One day, a Xhosa girl called Nongqawuse met a man who told her that an undead community would rise if all the cattle of her village were not killed. Cattle were very important and loss of them would kill many. However, villagers believed her and sacrificed their cattle. The Xhosa believed a Golden Age would arrive after spirits were satisfied.
Killing of the cows was seen as passive resistance. The cows were believed to be contaminated by owners. The Xhosa people denied any help from colonial government, and believed miracles would happen if they continued They believed that this would give them the power to "drive the white man out of their lands."The Cattle were associated with witchcraft and sorcery because the Xhosa had been contracting lung sickness. Many died due to the cattles' deaths.
Xhosa Cattle Killing
There are many theories to why this happened, including one about the Xhosa mentioning "new people" being related to the Russians. The Xhosa were transported across their land into Cape and were only given food and relief if they were agreed to do labor for them. This act can be seen as a nationalist movement, although not exactly against the Europeans, because of destroying the resources required by the upper class and showing civil disobedience.