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Roossenekal church by Catherine Reichardt  Travel Guide

Roossenekal is a small village about 95km north-west of Middelburg and 70km west of Lydenburg on the western slopes of the Steenkampsberg.

It was proclaimed in 1886 and was named after two Boer soldiers who died during the war against the Ndebele Chief Mapoch.


Stefanus Johannes Roos was a Field Cornet of the Potchefstroom Commando and Frederick Senekal was Commandant of the Rustenburg Commando.


A few rock paintings have been found on some farms on the higher Steenkampsberg but because of the harsh winter climate this area was not conducive to stoneage living conditions, as there were no natural caves or shelters.

The lower well watered sourveld grasslands, nearer to where the town of Roossenekal now stands, were much more suitable and attractive to late Stone Age pastoralists. It is thought that the first of these people were the Ndzundza Ndebele around about the 1500's.

The Ndzundza Ndebele maintained a delicate balance of independance by clever political maneuvering and footwork and paying tribute to the numerically superior neighbours the Swazis and Pedis.



The Voortrekkers arrived in the Roossenekal area in the late 1830's and early 1840's but because they were numerically few in number and far from the main Boer or Voortrekker settlements, the Ndundze Ndebele who also had access to firearms managed to maintain a fragile independance.



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