Chapter 19: The Boers (Our Lives and Wars)

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 timeline is such that I returned to South Africa just before the outbreak of the war. So, inserting the Boer War into this work makes perfect sense.

The second role of inserting it is that it is a perfect example of the power of the mental world where we serve images we created and exist only in the mind such as nationalism. It is central to the “art of living” considerations and insights that came to me through the discipline of meat curing.

The Boer War chapters are:

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

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American volunteers, welcomed by President Kruger. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

Annexing the Orange River Colony

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Annexing the Orange River Colony May 1900

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Supplied by the Cape Town Historical Society.

Australians in the ABW

Dirk Marais wrote,

“Australia and the ABW
1899-1902

NSW Bushmen

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.

Contingents

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.

Casualties

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.”

Australians ABW

Captioned breakfast on the Veld; looks like Aussies but has the WO got a lemon Squeezer? Photo and comments by Iain Hayter.

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Australian soldiers in the Anglo-Boer war, c. 1901. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais

Australian light horse Artillery ABW 1899-1902. Photo and caption by Dirk Marais.

Concentration Camps – A balanced perspective

Sincere thanks to Colin Beazley, a friend, a tireless researcher and someone who is interested in the truth.

Army Headquarters, Pretoria, December 6, 1901

Sir, In forwarding the enclosed correspondence with regard to the refugee camps, I have the honour to submit the following brief statement of the actual facts, which are, I need hardly say, widely at variance with those set forth by Mr S. W. Burger.’

2. Numerous complaints were made to me in the early part of this year by surrendered burghers, who stated that after they had laid down their arms their families were ill-treated and their stock and property confiscated by order of the Commandants-General of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. These acts appear to have been taken in consequence of the circular dated Roos, Senekal, 6th November 1900, in which the Commandant-General says: ‘ ‘ Do everything in your power to prevent the burghers laying down their arms. I will be compelled, if they do not listen to this, to confiscate everything movable or immovable, and also to burn their houses.”

3.1 took occasion at my interview with Commandant-General Louis Botha to bring this matter before him, and I told him that if he continued such acts I should be forced to bring in all women and children and as much property as possible to protect them from the acts of his burghers. I further inquired if he would agree to spare the farms and families of neutral or surrendered burghers, in which case I expressed my willingness to leave undisturbed the farms and families of burghers who were on commando, provided they did not actively assist their relatives. The Commandant General emphatically refused even to consider any such arrangement. He said, ” I am entitled by law to force every man to join, and if they do not do so, to confiscate their property and leave their families on the veldt.” I asked him what course I could pursue to protect surrendered burghers and their families, and he then said, “The only thing you can do is to send them out of the country, as if I catch them they must suffer.”

After this, there was nothing more to be said, and as military operations do not permit of the protection of individuals, I had practically no choice but to continue my system of sweeping inhabitants of certain areas into the protection of our lines. My decision was conveyed to the Commandant-General in my official letter dated Pretoria, 16th April 1901, from which the following is an extract: ‘As I informed your Honour at Middelburg, owing to the irregular manner in which you have conducted and continue to conduct hostilities, by forcing unwilling and peaceful inhabitants to join your commandos, a proceeding totally unauthorized by the recognised customs of war, I have no other course open to me, and am forced to take the very unpleasant and repugnant step of bringing in the women and children.’

I have the greatest sympathy for the sufferings of these poor people, which I have done my best to alleviate, and it is a matter of surprise to me and to the whole civilized world, that your Honour considers yourself justified in still causing so much suffer- ing to the people of the Transvaal by carrying on a hopeless and useless struggle.’ From the foregoing it will, I believe, be perfectly clear that the responsibility for the action complained of by Mr. Burger in his letter of the 21st November 1901, rests rather with the Commandants-General of the Transvaal and Orange Free State than with the Commander-in-Chief of the forces in South Africa.’

4. It is not the case that every area has been cleared of the families of burghers, although this might be inferred from the despatch under discussion. On the contrary, very large numbers of women and children are still out, either in Boer camps or on their farms, and my Column Commanders have orders to leave them alone unless it is clear that they must starve if they are left out upon the veldt.

5. In addition to the families of surrendered burghers who either came in of their own accord or were brought in solely to save them from the reprisals of the enemy, there are three other classes represented in our refugee camps :

(a) Families who were reported to be engaged in a regular system of passing information to the enemy.(b) Families from farms which were constantly used by the enemy as places from which to snipe at our troops.’

(c) Families from farms which were used as commissariat depots by the enemy.’ (A) and (b) speak for themselves. Mr. Burger seems to consider that c) is in conflict with the statement that such families would have succumbed to hunger if not removed. If, however, a Boer commissariat depot is found with perhaps regular messing arrangements for thirty men, and thousands of pounds of flour and mealies, of course these supplies have to be withdrawn, leaving only a margin of a few weeks’ food for the resident inmates of the farm. At the close of those few weeks, the family runs danger of starvation and has to be brought in, so that the want of logic complained of is merely an attempt on the part of Mr. Burger to make a clever point upon paper .’

6. The majority of the women and children in the refugee camps are those of surrendered burghers; but neither they, nor the wives of prisoners of war, nor of men on commando, make any serious complaint, although they are constantly being invited by commissions, inspectors, etc., to say something, however little it may be, against the arrangements made for their comfort, recreation, and instruction.’

7. Mr. Burger is anxious that a Boer commission should be permitted to visit the women’s camps and render a report upon them. Indeed, this is the one practical suggestion contained in his letter. It is strange, to say the least of it, that no mention is made by Mr. Burger of the fact that I have already told the Commandant-General I would permit a representative appointed by him to visit the refugee camps in order that an independent report might be furnished upon the subject. Nor is there any reference to the inspection of these camps which was actually carried out by Captain Malan. It will be remembered that I immediately acceded to General B. Viljoen’s request that he might depute an officer for this purpose. He selected Captain Malan, who went around asking if there were any complaints, and who afterwards expressed his entire satisfaction with the arrangements which had been made on behalf of the Boer women and children. I take this opportunity of stating that I would make no objection to Commandant-General Botha himself, accompanied if he likes by General Delarey and Mr. Steyn, visiting these camps, provided they undertake to speak no politics to the inmates, who, as a rule, appreciate the general situation much better than their husbands or brothers on commando.’

8. Finally, I indignantly and entirely deny the accusations of rough and cruel treatment to women and children who were being brought in from their farms to the camps. Hardships may have been sometimes inseparable from the process, but the Boer women in our hands themselves bear the most eloquent testimony to the kindness and consideration shown to them by our soldiers on all such occasions.

5. In addition to the families of surrendered burghers who either came in of their own accord or were brought in solely to save them from the reprisals of the enemy, there are three other classes represented in our refugee camps:

(a) Families who were reported to be engaged in a regular system of passing information to the enemy

(b) Families from farms which were constantly used by the enemy as places from which to snipe at our troops.’

(c) Families from farms which were used as commissariat depots by the enemy.’ (A) and (b) speak for themselves. Mr. Burger seems to consider that c) is in conflict with the statement that such families would have succumbed to hunger if not removed. If, however, a Boer commissariat depot is found with perhaps regular messing arrangements for thirty men, and thousands of pounds of flour and mealies, of course, these supplies have to be withdrawn, leaving only a margin of a few weeks’ food for the resident inmates of the farm. At the close of those few weeks, the family runs danger of starvation and has to be brought in, so that the want of logic complained of is merely an attempt on the part of Mr. Burger to make a clever point upon paper .’

6. The majority of the women and children in the refugee camps are those of surrendered burghers; but neither they, nor the wives of prisoners of war, nor of men on commando, make any serious complaint, although they are constantly being invited by commissions, inspectors, etc., to say something, however little it may be, against the arrangements made for their comfort, recreation, and instruction.’

7. Mr. Burger is anxious that a Boer commission should be permitted to visit the women’s camps and render a report upon them. Indeed, this is the one practical suggestion contained in his letter. It is strange, to say the least of it, that no mention is made by Mr. Burger of the fact that I have already told the Commandant-General I would permit a representative appointed by him to visit the refugee camps in order that an independent report might be furnished upon the subject. Nor is there any reference to the inspection of these camps which was actually carried out by Captain Malan. It will be remembered that I immediately acceded to General B. Viljoen’s request that he might depute an officer for this purpose. He selected Captain Malan, who went around asking if there were any complaints, and who afterwards expressed his entire satisfaction with the arrangements which had been made on behalf of the Boer women and children. I take this opportunity of stating that I would make no objection to Commandant-General Botha himself, accompanied if he likes by General Delarey and Mr. Steyn, visiting these camps, provided they undertake to speak no politics to the inmates, who, as a rule, appreciate the general situation much better than their husbands or brothers on commando.’

8. Finally, I indignantly and entirely deny the accusations of rough and cruel treatment to women and children who were being brought in from their farms to the camps. Hardships may have been sometimes inseparable from the process, but the Boer women in our hands themselves bear the most eloquent testimony to the kindness and consideration shown to them by our soldiers on all such occasions.9. I enclose a copy of letters which I have just despatched on this subject to Mr. Burger, Mr. Steyn, and to General De Wet, offering to return to them any women who may be willing to rejoin the Boer commandos in the field.’Of Lord Kitchener’s offer, no advantage (or rather disadvantage) was taken. General Botha’s policy in the matter, the policy of driving upon the British the responsibility of looking after the women and children, is confirmed by a letter from Assistant-General Tobias Smuts to the Commandant-General which fell into Lord Kitchener’s hands (Cd. 933).

In connection with the transport of women,’ he wrote, ‘ we took up the same standpoint as a principle, but still I got the order from you to send the women away against their wish; and when I asked you what to do if the English refused to take the women, your answer was that in that case, I had to load them off within the lines of the enemy.’From “The Rights and Wrongs of the Transvaal War” ET Cook (1900)

Colin also wrote, “In my recent post there were a number of people that questioned the reason for the large number of deaths in the camps. Here is an opinion formed by Napier Devitt, who was a chief magistrate. This was written in 1941 and a reaction to “wild statements” made by others. I’d urge the reader to remember who the writer was and where his sympathies lay. These are not my views, I find them interesting. From reading the short work, it appears that Devitt had visited some of the camps to form his opinions. This is from the conclusion of “The Concentration Camps in South Africa”

From all available evidence, it is clear that: 1. The wives and children of the burghers of the two Republics suffered great hardships. Many had to leave their homes, some of which were burned down. 2. The deaths in the camps were principally due to

(a) mismanagement in some camps;

(b) serious and unavoidable shortage of qualified doctors and nurses;

(c) shortage of meat, milk, and other necessaries in some parts during 1901 in particular;

(d) that women and children formed the bulk of the white non-belligerent population. Those residents in towns were not so affected as those living on their farms. The latter, taken suddenly from their simple, warm homes, and ways of life, and crowded into tents which were pitched in confined spaces, all under a system foreign to their former life, made them a ready prey to disease;

(e) the epidemic of measles which raged during certain months in 1901 was aggravated in its effects by its sequelae of pneumonic and bronchial troubles, caused by the cold winds, the canvas tents, and, in the earlier days to some extent by the prejudices against hospital treatment on the part of the Boer women, and also occasionally by the use of certain ‘domestic’ remedies;

(f) the psychological effect of the presence of the dreaded ‘mazes’ in these camps probably accentuated the severity of the attack;

(g) the military policy and strategy of the Boer commanders who forced the hands of the British military and compelled them to take charge of the women and children who were either following the commandos or who were on their farms, unprotected and liable to all manner of risk and dangers. The stated reason was the farm burning. This strategy left the British no choice. The columns collected the people; sent, or took them to stated places where there was either no provision at all for their housing and feeding or insufficient provision. In the words of Miss Hobhouse‘, They were between the Devil and the deep sea’.

3. The presence of enteric fever in some camps was due to conditions over which the camp authorities had little or no control. As the methods of prevention became better understood cases became less in number.

4. In course of time, and with the passing of the epidemic, the population became more accustomed to their surroundings. Supplies and rations improved; and the death rate dropped so much that in March 1902 the population of twelve camps being 44,626, the deaths for that month were 158, or about 3.5 per 1,000; or 42 per 1,000 per annum.

In Middelburg (Transvaal) the following month there were only two deaths; a rate of one in over 2,000 of the population, or the equivalent of 6 per 1,000 of the population per annum. In conclusion, on the facts available to me, I am of the opinion that the Primary Cause of the disaster was the military strategy of the Boer leaders. Neither side foresaw the result. That the chief Secondary Cause was the measles epidemic and its sequelae

Black Refugees, soldiers and ordinary people

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From the album of photographs of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library. Photo provided by Andries Pretorius.

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Sol Plaatjies

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Reference: http://historicalpapers-atom.wits.ac.za/sannc-delegation-to-england-1914; Deputation of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) to England in 1914, in protest of the Native Land Act of 1913. The members of the SANNC delegation to England as shown in the photograph were Thomas Mapikela, Doctor Walter Rubusana, Reverend John Dube, Saul Msane and Solomon Plaatje.

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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.

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Willem Snowball Prisoner of War. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Black man at war ABW. Photo by Martin Plaut.

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Black men at war ABW. Photo by Martin Plaut.

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Photo supplied by Chris Pretorius.

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.”

Medical inspection at a Black concentration camp administered by the British Native Refugee Department. Photo and description supplied by Hans de Kramer.

Scouts attached to the 14th Brigade (possibly the Lincolnshire Regiment) during operations in the Bethal, Ermelo, and Vlakfontein area during the Paardekop period. Photo and description supplied by Dennis Morton.

Bloemfontein

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Bloemfontein se ou markplein vanaf die dak van die Poskantoor. 1880’s. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

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Voor Bloemfontein teer strate gehad het. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

Photo from the collection of Nico Moolman. He writes: “Een van my voorkeur tonele uit ‘n jong Bloemfontein van die 1880’s”

Boer Warrior

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Hans Swart. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman. Sent to him by Piet Lombard from Heilbron.

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Bittereinders vas gestaan tot die laaste! Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Boer gesin “Sharpshooters”Oud en Jonk was deel van die oorlog ABO 1899-1902. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais‎.

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Danie Theron en Pres.Steyn in gesprek. ABO 1899-1902. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Boer warriors. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Anglo-Boere Oorlog helde bymekaar as senior Oudstryders gedurende die 1940’s. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

Two Boers. Names and date of photo unknown to me. Note: thank you to MC Heunis for pointing out the hat badges. They were burghers of the Orange Free State. Photo and description supplied by Leo Taylor.

British Soldiers

A wonderful photo from my meagre collection. Such awesome soldiers so far from home. Photo and description supplied by Lisa Huckle.

Louis Botha

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In ou Vryheid…1887.. Die latere generaal Louis Botha staan 3de van regs. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

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.

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Sentry at a blockhouse in the Brandwater Basin. Photo supplied by Jaun de Vries.

Surrender hill. Photo supplied by Hans de Kramer

Surrender bin the Brandswater Basin.

British POW’s

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British Prisoners of War at the Waterval Camp North of Pretoria. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

Bermuda, Hawkins Island

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Prisoners of war on Hawkins Island, Bermuda. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

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Prisoners of war on Hawkins Island, Bermuda. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

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Prisoners of war on Hawkins Island, Bermuda. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

Boer POW’s

Boer prisoners being marched between Simons Town and Froggy Pond. Image courtesy of Hilton Teper

Canadians fighting in the ABW on the side of Britain

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Canadian troops under fire; Field Hospital; Battle of Paardenberg Drift; 19 February 1900.

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Canadians climbing a kopje. Supplied by Tinus Myburgh.

Cape Town

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A very busy Cape Town harbour in 1900. The Anglo-Boer War is in full swing as men and supplies are brought ashore and transported to the various battles being fought in Northern Cape. Photo and comment supplied by Grant Findlater (Dr Lock).

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Kaapstad hawe…1870’s. Foto beskikbaar gestel deur Nico Moolman.

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‘n Ingekleurde Poskaart van Kaapstad uit die jare

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The Pier, Rogge Bay, Cape Town. Sundays were a favoured day for outings on the Pier at the end of Adderley Street. In this photo from the early 1900s, people gather on the beach to watch fishermen bring in their catch while a number of small fishing boats lie at anchor at the lee of the pier. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Photo supplied by Naeem Dadabhay‎.

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The Theatre drawing by Lady Anne Barnard ca 1802. Photo and description by Stephan Lategan.

Rondebsch

Washerwomen at the seasonal wetland on Rondebosch Common, on Campground Road
Photo by Hilton, T. on Flickr. When we lived in Rondebosch I used to run around the common every day for exercise

Sea Point 1856. One of the first open-air photos taken around Cape Town. The future daughter-in-law of a certain Dr James Cameron. Photo by Andre Strydom.

Photo supplied by Michael Fortune.

Train waiting to leave original Cape Town station – before 1900. Photo supplied by Harry Valentine.

Children, Concentration Camps and War

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Medical staff in the Bloemfontein Concentration Camp. Photo by Elria Wessels.

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Medical staff in the Bloemfontein Concentration Camp and one of the patients (her name was Lizzie van Zyl). Photo by Elria Wessels. Tony Van Der Helm writes that “she is holding a cloth doll under her right shoulder and evidently died within the hour after the photo was taken. Speaking under correction, I think the doll was given to her by Emily Hobhouse.”

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Medical staff in the Bloemfontein Concentration Camp and one of the patients (her name was Lizzie van Zyl). Photo by Elria Wessels. Tony Van Der Helm writes that “she is holding a cloth doll under her right shoulder and evidently died within the hour after the photo was taken. Speaking under correction, I think the doll was given to her by Emily Hobhouse.”

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Women on their way to a concentration camp. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Women on their way to a concentration camp. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

Crossing the River

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British troops watch while a train of transport wagons cross a drift during the Anglo-Boer War. 1899-1902. In the background, one can observe a railway bridge destroyed by the retreating Boer forces. Supplied by Dirk Marais.

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British artillery crossing a stream. Location unknown! From the album of photographs of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius.

British artillery crossing a stream. Location unknown! From the album of photographs of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius.

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British forces crossing a river! The exact location was not given. From the album of photographs of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius.

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“Ei Kona horse” ABW labourers crossing a stream on their way to work From the album of photos of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library.

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Royal Irish Rifles crossing the Vaal River. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

Modder River bridge 1900, supplied by Dirk Marais

Boer ambulance crossing a river. (Probably one of the European Volunteer Ambulance Corps that served with the Boer commandos).Photo: NicoMoolman

“n Aksie foto uit die Anglo-Boere Oorlog, Briek aandraai oor ‘n pontoonbrug. Oor die Tugela lyk dit. Nico Moolman

Colesberg ABW

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British Scouts Firing at a Boer Patrol Commando near Colesberg! Photo supplied by Dirk Marais

Concentration Camps

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Howick Concentration Camp and some women and children waiting for the water. Some children and women in front of their tents. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Howick Concentration Camp and some women and children waiting for the water. Some children and women in front of their tents. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Howick Concentration Camp and some women and children waiting for the water. Some children and women in front of their tents. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Howick Concentration Camp and some women and children waiting for the water. Some children and women in front of their tents. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels

Convoy

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Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

Below, Boers Entering Van Rhyndsdorp, Photo supplied by Iain Hayter.

Boers Entering Van Rhyndsdorp,1901 Under the command of Genl JBM Hertzog. Photo supplied by Iain Hayter.

Genl. De la Rey

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General de La Rey on his horse. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

Gen. De Wet, Christiaan.

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Pres. MT Steyn en Genl.De Wet met besoek aan Pres.Steyn se plaas Onze Rust 1909. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Die sout van die aarde. Tant Nelie en oom Christiaan. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

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Christiaan De Wet and boet Piet de Wet. (amongst others.) Here with Pres Steyn, Pre-ABW. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

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A rather sad end to a fighting man’s career. Gen De Wet on the backseat of a motor car after being captured during the rebellion 1914/15. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman

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What De Wet loved best during the ABW. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

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De Wet being escorted in Norvalspont Camp by cheerful ladies after Surrender briefing. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Gen De Wet oversees the stacking of captured British munitions at Roodewal before blasting it to smithereens. OHS. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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General De Wet’s bodyguard and staff. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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‘The Big 3’ Generals in the Netherlands – 22 August 1902 de Wet, de la Rey and Botha. Photo Credit – Nico Moolman

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Genl De Wet, addressing the bewildered at Norvalspont con camp on the peace conditions … post-Melrose House agreement. Later to be known as the Peace of Vereeniging. ABW Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Genl De Wet drumming up support for the Boer cause in Potchefstroom in August 1900, after the first farms were torched by the British. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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The family De Wet. During the ABW. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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De Wet riding through Kroonstad with Archie Coulson ( interpreter) to his right and other staff members. Archie’s brother fought on the British side. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Genl De Wet and his son Danie. …Danie was later killed in action at Mushroom Valley Winburg during the Rebellion of 1914. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Braving the cold, De Wet and French. Talking Peace. End of ABW. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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This amazing set of photos by Dirk Marais. Generaal De Wet en sy Kommando 1901 Potchefstroom.

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This amazing set of photos by Dirk Marais. Generaal De Wet en sy Kommando 1901 Potchefstroom.

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.

(Reference: Sir David Pieter de Villiers-Graaff, https://www.geni.com/people/Pieter-Graaff/6000000013388531529# and https://www.geni.com/people/Pieter-Hendrik-de-Villiers-Graaff/6000000007158098655)

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This amazing set of photos by Dirk Marais. Generaal De Wet en sy Kommando 1901 Potchefstroom.

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Funeral of Mrs CR de Wet at Dewetsdorp in May 1934. A forgotten widow. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Funeral of Mrs CR de Wet at Dewetsdorp in May 1934. A forgotten widow. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

Dutch Volunteers

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The Dutch volunteers having a bite to eat. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

Diggers during the Gold Rush

Lydenburg /Pilgrimsrest area during early gold rush about 1873. Supplied by Peter Boright‎.

District Six

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.

District 6 1

Photo supplied by Naeem Dadabhay‎.

District 6 2

Photo supplied by Naeem Dadabhay‎.

District 6 3

Photo supplied by Conrad Ludski‎.

Diyatalawa and Ragama, Ceylon (Diyatalawa is where my great grandfather was a POW – ABW)

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Rugby field, Prisoner of War Camp, Diyatalawa, Ceylon. Photo by Elria Wessels‎.

 

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POW Carting firewood. Prisoner of War Camp, Diyatalawa, Ceylon. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais

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Main Gate Diyatalawa POW Camp Ceylon and the camp and some of the POWs held there. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Diyatalawa POW Camp Ceylon. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Diyatalawa POW Camp Ceylon, Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Diyatalawa POW Camp Ceylon, Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Diyatalawa POW Camp Ceylon, Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Kinders as so Jonk as Krygsgevangenes geneem hoe hartseer! Diyatalawa Camp, Ceylon. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Prisoner of War, POW Camp, Ragama, Ceylon. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Prisoner of War, POW Camp, Ragama, Ceylon. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

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Prisoner of War, POW Camp, Ragama, Ceylon. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels.

Dorsland Trek

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Daar was die Groot Trek in Suid Afrika gewees , maar dan die Dorsland – Angola trekkers. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

Duitswes

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‘Die osse stap aan deur die stoww, geduldig, gedienstig, gedwee.” Duitswes…1915. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

Eastern Cape

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Boer trenches at Hlangweni. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels‎.

East London

Photo by Michael Fortune.

Elandsberg

Little Hell, Elandsberg. On the road to Barberton. Circa. 1890 (Albumen photo). Supplied by Michael Fortune

Farm Life

Farm Life

Op “Viljoenshoek ” se plaaswerf naby Lindley 1920’s. Foto supplied by Nico Moolman.

Football Team

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 “soccer” 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.”

Free State

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Nagmaal te Heilbron. 1890’s. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

Germans fighting for the Boers in the ABW

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Housing

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‘n Ou kantstraat Boere-dorpshuis in die platteland, 1890’s. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

Afrikaner Huis

Old Afrikaner house. Many did not have it easy. Photo by Nico Moolman.

Horses

Feeding Horses

Feeding Horses in Riebeeck Square Photo: Arthur Elliott (1870-1938)

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‘n Ou negatief se kiekie. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

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 was 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 showground 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 nighttime work would have been problematic.

Hermanus

Photo and description by Robin Lee. Cattle on Grotto Beach, messing around where the Blue Flag Beach will later, 1910

Indigenous Houses

– Used by Boers in the ABW

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Correspondents scrutinizing a hut in the Boer Laager at Klipdrift. Photo supplied by Elria Wessels

– Technology in housing before the white settlers arrived

Supplied by Mark Finnigan

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

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Johannesburg

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Johannesburg Market Square. 1895. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais

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Johannesburg Market Square, photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Transvaal Gold Mine. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Joubert Park, a pleasure resort in Johannesburg. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Post office in Jeppe Street, Johannesburg. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

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De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The main street leading to the cemetery and the township of Vrededorp, where a large number of Dutch reside. Photo and description supplied by Dirk Marais.

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View of Johannesburg. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais.

Kimberley

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Mens kan skaars glo elke delwer het sy eie kleim gedelf te Kimberley 1876. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

Kimberley

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The Khoi

Photo placed by Jason Patrick Hanslo.

Jason Patrick Hanslo writes, “

David was born near the Gamtoos River in the Eastern Cape in circa 1773. He was a Khoi chief who fought against Dutch and British colonial rule between 1799 and 1819. He is the only person to have successfully escaped from Robben Island on two occasions. He resisted colonial rule as indigenous people were dispossessed of their land and forced to work on farms. He also opposed the conscription of the Khoi into militias that were created to defend the colony and to attack San and amaXhosa.

In 1809, David was arrested, charged and sent to Robben Island. He was among the first political prisoners on the island. By December 1809, David and a few others were the first to successfully escape from the island. David made it out of the colony and was given refuge amongst the amaXhosa. He was captured during the fifth Xhosa War and put to hard labour on Robben Island. On 9 August 1820, he escaped from Robben Island again. The getaway boat capsized at Blouberg. Makana, another resistance hero, drowned in this event.

On 16 December 1820, David was caught and sent to Robben Island. He was chained to a wall until he could be transported to Australia. He was requested to come to Australia and they lied to him, they told him that his wife and children were waiting for him there. He arrived in Sydney on 22 April 1823. On 22 February 1830, David Stuurman died and was buried. The cemetery where he was buried was later redeveloped for a Sydney Central railway station. His remains have not been located. On 13 June 2017, a traditional ceremony was conducted in Sydney to repatriate the spirit of David Stuurman. A second spiritual repatriation was conducted at the Sarah Baartman Heritage Centre in Hanley to put him to rest. Port Elizabeth International airport has been renamed in his honour.”

Kruger, President

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Pres Kruger, enkele weke voor die uitbreek van die Anglo-Boere Oorlog.. Foto verskaf deur Nico Moolman.

The Arrival in Cape Town, of the Mortal Remains of President Paul Kruger. Supplied by Dirk Marais.

Klipdrift ABW

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A Hut at the Boer Laager – Klip Drift ABO. Photo supplied by Dirk Marais

Timo Kok

Timo Kok is the brother of my grandfather on my mom’s side, Eben Kok. He was held 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.

The Lawrence Green Collection

Baobab Tree (Lawrence G. Green) supplied by Michael Fortune

Servicing the Roman Rock Lighthouse (Lawrence G. Green) supplied by Michael Fortune.

Port Nolloth Lighthouse (Lawrence G. Green) supplied by Michael Fortune.

Cape Town (Lawrence G. Green) supplied by Michael Fortune.

Simon’s Town (Lawrence G. Green) supplied by Michael Fortune.

Meat of War

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An English Breakfast…ABW style… — with Cuan Elgin. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Veldt breakfast in a British Army camp. ABW — with Rita Malan. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Gen. Elliott’s men have a go at drying Biltong. ABW. Photo supplied by Nico Moolman.

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Photo supplied by Jennifer Bosch who wrote, “On the subject of meat I came across an interesting photo a ‘vleis kas’ (meat box) Photo label: Spouse of H Voorewind, a teacher from the Netherlands stationed at Lydenburg, stands next to the meat box. The left side of the photo is unclear because the negative was not left to dry properly: Eggenote van H. Voordewind, Nederlandse onderwyser te Lydenburg, by die vleiskas. Die linkerkant van die foto is onduidelik omdat die negatief nie goed droog geword het nie.

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Photo supplied by Nico Moolman. He writes, “Boer POW’s having a Braai-picnic. Note the knives to cut the meat St Helena ABW”

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Photo supplied by Elria Wessels. She writes, “Some of the POWs on Burts Island weighting and cutting up the meat that was part of their rations.”

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Photo by Elria Wessels. She writes, “Some members of a Boer Commando near Colesberg. They have some biltong hanging above their heads.”

Ndongeni kaXhoki Zulu

Supplied by Sakhile SR Zulu who wrote: This is Ndongeni kaXhoki Zulu my great grandfather who saved British colony from Boer with Dick King.

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 seeks 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. The 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 the 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)

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Photo caption “Burning a farm.” Could be in the Ermelo area. I’m not sure. From the album of photographs of the 14th Brigade (Lincoln Regiment) Field Hospital in the Boer War in the Welcome Library. Photo supplied by Andries Pretorius.

Stellenbosch

Supplied by Nico Moolman.

Table Mountain

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Platteklip Gorge, Table Mountain, c. 1890. Photo supplied by Douwe van der Galiën.

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Cableway, Cape Town. Photo supplied by Michael Fortune.

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View from Signal Hill showing Table Mountain, Kloof Nek, Lion’s Head and some of the homesteads in the upper Table Valley, 1895. Photo supplied by Douwe van der Galiën.

TM 4

Pragtige Foto deur Henk Sinderdinck van die Moederstad-Kaapstad. Uitsig vanaf Blouberg 1950.

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Moederstad-Kaapstad , Uitsig vanaf Tafelberg.  Deur Henk Sinderdinck.

Photos supplied by Michael Fortune.