The NATIONAL SUICIDE of The XHOSA
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"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
The “cattle killing” national suicide of the Xhosa in 1856 in Transkei, now the Eastern Cape of South Africa, was one of history's strangest socio-economic disasters. Within twelve months the population of Xhosaland plummeted by 80%, mostly through starvation. This bizarre episode was initiated by the niece of a witchdoctor. Through mass hysteria the Xhosa convinced themselves of the need to kill all their cattle, destroy all their food and sow no crops for the future. It was economic suicide and it led to mass starvation.