On several occasions he was sent by governors on missions to visit indigenous tribes beyond the frontier. During these missions was able to indulge in his interests of natural history and anthropology.
In 1833 the reports of traders from North of the Orange River led to an 18-month-long expedition by Andrew Smith to Basutoland, Kuruman, the headquarters of Mzilikazi (the chief of the Ndebele) and as far north as the Magaliesberg. Amongst others he was accompanied by Charles Bell as the expedition artist. Smith returned with two of Mzilikazi’s advisors who forged an alliance with the Cape Colony on behalf of their chief. Smith’s “Report of the expedition for exploring Central Africa” was published in 1836. Except for two short reports that appeared after his return to Cape Town from the interior in 1836, no detailed account of his travels was ever published.
The Diary of Smith, kept during the “Expedition for Exploring Central Africa”, was discovered in the South African Museum in Cape Town in the late 1930’s and was edited by Percival R Kirby and published by the VRS in two volumes, Vol I-20 in 1939 and Vol I-21 in 1940.
Route taken by Andrew Smith reconstructed by Percival Kirby
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