Domira, Lovedale, Victoria East District






Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: Although Domira was built in 1837, the history of the place actually begins somewhat earlier. The Rev. John Brownlee started missionary work in the Tyumie valley in 1820. Missionaries of the Glasgow Society joined him and a mission station was established about 6 km east of Alice. This was Lovedale, named in honour of the Rev.J. Love, one of the founders of the Glasgow Missionary Society. It was completely destroyed by the Xhosa in 1835.
The missionaries returned after the war, but it was decided to move the mission station. In 1836 Charles Lennox Stretch was appointed by Sir Benjamin D’Urban as Resident to the Gaika tribes and was granted a piece of land at Block Drift by the Chiefs. There he built not only Dornira but a school for Bantu girls and a model or experimental farm. In the same year he gave a considerable portion of his land to the missionaries who were seeking a new site for their mission station, and there they built the new Lovedale.
Stretch occupied Domira until about 1849, during which time it was the scene of important events. In 1840 the Governor, Sir George Napier, received the Gaika Chiefs, Sandile, Makomo, Tjali and others there with great ceremony to revise the treaties that Stockenstrom had concluded with them. Before the outbreak of the War of the Axe very important negotiations took place there between the Colonial Government and the Gaika Chiefs. On 26th January, 1846, exchanges between Lieut Governor John Hare and Sandile almost gave rise to bloodshed. In April, 1847, Domira was turned into a fortification by the Royal Engineers and for a long time it served as the point of departure of the Colonial forces under Sir Andries Stockenstrom for their attacks on the Gaika Chiefs in the Amatola Mountains. There, too, Makomo took the first steps towards making peace.
When Stretch vacated Domira it probably served as the Residency of the Magistrate of Alice for a considerable time. It was eventually acquired by the Glasgow Missionary Society and became part of the Lovedale educational institution.
Bronze Plaque 1956"
Visual Description: Lovedale, the well-known educational institution is situated at Block Drift on the left bank of the Tyumie River, just north of Fort Hare. Domira is a sturdy, attractive old stone house with a thatched roof in the grounds of the institution.
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Construction Date: 1837
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