a reclusive rural community with a long history now challenged by land claims and the pressures of modernisation, can be read as a case study of identity politics and politics of identity – and what it means to be ‘truly South African’.



  1. The making of the Buyses: three centuries of controversy, conflict and contentment
  2. Larger than life: Coenraad de Buys, progenitor of the Buyses
  3. Makhado, the missionaries, the Boers and the British
  4. Buysdorp: governance, management and autonomy
  5. ‘People of a middle world’: development and doubts, change and challenges



Date: 6–10 January
Time: 9.15 am
COURSE FEES: Full R590 Staff & Students R295
Venue: LT3 Kramer Law Building UCT