12 – Commander R.C. Dryer takes possession of the area surrounding Walvis Bay.
14 – Paul Kruger leads a second deputation to the United Kingdom to demand the freedom of the South African Republic.
17 – Nqwiliso, tribal chief of western Mpondoland and eldest son of the warrior Chief Ndamase, ceded sovereign rights of Umzimvubu River mouth to the Cape Colony
11 – The British present an ultimatum to the Zulu king Cetshwayo, triggering the Anglo-Zulu War.
The 9th Cape Frontier War ends.
The first telephones are set up in the Cape.
The telegraph service between Natal and Transvaal is opened.
The British suspend the elected Cape Government and assume direct control, after escalating disagreements on confederation and frontier policy.
The last confirmed Cape Lion dies.
14 March – Alexander du Toit, geologist. (d. 1948)
25 May – Natal – Umgeni to Avoca, 4 miles 21 chains (6.9 kilometres).
1 August – Cape Midland – Glenconnor to Mount Stewart, 48 miles 70 chains (78.7 kilometres).
15 August – Cape Eastern – Kei Road to Döhne, 20 miles 45 chains (33.1 kilometres).
15 August – Cape Eastern – East London to Landing Jetty, 1 mile 58 chains (2.8 kilometres).
4 September – Natal – Durban to Pinetown, 17 miles 15 chains (27.7 kilometres).
4 November – Cape Western – Kleinstraat to Grootfontein, 86 miles 49 chains (139.4 kilometres).
The Cape Government Railways places a second locomotive in service on construction work on the Kowie harbour project at Port Alfred, a 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) broad gauge 0-4-0 saddle-tank engine named Aid.
1878 in South Africa Wikipedia