Introduction to Bacon & the Art of Living
The story of bacon is set in the late 1800s and early 1900s when most of the important developments in bacon took place. The plotline takes place in the 2000s with each character referring to a real person and actual events. The theme is a kind of “steampunk” where modern mannerisms, speech, clothes and practices are superimposed on a historical setting. Modern people interact with old historical figures with all the historical and cultural bias that goes with this.
The Boers (Our Lives and Wars)
The Afrikaner Nation and Boers feature prominently in my story of bacon. The first and second Anglo-Boer war shaped our land and provided the motivation for setting up the bacon company. Here are photos from the time immediately before and after the second Anglo-Boer War (ABW). It allows the reader to visualise the context better. I dedicate this section to my friends who bring to life the Afrikaner, referred to as Boers, the Brits, and the black and coloured South Africans who fought in these wars and lived through these times.
I started collecting photos from the Anglo-Boer War. These photos serve to remind me and my descendants not only of what the Brit did to the Boer, but how the Afrikaner did the same thing to the black South African, of all tribes. Irrespective of faith or creed, it is true that the heart of man is more deceptive than all else and that all humanity has within its soul the propensity to perform unspeakable evil. The art of living is, like the skill of making bacon, something which does not come naturally to us. To embrace all that is good in life, to be tolerant, to give, to have the courage to build up and not destroy; to know that our time on earth is short and is best lived by compassion and caring for those around us is something we have to nurture in our children and in our own hearts, every day. It is easy to kill, tear down, belittle, destroy and look down on others. True greatness is far more difficult – to respect, honour, and value all life – this is hard work but is by far the most excellent way!
Most of these photos are also available on Google Photos in the following album for easy sharing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/NgBRUJwEapTMDv1A6
Americans in the ABW
Annexing the Orange River Colony
Australians in the ABW
Dirk Marais wrote,
“Australia and the ABW
The war between the British and the two Dutch South African republics – the Boer War – began on 11 October 1899 when the Boers declared war on the British. It lasted until 31 May 1902 when Lord Kitchener and General Botha signed a treaty, the Peace of Vereeniging. Australia, as part of the British Empire, offered troops from the six separate colonies and from 1901, the new Australian Commonwealth.
The first colonial contingents arrived in South Africa between November 1899 and March 1900; the second between December 1899 and February 1900; the third between April and May 1900 and the fourth between May and June 1900. The 5th NSW contingent departed between March and April 1901 and consisted of the 2nd and 3rd NSW Mounted Rifles and those troops destined to become the 3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen, plus reinforcements for the Field Ambulance NSWAMC and A Field Battery RAA.
After 1901 additional contingents of soldiers were sent to South Africa to form battalions with squadrons from each state. These battalions were first numbered as units of the Commonwealth Contingent. Later the entire force was designated as the Australian Commonwealth Horse.
It is estimated that about 16,000 Australians fought in the Boer War and there were about 600 casualties and deaths. Six Australian soldiers were decorated with a Victoria Cross. In our collection are some general records relating to the Boer War, such as regimental orders and photos of the NSW Bushmen’s Contingent.”
Black Refugees, soldiers and ordinary people
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1876-1932) Historical Papers Research Archive, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Sol Plaatje during his visit to England. The driver of the car is Henry Carsle, an Estate agent from Sussex, and next to him his wife Louise. Also in the car are their children Mary, the oldest of their daughters, Eleanor, Faith and Brock.
Martin Plaut writes about the role of ‘black Boers’, as they refer to black people fighting for the Boer nations, and says that the role of these ‘black Boers’ is captured in this British ditty:
‘Tommy, Tommy, watch your back
There are dusky wolves in cunning Piet’s pack
Sometimes nowhere to be seen
Sometimes up and shooting clean
They’re stealthy lads, stealthy and brave
In darkness they’re awake
Duck, Duck, that bullet isn’t fake.
Chris Pretorius posted a quote about Plaatjies: “In 1932, Solomon Tshekisho (Sol) Plaatje, intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator and writer, born at Doornfontein near Boshof, OFS in 1876, passed away in Soweto at the age of 56. He was (amongst others) court translator for the British during the Siege of Mafeking and diarized his experiences, which was published posthumously.”
Brandwater Basin (Where my great Grandfather surrendered to the British – ABW)
For a detailed treatment on events surrounding the Brandwater Basin, see The Life and Times of Jan W Kok.
Bermuda, Hawkins Island
Canadians fighting in the ABW on the side of Britain
Children, Concentration Camps and War
Crossing the River
Below, Boers Entering Van Rhyndsdorp, Photo supplied by Iain Hayter.
Genl. De la Rey
Gen. De Wet, Christiaan.
The newspaper article is from a 1950’s Sunday Times article. Who is the “Pieter” referred to in the article? There was a Pieter de Villiers Graaff who was known as the Cape Rebel (Kaapse Rebel). He was a cousin of Sir David de Villiers Graaff, who is featured prominently in my work on bacon. Pieter participated in 25 battles in the ABW against the English and on 24 March 1901 he was captured and sent to India as a POW where he remained for the duration of the war. I doubt if the Sunday Times article refers to him. He did, however, have a son, also named Pieter de Villiers Graaff. He was born on December 16, 1911 and passed away on July 11, 1988. He was 76.
Diggers during the Gold Rush
District Six (Afrikaans Distrik Ses) is a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town. Over 60,000 of its inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s by the apartheid regime.
Diyatalawa and Ragama, Ceylon (Diyatalawa is where my great grandfather was a POW – ABW)
Jason Patrick Hanslo supplied the photos and give the following description. “Kaffir Football team (Basutu XI), Cape Argus, 1899 (The Cape Argus, 10 August 1899, p. 7.) They played 49 games in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France in only a 4 month tour. They were captained by Joseph Twayi. They were the first South African football side to tour abroad and for most opposition the first black team they played against. Their team wore blue shorts and orange shirts with blue facings. In June 1899, the Manchester Times reported on the forthcoming tour and wrote ‘the team is said to be strong, the players being of splendid physique’. The Scottish Sport noted that they were reportedly ‘big, powerful men, with a “rare turn of speed” and “considerable individual skill”’ and went on to describe them as a ‘determined, fine-built body of men, who have only picked up the game in the last four or five years’. The tour was also reported in the Chicago Tribune and Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the United States and the Evening Post in New Zealand. And guess what the Cape Argus said? In 1899 in an article about the Kaffir football tour to the Cape Argus noted: “The whole affair is farcical as it is unsportsmanlike, and smacks very much of hippodrome. Western Province “socker” enthusiast can scarcely credit the fact that a gang of Kafirs should seriously be expected to give an exhibition worthy of the name, and the British football public will soon realise this fact.”
Germans fighting for the Boers in the ABW
Iain Hayter writes about the remounts at Port Elizabeth. “At the best of times, the unloading facilities with their archaic method of discharging their cargo onto surfboats bobbing next to the transport ship, far at sea, was inefficient. Now there was pandemonium with dozens of vessels of all shapes and sizes riding at anchor in the Bay, patiently waiting to discharge their cargoes. Priority was given as follows: troops, remounts, mules preceded by military hardware, medical equipment, mail and finally coal for the railways.
What became abundantly clear early on in the war that the mortality rate of the horses was excessive. Instead of addressing the root cause which was not attributable to battlefield casualties but rather due to death at sea arising from starvation and illness and on land due to overwork or ill-treatment, the British scoured the world for horses.
Port Elizabeth was designated as the staging post for remounts. From November 1899, these remounts started arriving from as far afield as Canada, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. This initial trickle of horses, rapidly became a torrent. The rigours of the long slow sea journey claimed many horses. Then in Algoa Bay, they were hoisted from the ship into unstable buckling lighters at sea and then unloaded onto North Jetty to be stabled at the agricultural show ground at North End and at Kragga Kamma.
The scale of this remount operation can only be comprehended in terms of the number of remounts transferred from ships in the Bay to dry land at the foot of Jetty Street. According to Neil Orpen in his book on the history of the Prince Alfred’s Guards, this cumbersome laborious process was used no less than 123,000 times between November 1899 and June 1902. In addition to these remounts, the antiquated discharge method also had to cater for 46,000 troops, almost 800,000 tons of military stores as well as thousands of tons of hay. The harbour at Port Elizabeth must have been a hive of activity. One wonders whether this was a 24/7 operation as without the benefit of modern lighting, proper sources of lighting for night time work would have been problematic.
– Used by Boers in the ABW
– Technology in housing before the white settlers arrived
Indigenous People – When the Settlers Came
“Mapoch was the first real leader of the Ndzundza Ndebele who settled up near Dullstroom (as opposed to Mzilikazi’s followers who became the Matebele and the Amanala Ndebele north of Pretoria). Mapoch built the ‘caves’ or fortified settlements at what is now Roossenekal. When he died and his son was too young to succeed, Nyabela became regent. During 1892 – 1893 King Nyabela fought what is known as the Mapoch War against the Boers and was defeated and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Caves were under siege by the Boers for 8 months. When Nyabela eventually surrendered all the fit and able of the clan were divided amongst the farmers as indentured labourers and the old, infirm and very young left to die. He was let out of prison in 1899, then died 1902 years later. This is the tribe that later became the people who are known as the Ndebele, with their colourful home decorations and dress designs. They became a symbolic way for the people to identify themselves to each other and show solidarity.” Sarahrichards.co.za
Irish fighting for the Boers in the ABW
Timo Kok is the brother of my grandfather on my mom’s side, Eben Kok. He was held in as a POW in the Diyatalawa camp in Sri Lanka. I record the account of his capture and subsequent incarceration in The Castlemaine Bacon Company.
Meat of War
Ndongeni kaXhoki Zulu
Warren Loader replied to the post: Some accounts say that Ndongeni did not complete the epic trip to Grahamstown with Dick King and there has been some controversy on just how far he managed to get. Harry Lugg’s book contains the translation of a 1905 Zulu pamphlet in which Ndongeni tells his story. Ndongeni was apparently born in 1826 in Zululand but his father was killed by Dingane, leaving his mother and he seek refuge on Dick King’s farm at Isipingo, outside Durban.
He worked as a herd boy for Dick King and accompanied him on trips as the voorloper leading the team of oxen which drew Dick’s wagon. Dick and Ndongeni met Captain Smith’s column at the Umzimkulu river and showed them the road to Durban. He witnessed the Battle of Congella and saw one of the British officers killed. He was later called by Dick and told that he was going to accompany him back to the farm at Isipingo. After nightfall, Dick and Ndongeni went down to the bay, where they found horses and a small boat,and were rowed across the bay with the horses swimming along behind.
Ndongeni’s saddle was without stirrups but Dick said it would not matter as they were not going far. First stop was the kraal of Mnini on the Bluff where the two stopped to ask Mnini to obscure the tracks which they had made. They then moved southwards crossing the rivers they encountered close to their mouths and not at the drifts which the boers had barred. Dick swam the ‘Umlazi’ river clad only in his shirt and Ndongeni, who could not swim, rode across carrying Dick’s clothes on his head. He soon realised that they had bypassed Isipingo and Dick told him that they were going south to the Umzimkulu river. It was only when the pair reached that river was Ndongeni told that the real destination was Grahamstown.
After crossing the river, Ndongeni began to feel very tired because he had been riding without stirrups. Dick lent him his stirrups and he managed to get a new horse and a second pair of stirrups from a military camp [at the mouth of the Mgazi River???]. They rode on but it soon became clear Ndongeni was not able to continue; “..my legs from the hips felt as if they had been severed … powerless and unable to lift them.” Dick told him to go back to Mgazi and watch out on the fourth day thereafter, for a ship passing on the way to relieve the garrison at Durban. Ndongeni did see the ship pass dead on schedule and later walked back to Durban, leaving his horse behind at the camp.
Lugg mentions the rumour to the effect that Ndongeni had only accompanied Dick King as far as the Umkomaas River but he discounts it totally saying that nobody involved in the events, including Dick and his son, ever denied Ndongeni’s contribution to that stirring ride. He mentions that the Natal Government awarded Ndongeni a farm in recognition of his service and that they would not have done so unless the story, as given by him, was substantially true. Ndongeni only received his farm in 1898, which is about as shameful as you can get. But, as I discovered the other day when down at the Point, he has received some further recognition since then.
Sakhile SR Zulu replied to this with great appreciation for the information and added that “there are some rumours that the government of that time didn’t want to praise Ndongeni as an equal contributor and some information was hidden.” Amazing information and a great photo. What a privilege to have Sakhile SR Zulu making the contribution himself.
Scorched Earth (Verskroeide aarde)
Photos supplied by Michael Fortune.
New Zealand soldiers in the ABW fighting on the side of Britain.
New Zealand troopers from the Sixth Contingent move across open country in South Africa, 1901. This photograph may have been taken by Private William Raynes, a Waikato farmer serving with No. 16 Company.
Much of the conflict took place on open plains known in Afrikaans as veldt. Extreme temperatures made life tough for New Zealand troops. While trekking men would often be forced to endure severe daytime heat, while at night they would sleep out in the open with only an overcoat to keep the freezing cold at bay.
Soldiers on trek often began their day at 4 a.m. and broke camp at 5.30 a.m. before spending up to 12 hours on patrol. To preserve the strength of their mounts, the soldiers alternated between riding and leading their horses on foot. Using this method, they could cover 30 km or more in a day.
The New Zealanders who fought in the South African War were the first soldiers from this country to take part in an overseas conflict. Prompted by Premier Richard Seddon, the First Contingent was rapidly assembled and became the first colonial contingent to reach South Africa.
Between 1899 and 1902 New Zealand sent 10 contingents to South Africa. The men who enlisted came from a variety of backgrounds and from all over New Zealand. Many had prior experience in the Volunteer forces but others were ordinary citizens who were skilled riders and marksmen. The contingents were often made up of companies that had strong regional identities and many were supported by local fundraising.
In addition to the men of the contingent, two small groups of New Zealand women served in South Africa. Hospital-trained nurses helped combat the ever-present threat of disease in the unsanitary conditions of field hospitals in South Africa. New Zealand also sent a contingent of female teachers, dubbed the ‘Learned Eleventh’, to teach Boer refugee children in the schools set up in British-run concentration camps.
(c) Dirk Marais
Northern Cape ABW
The Royal Irish Regiment recruited from the counties of Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. It served in South Africa with General Hart’s Irish Brigade. Around 30,000 Irishmen saw service with the British Army in South Africa.
Iain Hayter writes, “There were a number of instances where Irish fought Irish in the ABW and many poems poems were written, the Irish being so lyrical………
We are leaving dear old Dublin
The gallant famous fifth;
We’re going to the Transvaal
Where the Boers we mean to shift.
We are the sons of Erin’s Isle –
The famous Fifth Battalion
Of the Dublin Fusiliers.
Let this conflict be a warning
To all Britannia’s foes;
Not to tease her ftirious lion
As on his way he goes.
For if they do, they’ll fmd they’re wrong
And won’t get volunteers
To stand in the face of a Regiment
Like the Dublin Fusiliers
On the mountain side the battle raged, there was no stop or stay;
Mackin captured Private Burke and Ensign Michael Shea,
Fitzgerald got Fitzpatrick, Brannigan found O ’Rourke,
Firmigan took a man named Fay – and a couple of lads from Cork.
Sudden they heard McManus shout, ‘Hands up or I’ll run you through’.
He thought it was a Yorkshire ‘Tyke’ – ’twas Corporal Donaghue!
McGany took O ’Leary, O ’Brien got McNamee,
That’s how the ’English fought the Dutch’ at the Battle of Dundee.
The sun was sinking slowly, the battle rolled along;
The man that Murphy ‘handed in’, was a cousin of Maud Gonne,
Then Flanagan dropped his rifle, shook hands with Bill McGuire,
For both had carried a piece of turf to light the schooh-oom fire …
Dicey brought a lad named Welsh; Dooley got McGurk;
Gilligan turned in Fahey’s boy – for his father he used to work.
They had marched to fight the English – but Irish were all they could see –
That’s how the ‘English fought the Dutch’ at the Battle of Dundee.
Russians in the ABW
Lt. Col. Maximov ( A Russian volunteer) with Gen. Kolbe. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.
Simons Town POW’s
President M. T. Steyn
Martinus (or Marthinus) Theunis Steyn (2 October 1857 – 28 November 1916) was a South African lawyer, politician, and statesman. He was the sixth and last president of the independent republic of the Orange Free State from 1896 to 1902.
St Helena, Broadbottom Camp, Deadwood Camp.
Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. Smuts subsequently lost the 1948 election to hard-line nationalists who institutionalised apartheid. He continued to work for reconciliation and emphasised the British Commonwealth’s positive role until his death in 1950.(24 May 1870 – 11 September 1950) was a South African statesman, military leader, and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as prime minister of the
In the Second Boer War, Smuts led a Boer commando for the Transvaal. During the First World War, he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa. He then commanded the British Army in East Africa.
From 1917 to 1919 he was also one of the members of the British Imperial War Cabinet, and he was instrumental in the founding of what became the Royal Air Force (RAF). He was appointed as a field marshal in the British Army in 1941. He was the only person to sign both of the peace treaties ending the First and Second World Wars. A statue to commemorate him was erected in London’s Parliament Square.
A word from The History Society:
Jan Christian Smuts was born on 24 May 1870.
A divisive figure during his lifetime and long after his death, Smuts’ accomplishments and alignments were multifaceted.
He first rose to fame by fighting against the British Empire as a general in the Boer resistance during the South African War (1899-1902). Thereafter he started a long career in South African politics, most notably by playing a leading role in the constitution of the Union of South Africa in 1910. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister on and off from this point almost up to his death in 1950.
An international statesman and military strategist, he also played a leading role in both world wars, attaining the rank of Field Marshal in the British Armed Forces. Thereafter he was also instrumental in drafting both the Atlantic Charter that in part inspired the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and later the Preamble to the United Nations Charter.
Toward the end of his life, Smuts was more popular in the international arena than he was in his home country. Afrikaners regarded him as being too cozy with English South Africans and the British Empire, which they regarded as an impediment to their own interests, and non-white South Africans, particularly Indians and blacks, had lost faith in him bringing an end to a system of racial segregation he had a hand in creating.
Had he lived longer and remained in power, South African history might have been different. Smuts rejected the Apartheid policy of the National Party, which came to power two years before his death and identified himself with the Fagan Report, which finally recognised blacks as a permanent feature in “white” South Africa.
Whatever one’s view of Smuts, there can be no denying that he is a figure deserving of study.
Below: Gen Smuts set the pace whilst leading the way during the royal visit of 1947. (own collection, Nico Moolman)
Below supplied by Melanie Von Steen