- The actual discovery of gold in the Transvaal territory is credited to a German named Mauch, who travelled through that part of the country early in the century. He returned to Berlin with wonderful reports of the gold he had found, and attempted to enlist capital to work the mines. Whether his reports were not credited, or whether the Germans feared the natives, is not recorded, but Mauch is not heard of again in connection with the later history of the country. In 1854 a Dutchman named Jan Marais, who had a short time before returned from the Australian gold fields, prospected in the Transvaal, and found many evidences of gold. The Boers, fearing that their land would be overrun with gold-seekers, paid five hundred pounds to Marais, and sent him home after extracting a promise that he would not reveal his secret to any one.
From: Chapter 3. The Johannesburg Gold Fields. Oom Paul's People. Howard C Hillegas.
- It is a strange anomaly that the Boers, a pastoral people exclusively, should have settled in a section of the earth where Nature has two of her richest storehouses. Both the Kimberley diamond mines and the Witwatersrandt gold mines, each the richest deposit of its kind discovered thus far, were found where the Boers were accustomed to graze their herds and flocks. It would seem as if Nature had influenced the Boers to settle above her treasures, and protect them from the attacks of nations and men who are not satisfied with the products of the earth's surface, but must delve below.
From: Chapter 1. South Africa of the Present Time. Oom Paul's People. Howard C Hillegas. Published: 1900.
Small traces of gold had been found in the Transvaal before Burgers took over but, far from exploiting this discovery to relieve their state's near penury, the Transvaalers, believing that no good could come of it, did their best to hush it up.
From: The Anglo-Boer Wars by Micheal Barthorp. Page 12.
- The discovery and exploitation of mineral wealth (diamonds and gold) is undoubtedly the biggest factor in the creation of modern South Africa, but Trekboers had little role in that; in fact, they often wanted to impede that development.
Therefore contrary to what some uniformed folks might claim: the Boers were not fighting for the gold because they never even wanted it to be extracted in the first place - valuing their hard won independence much more & also realizing the severe consequences of mining it. Those concerns proved valid later as the discovery of gold was one of the main reasons for the British drive to war against the republics. The other compelling reason being that the British did not want to have powerful Boer Republics scuppering their Colonial agenda in the region.