Day of the Covenant
In November 1838 Andries Pretorius planned an expedition against Zulu warlord Dingane. The Boers numbered 464 against the 10,000-strong Zulu warriors. Pretorius concentrated on developing obedience and discipline among his demoralized troops. On December 9, 1838, the deeply religious Boers, led by Pretorius, made a covenant with God that if He would give them victory they would commemorate the event annually with a day of thanksgiving. The Boers repeated the covenant every evening until the day of the Blood River battle on December 16.
When the battle was over, 3,000 Zulu warriors lay dead. Only three Boers were injured, one of whom was Andries Pretorius. The 464 soldiers didn’t credit the miraculous victory to their military or technological power. They paid homage to God for His deliverance. As was promised, the Day of the Covenant was immediately instituted and was annually observed by all Afrikaners. A memorial building was constructed in Pretoria and dedicated to God—standing as a reminder to all Afrikaners of His direct intervention in the founding of South Africa.
This national day of thanksgiving was observed annually up until the handover of power to the anc in 1994. At this time Nelson Mandela changed the the Day of the Covenant to the “Day of Reconciliation.” It is now observed by anc/sacp followers as the day on which Umkhonto we Sizwe launched its campaign against the government of South Africa in 1961.
My brethren and fellow countrymen, at this moment we stand before the holy God of heaven and earth, to make a promise, if He will be with us and protect us and deliver the enemy into our hands so that we may triumph over him, that we shall observe the day and the date as an anniversary in each year and a day of thanksgiving like the Sabbath, in His honour; and that we shall enjoin our children that they must take part with us in this, for a remembrance even for our posterity; and if anyone sees a difficulty in this, let him return from this place. For the honour of His name shall be joyfully exalted, and to Him the fame and honour of the victory must be given.