Mount Ayliff lies about 140 km north of Umtata and was probably named after the Rev John Ayliff who ran a missionary station nearby. However, two other men named Ayliff, William and James, who were government employees in the area during the 1870s, may also lay claim to this honour. Of these two James Ayliff is by far the best known, especially for his frankness and honesty concerning his part in the Battle of Gwadana in 1877. Apparently he confidently led the Mfengu into battle against the Gcaleka until his cannon burst and then, by his own admission: “I ran”. Today the town is a busy trading post and on a busy day looks like a scene from a “Wild West” movie, with horses tethered to hitching posts in front of every store and building.
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