Today marks the 361st anniversary of the arrival of the white man in Southern Africa. On the 6th of April, 1652, the Dutch colonial administrator of the Dutch East India Company, Jan van Riebeeck, landed at the Cape with his company in three ships, Dromedaris, Reijger, and Goede Hoop, with the purpose of fortifying the site as a way-station on the maritime trade route between the Netherlands and India. His first task was building the Fort de Goede Hoop, which remained in use until 1674. Van Riebeeck, the first white political leader in Southern Africa, remained the Commander of the Cape for ten years, and was the first man to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to Southern Africa – also giving the black tribes of this region reason to rejoice on this day. Even though Van Riebeeck emigrated to Indonesia in 1662 and died in Jakarta in 1677, he is still regarded by Afrikaner-Boers as the founding father of our people, and he laid the foundation for all of the European immigration to Southern Africa.
As I’ve previously stated, the famous vow established by the great Boer victory over the Zulus at Blood River on 16 December 1838 made the Boers a covenanted people. But nearly two centuries prior, Jan van Riebeeck already made a vow at the Cape – greatly significant for the Boer people in particular, but also for all white Christian South Africans and Rhodesians. Two years after his arrival, on 6 April 1654, Van Riebeeck stated:
Today is the second anniversary of our safe arrival with the ships Drommedaris, Reijger and Goede Hoop at this place through the Holy guidance of God to build this fortress and establish this settlement according to the instructions of our Lords and Masters, and the Lord God has hitherto given His abundant blessing to the satisfactory and successful accomplishment of all these matters. We have therefore, resolved, and also for the first time begun to celebrate this 6th day of April in the name of the Almighty, and henceforth to set it aside for all time as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, so that our descendants may never forget the mercies we have received at the Lord’s Hands, but may always remember them to the Glory of God.
Also particularly worth noting is his concluding prayer accompanying the vow:
O Gracious and Most Merciful God and Heavenly Father, in Your Divine Majesty You have loved us and called us to guide the affairs of the Dutch East India Company in this place, and to this end we are gathered here together in Your Name. May the decisions we take further the best interests of the above-mentioned company, to maintain justice and, if it is possible, may your true Reformed Christian teachings be established and spread among these wild and uncivilized people, to the honour and praise of your Holy Name and the prosperity of our God Almighty, without whose merciful help we are powerless. Therefore we pray to You, O Most Merciful Father, and ask that you will stand by and support us with your Fatherly Wisdom and Understanding and preside over our gatherings; lift our hearts that all wrong passions, misunderstandings and bestial lusts be removed from us and cleanse our hearts from all human affectations; and so fix our minds that in our actions no other principles or motives are apparent other than the magnification and honor of your Most Holy Name, so that we may best serve our lords and masters, without in any way acting for our own advantage or taking into account personal gain, to which end we will carry out our orders and so earn a worthy blessing. We pray and ask this in the Name of Your Beloved Son, Our Master and Saviour Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, They will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debt, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not in temptation. But deliver us from evil: For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
It is indeed sad, firstly, that this vow and day of celebration have been forgotten by the vast majority of Afrikaners, most of whom have forsaken the religion of their ancestors. And secondly, that the current South African government does not recognize the value this day has for Afrikaner culture is yet another example of the devilish suppression of my people.
May the remembrance of this vow also encourage all white people around the world, in light of Philippians 4:6, to give glory and thanks to God for all He has done for our people over the centuries through blessing and protecting us, but also at the same time make known to Him how great our desire for the repentance of our people is. May He indeed grant that repentance, for His unshakable promise stands: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the most High: And Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:14-15).