All you need to know about Dick King Statue.
Dick King is best remembered for his epic 10-day journey to Grahamstown in 1842 to gather reinforcements for the British, from Durban (then known as Port Natal). Dick King was selected for the job because he knew the routes well (he had been a wagon driver for Captain Allen Gardiner) and could converse in a number of indigenous languages. At the time, Durban was in danger from the Boer army.
He rode his horse for about 125 kilometres per day, covering a distance of approximately 950 kilometres (on two of the days, he was too ill to ride). The sheer dedication it must have taken for him to complete this journey in less than ten hours with no established roadways and while at risk of attack from local tribesmen and wild animals along the way is nothing short of heroic. We struggle to complete this journey by car today in under two days.
Even more incredible is the fact that he accomplished all of this without ever switching horses. And the forces he gathered were successful in preserving Port Natal. He performed more brave acts besides only riding down to Grahamstown. He had been a member of a delegation sent four years earlier to alert his son and others living in Voortrekker camps 200 km inland of Zulu threats. This occurred shortly after Dingaan killed Piet Retief and his delegation.
When Port Natal (Durban) received word of the attack from American missionaries nearby, Dick King and a group of Africans set out on foot. He walked all day and all night long in an effort to find his son, but he never made it to the camps in time.
He also participated in the 1838 Biggar expedition, which resulted from the necessity to create a distraction for the Boers who were being attacked by Dingane and his men. Dick King, 30 settlers, and 1500 Zulus who had followed Dick King into Dingane’s kraal under the direction of Robert Biggar.
However, things got out of hand, and just a few men—among them Dick King—and 500 Zulus made it back to Port Natal while being followed by the latter. Then, for nine days, the residents of Port Natal were compelled to seek safety on a ship in the harbour. Only Dick King and a few others went back to live in Port Natal after the Zulus fled. Some people went back to the Cape.
Given the enormous distance Dick King had to go on his steed to reach Grahamstown, the statue on Victoria Embankment (Margaret Mncadi) on the north shore of the harbour masterfully depicts his weariness.