Dick King is most well-known for his epic 10-day ride from Durban to Grahamstown in 1842 to obtain help for the British Garrison who were being besieged in their camp on the site where the Old Fort stands today.
On 25 May 1842, Dick King, born Richard Philip King, was met by his 16-year old servant Ndongeni with two horses and the two men set out into the wilderness crossing 120 rivers and dodging attacks from both Zulu and Boer forces alike. King covered 950 km riding around 125 km per day with only 2 days rest due to illness. What also proved unbelievable was that he managed all of this on only one horse, a faithful companion named Somerset.
Unfortunately King’s helper Ndongeni only managed half the way as he travelled without a saddle and the trail became too difficult. However, after King’s message was heard and he returned with relief parties just in time to save Port Natal, both King and Ndongeni received thanks by way of a portion of land each. King was also paid a handsome sum of fifteen pounds sterling.
The Dick King Statue is an equestrian monument erected to honour Dick King and his horse Somerset. The beautiful bronze monument was unveiled on 14 August 1915 and is situated on the north of Durban Bay, the Victoria Embankment, also known as the Esplanade, Durban’s main promenade that stretches all around the waterfront offering wonderful views of the harbour.
The Statue was brilliantly sculptured capturing the exhaustion Dick King must have felt considering the distance he travelled on horseback to Grahamstown. His epic journey thus became an important piece of Durban’s history.
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