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Archive for the ‘Boer War History’ Category

Boer Scouts in Natal

Father and son go to war – image: diggershistory.info

 How I love thee…to read these quotes – you can read similar quotes on my other link in this post.[The Boer War link on my blog]
Enjoy the music of the Hungarian Rhapsody

Update: A great entry to read:
http://politicalvelcraft.org/2012/04/05/rothschilds-british-concentration-camps-a-means-to-usurpdestroy-the-gold-standard-only-then-to-be-replaced-by-rothschilds-keynesian-economics-derivative-fiat-paper/
When the world loved the Boers…

 WHEN IN OCTOBER 1899 the British Empire went to war against the Boers or Afrikaners of the Transvaal (South African Republic) and the Orange Free State, it was widely believed that the conflict would be brief. It became, however, the largest war waged by Britain since the Napoleonic Wars, even including the Crimea, involving the strongest forces sent from English shores since Henry V’s army departed for Agincourt. It was the first of the modern media wars, waged for the hearts and minds of both metropolitan and global opinion, in which military officers and civilian politicians on all sides had to pay acute attention to the coverage provided by the press. Fought at a time when the telegraph and syndicated news agencies had begun to globalise information, it became the most publicised war waged outside Europe between the American Civil War and the First World War. Indeed, in the minds of contemporaries, the South African War shared certain similarities with the American conflict, not least the widespread perception that it involved universal issues and principles which extended far beyond the borders of southern Africa.

 

Imperialists in Britain and its colonies of settlement believed the very essence of British strength to be at stake. Thousands of volunteers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand flocked to the imperial colours in South Africa. Britain, however, was made to appear both militarily and physically degenerate by the three years and almost half-a-million men it took to defeat the Boers, whose forces never numbered more than 88,000. During the guerrilla phase of the war, between June 1900 and the Boer surrender in May 1902, the tactics of farm burning and concentration camps employed by the British added further charges of brutality and moral corruption before the bar of world opinion. The significance of the Transvaal goldfields and the political prominence of leading magnates, often caricatured as a bloated Cecil Rhodes, gave the war a whiff of the sordid, which opponents of the conflict were all too ready to exploit (even if the actual influence of capitalists in the outbreak of hostilities was and remains controversial). Meanwhile, the unexpected protraction of the struggle intensified calls for a complete reorganisation of British educational and industrial life and gave rise to that peculiar Edwardian imperialist soul-searching encapsulated under the catchphrase National Efficiency. The war polarised political opinion in Britain, where David Lloyd George, Emily Hobhouse and James Ramsay MacDonald were among its leading opponents. The war even affected the young Clement Attlee, then a schoolboy at Haileybury, who, along with the entire middle school, was beaten by his pro-Boer headmaster for taking part in a celebration of the relief of Ladysmith that he had banned. In Ireland, the war greatly deepened the alienation of unionists, whose imperialism was invigorated by the war from nationalists who were enthusiastically pro-Boer. In Canada, too, the conflict widened the gulf between French Canadian nationalists and their English-speaking countrymen and set the pattern of their future relationship. It intensified the imperialism of Australia where it appeared to herald the arrival of The Coming Man, that healthy Independent Australian Briton who represented an almost evolutionary improvement on his metropolitan ancestors, ensuring that the new federation was born with a conservative emblem of imperial sacrifice. Nevertheless, it also provided, in the form of `Breaker’ Morant, executed for shooting prisoners, yet another Australian anti-hero. In India, the unwillingness of the British to employ Indian troops in a `Sahib’s War’, together with imperial failure to ensure Indian rights, further alienated moderate nationalists, while Indian advocates of physical force, like their Irish counterparts, came to admire Boer armed resistance. More generally, at the dawn of the twentieth century the war drew on a widespread, almost millenarian sense of angst about the future, manifested in such events as the Dreyfus Affair, the Fashoda Crisis, the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the Chinese Boxer Uprising in 1900.In Europe and America, where there was enormous interest in the war, and in the United Kingdom itself, there emerged vociferous movements loosely regarded as pro-Boer. These varied greatly in outlook, however, from those who favoured an immediate end to the war and conciliation with the Boers, to those, often represented by the Irish nationalists and continental movements generally, which looked forward to a British defeat. There were also …

Source: Questia HERE. It will open in a new window.

The Guinness Book of Records lists the Anglo-Boer War as Britain’s most costly war outside of the two World Wars.

Camouflage was first used in battle by the Boers, who used camouflaged trenches and adapted battledress to blend into treeless landscapes.

The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was the first war of the 20th century and saw the introduction of trench warfare, the first large-scale use of concentration camps for non-combatants, and the most prolonged period of guerrilla warfare by a conquered nation’s military against a victorious army.

Young Boer soldier with the name of Conrad…

I’ve decided it was time for a new post on the Boer War as this link on my blog is now stuffed with too much info on the South African/British War. I will now add new info and links to this new entry as I lost myself amongst concentration camps and battles and thought to find myself again, this time on board with Churchill! Yes, Churchill even made me ordering this book. I like his way of playing with words and he had a humorous way of putting his hand on paper. He made me smile a few times and I’ve quoted some bits here…he even dreamt about South Africa as the country where he saw his great-grandchildren could grow up…er..South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world..no wonder he thought so too…even Ian in Hamburg thinks so too [see his comments on my About-page]. Churchill also made me smile where he writes about the soldiers and the casualties…and them thinking the Boers were defeated. Ha! England, together with Irish soldiers/Scots/ Welsh/Indian+Australian/NewZealand-soldiers+Canadian soldiers…and they fought this War over three years against an army the size of the population of Brighton, that makes you think! I also have with me another interestesting book…Battles of the Boer War – written by W B Pemberton...an English writer. A great book to read. This book is not written one-sided – as you will find most books written by English writers are, as they see it only from their perspective and colour it the way they want. One must also bear in mind, the Boers had no training in fighting wars, no orderly system was in place, whilst the British had the experience and the advantage of fighting battles was on their side! According to this  Gutenberg-link, about 15000 Boers were actively taking part in the War as soldiers. Enjoy bits from Churchill’s book..click on images to see a larger view. I must also add, this is the first book ever where I read the offensive word which we don’t use in our country – for years now – to refer to a non-white person. It was quite weird reading it – especially in this book. Where Churchill refers to the Karoo, I was really smiling…could picture him thinking what he was thinking. I’ve quoted it here too. On the above link you will find images, poetry and art about the Boer War and thousands of links to other historical sites/links linking to the War. On this link you can read about my great grandad and the role he played during the war and the peace process. His grandad was also on the most wanted-list of the British and there was a price tag of £300 on his head! [cool!] Read on the link more…
On this link you will find more history about the War on the site of Ladysmith-history, also eyewitness-accounts.[I’ve now received my book – see the cover in the next image – which I’ve ordered]
From the book:


The Boer War: Londton to Ladysmith Via Pretoria and Ian Hamilton’s March by Winston Churchill

Churchill’s adventures of the first five months of the War. Churchill was eager for news…At last news came through…Boers defeated, three battles, Penn Symonds killed…
Cape Town – 1 November 1899
We caught the Man Who Knew …setting him halfway up a ladder on the hurricane deck…the man told his story quickly, with an odd quiver of excitement in his voice… then for the first time we heard of Elandslaagte, of Glencoe, of Rietfontein…Tell us about Mafeking…someone else said…It’s a long list of casualties…the best officers in the world…Colonel Chisholme…Sherstone…Haldane…Barnes…and many more…
East London 5th November.


The train, which is built on the corridor system, runs smoothly over the rails, so smoothly, indeed, that I found no difficulty in writing. The sun is warm, the air keen and delicious. But the scenery would depress the most buoyant spirit. We climbed up the mountains during the night, and with the daylight we were in the middle of the Great Karroo, Wherefore was this miserable land of stone and scrub created? Huge mounds of crumbling rock, fashioned by the rains in the most curious and unexpected shapes, rise from the gloomy desert of the plain.
At Beaufort Wes grave news awaiting the Mail and we learnt about the capitulation of twelve hundred soldiers near Ladysmith.

Churchill dreams about South Africa…

Boer soldiers ready for War – click for a larger view

“The war declared by the Boers on 11 October 1899 gave the British, as Kipling said, no end of a lesson’. The public expected it to be over by Christmas. It proved to be the longest (two and three-quarters years), the costliest (over two hundred million pounds), the bloodiest (at least 22,000 British, 25,000 Boer and 12,000 African lives) and the most humiliating war Britain fought between 1815 and 1914.”  – Thomas Pakenham:  The Boer War

 

Image: Life – Women also took part in the war. In this post you will find the Gutenberg-link with photos from Women that played important roles during the war.

The young Winston Churchill

The news article about Churchill’s captivity – in the Telegraph…image: genealogyworld.net – click on the image for a larger view.

 

A lovely chess set! I would love to have this one…

A French Hero…


Image: Wikipedia – Villebois-Mareuil
My blogger-friend, Brandnetel,  blogged today about Villebois-Mareuil and she had us all googled for Private E Brooks in her previous entry –  as a secret mission! haha


From Wikipedia:[link at the bottom of this entry]

George Henri Anne-Marie Victor de Villebois-Mareuil (22 March 1847, Montaigu, Brittany, France – 6 April 1900, Boshof, Orange Free State, South Africa) was a Colonel in the French Infantry, and French Nationalist who fought and died on the side of the Boers during the Second Anglo-Boer War. He was the first of only two Boer foreign volunteers to be handed the grade of Major-General in the Boer Army. The second being his second in command Evgeni Maximov (1849-1904) after the death of Villebois-Mareuil. He took part in Franco-Prussian War – 1871 and drove back the Prussians from Blois.

George Henri Anne-Marie Victor de Villebois-Mareuil was born approximately 30 km South East of Nantes. He was a soldier and author. He started his military education at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr where he graduated as a Second Lieutenant in 1867. He loved sport and excelled in gymnastics. Shortly after his graduation he left for Cochinchina where he joined the Marine Infantry serving under his uncle Admiral de Cornulier who was Governor of the Colony. He was promoted to full Lieutenant in 1870.

He saw in the Anglo-Boer War the chance to avenge the French humiliation at Fashoda in the Sudan in 1898.
“But she (England) can be sure that this tricolour flag, grabbed from Fachoda and ripped to shreds in London, was brought to Pretoria by French Volunteers, and has taken its place next to those of the Southern Boer Republics to support their independence against the oppressors. She gave us a Hundred Years’ War, and for a hundred years she has robbed the farmers from the Cape. Since then she has violated every peace treaty. Her hatred being even fiercer against the Boer, for there is French blood flowing through their veins.” – F. Chinier.
He arrived in Lourenço Marques on the 22 November 1899. In December 1899 he was appointed to the rank of Major by General Joubert, and fought in the Battle of Colenso. Due to his leadership capabilities he was given the rank of Major-General and commander of all Foreign Volunteers on 17 March 1900.

The average age of his troops was thirty with the youngest being Private Boiserolle who was only 17. He had a lot of respect for the fighting ability of the Germans under his command despite the lack of unity between the different German troops and commanders. He did not have the same convictions towards the Dutch under his command due to their apparent lack of courage and eagerness for battle. They were often referred to by the Boers themselves as lowly drunkards. – B. Lugan.

About the Boers he said:

He summed his thoughts about the Boer as follows: “Noble and of good race for the most, they live on their farm like in the castles of old, free and isolated… These people are standing up in the face of the whole world defying the decline of our too advanced civilizations.” – La Liberté.

Read Here more about the hero – Villebois-Mareuil.

The Gravestone of Villebois-Mareuil. He was reintered at Magersfontein – Photo: Brandnetel

“When is a war not a war?” with “When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa,” referring to those same camps and the policies that created them.
Read more  here.

image: stanford university

This next book is a must read – [I said to myself]

Sarah Raal, deserves to have had a film made of her life. Born into a prosperous farm family in the Southern Free State outside Jagersfontein, with the outbreak of war her father and four brothers immediately enlisted leaving Sarah, her mother and two small children alone on the farm. On one occasion, when the latter were shopping in Jagersfontein, her mother was denounced for feeding passing Boers and, together with her children, placed in a concentration camp. This left Sarah alone on the farm with her farm workers. After seven months of this, her brothers suddenly appeared seeking sanctuary. Word of this got out, but they all got away before their arrest could be carried out. For a few months Sarah moved from farm to farm but inevitably her luck ran out and she was incarcerated at Springfontein. There she had a run-in with the Camp Commandant that resulted in her being placed in a punishment detail from which she escaped to rejoin her brothers. As the countryside was palpably unsafe for a woman alone, she was allowed to enlist with the commando under command of a Commandant Nieuwoudt. There she took part in a number of guerrilla engagements, coming under both rifle and shell fire several times and displaying considerable bravery during the course of these actions. On more than one occasion she was in actual physical combat with the enemy, narrowly escaping injury, death or capture. She was eventually captured in an ambush and placed in a camp until the end of the war. She later wrote a book entitled Met Die Boere In Die Veld, which was published in 1936 and re-published in English in 2000.

Source: http://rapidttp.co.za/milhist/8/08sepnl.html

September 19, 1899, Wednesday

LONDON, The special dispatches from South Africa confirm the report that the Boers are massing artillery in positions commanding Laing’s Nek. Small Boer detachments occupy positions above Buffalo River.
The members of the Afrikander Bund in Cape Town intend to convene the Bund in Congress to consider the situation.
A Bloemfontein paper reports the dismissal of several Englishman from the Bloemfontein Police Force because of their refusal to promise to serve on the Commando.

Mr. Chamberlain came to London from Birmingham yesterday afternoon and spent the evening at the Colonial Office. While there he received a dispatch from Lord Salisbury, who is at Hatfield House, and sent a special messenger to the Premier.
There has been lively interchange of dispatches between the Foreign, War, and Colonial Offices, but no summons has yet been issue for a Cabinet Counsel.

Long dispatches were sent last evening to the Viceroy of India, Lord Gurzon of Kedleston, and to the British High Commissioner in South Africa, Sir Alfred Milner.
General Lord Garnet Wolseley, Field Marshal and Commander in Chief, returned to London yesterday and immediately repaired to the War Office, where he remained busily employed the greater part of the day.

The Daily Chronicle points out this morning that “the Orange Free State would probably better serve the Transvaal by remaining neutral than by active assistance, because the easiest route for marching troops to Johannesburg and Pretoria lies between Orange River and Vaal River.”

The Cape Town correspondent of the paper says: “It is reported here that Conyngham Greene (British Diplomatic Agent at Pretoria) fears that an attempt will be made to dynamite the British Agency.”

The second edition of The Times yesterday contained a dispatch from Johannesburg, which says: “There is, I am informed, some early coup in contemplation. The quantities of compressed forage forwarded in the direction of Natal border indicate some move on the part of the troops in that quarter. The Government is buying horses freely today.”

Source here:Source

London Oct 21,1901 – a Dispatch from Brussels to the Daily Mail says:

“Mr Kruger has received a report from Mr. Schalk Burger that the greater part of Cape Colony is in open rebellion and that the Boers have armed 15,000 Afrikanders within the last three months.”
Source here:
Source
[Schalk Burger is my great grandad]
Images from this brutal war where many South Africans and animals died brutally…animals in the scorched earth policy by the British. Farms were destroyed and set on fire, houses burnt down and sheep butchered like at a butchery.

Rugby 1891 – “The best teams were undoubtedly the Western Provinces, played at Cape Town ; the Griqualand West (to whom the “Currie” Cup was given) at Kimberley” …source:
rugby-pioneers.blogs.com/rugby/2008/09/touring-to-sout.html

Boer Women – image: nzhistory.net.nz

Boer Soldiers -image:nzhistory.net.nz

Boer Women:Image:ictnetwork.co.uk
The Scandal of the Black Camps

A South African visitor to this site has raised the controversy about the imprisonment of Black South Africans in conditions much worse than those for Boer prisoners. Removed from farms or other areas, at least 14 000 Black people are believed to have died in these concentration camps–but for nearly a century the ordinary South African was completely unaware of their existence.

Unlike the Boer prison camps, the Black prisoners were mostly left to fend for themselves, and were not given any rations at all. They were expected to grow food or find work. In a few instances this actually improved their chances of survival because they were able to get out of the camps which were hellholes of infection and disease.
Source:http://users.westconnect.com.au/~ianmac5/exhibit8.html



Image: ToGoTo.co.za

Almost Forgotten Victims – The Anglo-Boer War Camps of Aliwal North

Southbound out of the Free State’s grassy plains, the Friendly N6 Route carries travellers across the great Senqu/Orange River into Aliwal North, gateway to the Eastern Cape.This quietly bustling provincial town was formally founded in 1850 by Sir Harry Smith, then governor of the Cape Colony, who named it in tribute to his 1846 victory over the Indian Sikhs at the Battle of Aliwal. “North” was added to differentiate it from Aliwal South, the old name for Mossel Bay. Fifty years later this hamlet would become the chosen site for two of the many horrific concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War. Aliwal North’s Northern Post and Border News reported in January 1901 that a native refugee camp had been established at the confluence of the Orange and Kraai rivers for blacks impoverished by the war. The term “refugee” was bolstered by the fact that, initially, blacks entered the camp voluntarily, and also willingly supplied a virtually endless source of manpower for the “labour-strapped” colonial government. Towards the end of January the camp contained just over 200 refugees. At that stage the Aliwal North town council advised the Rouxville Commandant that the council could no longer cope with the Free State refugees – since the camp was a military undertaking, the council would help but would not take responsibility. In February, the council exhorted the authorities to give urgent attention to the poor sanitary conditions in the camp.According to Rev. Kessler, an American researcher on concentration camps, in August 1900 a British Intelligence officer, HR Abercrombie, recommended that defeated Boers, their families and servants should be sent to concentration camps similar to those used by General Weyler in Cuba in 1896/1897. Lord Roberts, the Supreme Commander, did not approve. However, when Lord Kitchener assumed this position, he incorporated the recommendation into his “scorched-earth policy” to end the guerrilla war. He planned to make it impossible for Boer commandos to receive any assistance from their families or the land by burning all their homes, razing crops, slaughtering all the animals and driving all black servants, Boer women and children into concentration camps.Kitchener initiated his campaign in mid-March. Within one month the black inmates had increased to over 2000 and a separate camp was established for them approximately 5 km lower down along the Orange. By May, the arrival of white women and children from the Free State villages of Rouxville, Zastron and Smithfield swelled the white camp population to over 2500; by October, when others were brought from Bloemfontein, the camp reached its maximum of almost 5000.In 1986, a local farmer, Mr Abrie Oosthuizen, suffered a severe heart attack and was given a year to live. Releasing the farm to his son, he retired to Aliwal North where he underwent a heart bypass operation. During his recovery, he found time hung heavy on his hands and he became bored. Then, Abrie enthusiastically started researching the Anglo-Boer War. The result was the publication of his first book, Rebelle van die Stormberge, six years later in 1992. After completing a second book, he turned to the military blockhouses and forts along the Orange River. In all his research, there had always been a gap – the history of the black war refugees: it seemed as if they had simply disappeared off the face of the earth. Until he came across an interesting and illuminating article in a copy of the Northern Post of 1902. It stated that the municipality had planned to construct a turbine pump station but was divided over a suitable site. One group suggested building it below Aliwal North beside the Orange River. The other preferred a higher position beside the Kraai River, since they feared contamination from the graves along these rivers. Eventually the camp superintendent provided proof that the graves were so deep that there was no likelihood of pollution. This controversy indicated that camp graves existed not only in the bend of the Kraai River above the confluence but also along the Orange River right up to Greathead’s Mill, where the pump station stands today. Abrie obtained further proof of a second camp while reading the research of Dr Jan Ploeger, the government archivist, wherein he noted that the black camp at Aliwal North had been moved five miles west of the white camp.Abrie Oosthuizen then heard of a Mr Michael Magetse who helped him identify the place through the fireside stories he had heard from his grandfather, a camp survivor. Abrie found the first camp and the remains of many black graves beside the Kraai River, which were confirmed by the land surveyor of Aliwal North, Mr N van Deventer. After a futile attempt to find the second camp, Abrie located an old map indicating a “native cemetery” five miles west of the first. It was described as Crown Land, ceded to the mayor and town council of Aliwal North in 1912 “on condition that the land hereby granted shall be used as a place of interment for Natives”. The title deed subsequently obtained from the office of the surveyor-general in Cape Town provided irrefutable proof that the one morgen terrain situated in the current township of Dukathole was the oldest formal graveyard for black people. Mr van Deventer had no trouble finding the anchor stones with rusted wire attached to them, indicating the corners of the fence surrounding the “native cemetery”. It is believed to be the first cemetery of its kind in South Africa which could be accurately located.Although a careful record was kept of white deaths, Emily Hobhouse, in her book The Brunt of the War, admits that statistics of black mortalities were scanty. Calculations based on the known number of black mortalities in Free State camps from July to October 1901, indicate that there were at least 250 to 270 black South Africans who died in the Aliwal North camp during those four months alone, mostly from pneumonia, enteric fever and diarrhoea. Conditions in the overpopulated camps had quickly deteriorated, since the little town of Aliwal North with only 800 inhabitants did not have adequate infrastructure to support the sudden influx of camp inhabitants.Two separate and magnificent monuments commemorate Aliwal North’s white victims of war; on one hilltop lies the Garden of Remembrance for 134 British and Colonial soldiers, on the other hilltop, the Concentration Camp Memorial Garden for the 720 Boer women and children who succumbed to the appalling conditions in the camps.A monument has been erected on the picturesque site of the original “Native Cemetery”, along the bank of a river that on its 2000 km long journey brings life and sustenance to vast tracts of our country and many of our people, irrespective of colour or circumstances. The original cemetery is surrounded by thousands of more recent graves extending over an area of at least five morgen. The respect with which this piece of land has been treated for over a century makes it a fitting memorial to those almost forgotten victims.Read the complete story in the June/July issue of ToGOTo

Source: http://www.togoto.co.za/?PID=2&fu=ReadArticle&gid=38&Issue=4

Johanna Brandt, one of four children, was born in 1876. Her Dutch father and Afrikaner pioneer mother greatly influenced her worldview, which eventually made Johanna Brandt a household name. Following the Anglo-Boer War, Johanna emerged as a prolific author, focussing mainly on the Boer War. In later life, however, her eccentric character came to the fore as she explored aspects of natural healing, mysticism and feminism.

Johanna died in 1964.

I am anxious to get this book filled and out of the way … our friend the enemy will come and search our house for documents and then they will carry away this chronicle of my griefs and woes and – joys, lately. What agonies I would endure if this book were to fall into strange hands ! Johanna van Warmelo, 9 February 1902.

When Johanna wrote these words, she was 24 years old and had already experienced helpless anger at the horrors of a concentration camp, the anxiety of working undercover for the Boer Secret Service and the excitement of falling in love. Her diary, secret diary and love diary, combined in this publication, weaves her remarkable experiences during the war together with her everyday life as an ordinary young woman living in an extraordinary time.

The War Diary of Johanna Brandt is an accurate reproduction of Johanna’s three diaries, two of which, the secret diary and the love diary, was originally written using lemon juice. Through these diaries, and with extensive research by Jackie Grobler, we are offered a unique insight into the war that did not allow indecision or disloyalty.

Something about the author:

Jackie Grobler is senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria, Department of Historical and Heritage Studies. He holds a Doctor Philosophiae in History and is the author of three books, co-author of a further ten chapters in books; co-editor of one book; author of 31 biographies in biographical dictionaries and author of many academic journal articles.
He lives in Pretoria with his wife Elize.
Source: http://www.ais.up.ac.za/newsletter/libnewsmay1_08/index2.htm

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Schalk Willem Burger – image: Wikimedia [my great granddad]

To Dan [chess-player friend!], As I promised you earlier on my blog…more about my great grandfather…. When he signed the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging in 1902, he said, “Hier staan ons by die graf van die twee republieke.” – Translated in English: ‘Here we stand at the grave of the two republics.’

The “Acting President” of the Transvaal, was born at Lydenburg in the year in which the Sand River Convention was signed, 1852.  His grandfather, one of the original Voortrekkers, had the distinction of having the price of £300 set on his head by the British Government, in consequence of his share in a Natal rebellion.  His grandson was more of a politician than a soldier.

I Just loooooove this! My great granddad’s grandpa had a price tag on his head…hahaha..the most wanted by the British…[hehehe!]

Source – please clickand the link will open in a new window.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schalk_Willem_Burger
6th President of the South African Republic (Acting)
In office
1900 – 1902
Preceded by Paul Kruger, (1900)
Succeeded by British Empire (until Unionization in 31 May 1910)

Born 6 September 1852 (1852-09-06)
Lydenburg, Transvaal
Died 5 December 1918 (1918-12-06) (aged 66)
Goedgedacht, Krugerspos
Spouse(s) Alida C De Villiers
Religion Dutch Reformed Church

Schalk Willem Burger (6 September 1852 – 5 December 1918) was a South African military leader, lawyer, and statesman, and was the sixth and last President of the South African Republic from 1900 to 1902 (acting).
Military Service.
He served in a number of military conflicts such as the Sekhukhune Wars of 1876, and later during the First Boer War of 1881, he served as Acting Field Cornet.

He was elected as Commandant of the Lydenburg Commando in 1885. When the Second Boer War started, he served as Commandant-General in a number of military conflicts, including the Battle of Spion Kop and Battle of Modder River on 30 October 1899.

Political Career
As a politician, he was described as “enlightened and shrewd” and it was reported that he rivaled Paul Kruger in his influence over his countrymen.

After the Battle of Spion Kop, due to illness, he withdrew from the fighting and pursued his political career once more. He was elected to the Volksraad (House of Assembly) in 1887, later serving as Chairman.

He served as Vice President under President Paul Kruger and later succeeded Kruger as State President, after Kruger had left for Europe.[3]

During the “Krigsraad” (military council / tribunal) in May 1901, he advocated a cessation of hostilities, but his proposal was strongly opposed by President Marthinus Theunis Steyn of the Orange Free State. Burger remained president until the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902.

He died in 1918 at Goedgedacht, Krugerspos.

My great grandad – far right – with his brothers.

Photo: Burgerfamilie.com
 

OUPA WILHELM VAN DEN BERGH OP KOMMANDO
SAAM MET GENERAAL C.R. DE WET – COLENSO

Ds. Kestell wie ook op kommando was het die slag van Colenso ook meegemaak en skryf daaroor “Dit was ‘n verskriklike dag – ‘n dag wat niemand wat dit deurleef het ooit kan vergeet nie. Dit was onuithoudelik warm en ons – maar veral die arme gewondes – het onbeskryflik gely weens die dors. Om vyfuur die middag het enkele groot druppels teen die rotse gespat. Dit blits en dit donder. Dit raas teen die gebulder van die kanonne. Dit reën naderhand so hard dat die bloed van die gewondes afgewas word. Nou juis verdubbel die vyand sy pogings en veg nog harder as ooit in die dag. Maar hulle kan ons nie verdryf nie. Toe die reën so hard val op ons, kan ons ons dors les. Ons het dammetjies in ons reënjasse gemaak, die water daarin opgevang, en dit dan uitgesuig. Ook het waterstrome van die swaar reën deur die klippe geskiet en ons kon tot versadiging drink”.

Die groot geveg by Colenso, waar die burgers so ‘n skitterende oorwinning behaal het, het op 15 Desember 1899 plaasgevind. Oupa Wilhelm het self nie baie vertel oor hulle deelname nie, maar wat hy baie duidelik onthou en van vertel het was die gebeurtenis dat hulle op 16 Desember 1899 ‘n plegtige viering van Dingaansdag gehou het op die slagveld van Colenso. Die naam Dingaansdag was altyd in algemene gebruik, tot enkele jare gelede voordat die naam verander was na Geloftedag, en nou het dit geheel en al verdwyn en het geen naam meer nie.

Die dag is plegtig in ere gehou op die slagveld van Colenso vanwaar Doringkop sigbaar was. Die Voortrekkers het byna 62 jaar vroeër op 17 Februarie 1838 gevlug uit die Moordspruit ramp na Piet Petief se laer op Doringkop.

Generaal Schalk Burger het op ‘n kanonwa gestaan en die burgers roerend toegespreek. Aan die einde van die plegtigheid het hy die Voortrekker Gelofte herhaal:

 

    Hier staan ons voor die Heilige God van Hemel en Aarde om ‘n Gelofte aan Hom te doen, dat, as Hy ons sal beskerm en ons vyand in ons hand sal gee, ons die dag en datum elke jaar as ‘n dankdag soos ‘n Sabbat sal deurbring, en dat ons ‘n huis tot Sy eer sal oprig waar dit hom behaag, en dat ons ook aan ons kinders sal sê dat hulle met ons daarin moet deel tot nagedagtenis ook vir die opkomende geslagte. Want die eer van Sy naam sal verheerlik word deur die roem en die eer van die oorwinning aan Hom te gee.


On this image you can see  Melrose House…and on this link here:
Melrose House….you can visit  the Melrose House-site.
The Peace Treaty of Vereniging  was signed in Melrose House…my great grandad signed it as Acting President of the ZAR. (The Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek)…read on this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Republic more about the ZAR.

 Paul Kruger, the President of the time, was in Switzerland and he fell ill there too. There is also a Kruger Museum in Switserland. He died there, but was burried in South Africa in the Heroes Acre in Pretoria.

Read on this blog-post on my blog more about the Boer War

https://chessaleeinlondon.wordpress.com/2007/09/23/boer-war-art-poetry-and-history/

My great granddad – Schalk Willem Burger. He is buried in the family graveyard on the family  farm – “Goedgedacht”, Krugerspos, near Lydenburg/Pilgrims Rest. I was lucky to grow up on the family farm! Pilgrims Rest is the historical town near the Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Province, previously – Eastern Transvaal.

On this map: The farm “Goedgedacht”…Krugersposnear Lydenburg.

On this picture, you can clearly identify Paul Kruger third from the left. He was talking to some Americans, I think they wanted to join the South Africans fighting against the British. haha…I think they loved our country….for the gold …of course!

And on this picture: you can see some South African farmers…”Boers”…”Boer” is the Dutch word for “farmer”…also the word for the Dutch Settlers.

My view of the War…I think it was a horrible and ghastly act to put the women and children in concentration camps when the British knew they couldn’t defeat the South Africans [Boer]. Yes, and they had the Australians and the Canadians to fight alongside with them. The South Africans, not having any experience of wars before and a commando as big as the population as Brighton, a coastal city of England, bravely stood up and fought this war for more than two years! They only surrendered because of the suffering of the women and children in the camps. Women and children died on a daily basis due to hunger, lack of clean running water and sanitary conditions.  Like the gas chambers of Hitler -just in another version. Farms were burnt down to the ground, even the family farm house where I grew up. It shows how inhumane a nation can get due to greed. They knew they couldn’t defeat us and so they used this very inhumane method to win a battle. I myself see that as  cowardly. If you’re a loser, admit it..surrender and move on! But, they wanted the gold..that mattered to them- not humans and their lives! If wasn’t it for Emily Hobhouse to investigate –  and believe me, the English/British don’t like you talking about Emily Hobhouse  because that’s a soft spot.

During the Boer/British war, the South Africans showed how they could stand together as a nation…”Unity is strength!” 
This LINK HERE has got fantastic pictures from the Battlefields and the museum at Ladysmith….worth visiting!

See more links/backtracks to other entries on my blog – follow links in the comments boxes.

Read about the 2 Boer/British wars..

Wiki Boer war.
Read here on the Gutenberg-link more about the Boer War.
On
THIS LINK you can read about the concentration camps.
Link to the Australians who took part…

Australians who took part here.

and New Zealand in the War…!

New Zealand anotherinteresting link.
Follow THIS link to read about the war and the different battles.

The South AfricanWar Virtual library.

BBC Radio retrospective on the Anglo-Boer war, 1899-1902

By Brian Smith
29 September 1999

This October marks 100 years since the outbreak of the second South African War, better known as the Boer War. Over the next three years the centenary will be celebrated in South Africa with a variety of anniversaries and memorials. A number of books are planned for release and a spate of broadcasts will mark the occasion.

One such programme was aired on BBC Radio 4 during two weeks in mid-September. Entitled The Boer War, it was narrated by the historian Denis Judd, author of Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present, and sought to examine new perspectives on the war. The first part looked at the claim that it was merely a “white man’s war”, whilst the second considered the use of concentration camps by the British, and the claim that they had a deliberate policy of genocide toward the Boers.

The programme made use of aural archives and interviewed a number of leading historians. It also employed actors to speak the words of historical accounts of the day, and in one instance interviewed a 109 year-old woman who remembers the war as a nine-year-old girl. It made for an absorbing programme.

Part One opened with a visit to Mafeking, ancestral home of the Tswana-speaking Baralong people, and scene of the most famous siege of the Boer War. The Baralong feel affronted at the events of 100 years ago. They are considering suing the British government for compensation over the help they gave the British during the war, which was denied by Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, the commanding officer at Mafeking.

Professor Shula Marks, of the London School of Oriental & African Studies, believes that “Imperial historiography took for granted that it was a white man’s war, and simply didn’t see blacks as participants in the war, or indeed as active agents in history at all.” Since the end of apartheid in South Africa this is being reconsidered, and many, including white conservatives, can see the need for rewriting black people back into history.

The programme considered the discovery of gold in 1886 in the Transvaal, one of the republics controlled by the Afrikaners, as the key reason for the outbreak of war. For Britain, “the temptation to intervene was too great”. Britain then justified its wish to intercede by the apparent need to protect the Uitlanders (from the Dutch for ‘foreigners’—British and other Europeans who flooded into the Transvaal following the discovery of gold). This view of the causes of the war is a little simplistic.

It is true that gold was a factor. Indeed it was widely believed at the time, and for half a century later, that the mine owners had manipulated the British government into provoking the war. However, government papers released during the 1960s make it clear that the British government manipulated the mine owners as much as the reverse. The mines would have remained in private ownership and the gold would have been traded on the London bullion market whichever government controlled the Transvaal. It was not gold, therefore, which primarily motivated the British government to go to war.

The late nineteenth century was the time when the European powers were dividing Africa up amongst themselves, in what became known as “the scramble for Africa”. South Africa, with its location at the tip of the continent, is a strategic location, with all shipping trade to the east passing by. Britain’s control of the Cape colony and Natal gave it control of the whole southern coastline and these colonies were not under threat. In 1884, Germany had gained control of South West Africa (Namibia), immediately north-west of the Cape Colony. Portugal had controlled Mozambique (immediately to the north-east of Natal) for some time. Britain’s strategic interests lay, therefore, in a push northward up between the two.

Britain feared an independent Afrikaner state, especially one that was wealthy. This was not because it felt its current colonial possessions were under threat, but because its future possessions might be. In particular, Britain was anxious to make sure that such a state would not have access to the sea and thus the ability to operate completely outside of British influence. Britain had consequently annexed Zululand and Tongaland (in 1887 and 1895 respectively) stopping Boer advances toward the Indian Ocean and thereby isolating the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The military intervention into the Transvaal represented the logical conclusion to the previous 30 years’ policies of the British government, in which it had also annexed Basutoland and southern Bechuanaland and had made inroads into Rhodesia.

The isolation of the Transvaal was complete. Germany and the United States, who might have been seen as allies of the Afrikaners, actually supported Britain’s aims as they stood to gain from the opening up of the Transvaal. The US compared the Afrikaners to the slave owners of the pre-war southern States. Republican sympathisers from the US and Europe did support and aid the Afrikaners, but the world powers in general supported Britain and thought it natural that the greatest power in the world should go to war to support its strategic interests.

Professor Bernard Mbenga of the University of the North West in Mafeking sees three main reasons why the Boer war was thought of as a white man’s war. Firstly, both sides considered it distasteful, morally indecent and outrageous to use blacks in a war between whites. Secondly, the British were confident of an early victory. Lastly, both sides thought it dangerous to arm blacks on a large scale, as it might lead to a rebellion against white control later.

Finding themselves under unexpected pressure from the Boers, the British did, however, arm black Africans. Jan Smuts, a leading Afrikaner intellectual, wrote to a British newspaper declaring that it was horrendous for Britain to have armed blacks. It was, he argued, far worse than the use of concentration camps or the deaths of women and children, because it would hang over the future.

General Piet Cronje, in a letter to Colonel Baden-Powell, was of the same opinion: “It is understood that you have armed Bastards, Fingos and Baralongs against us—in this you have committed an enormous act of wickedness … reconsider the matter even if it cost you the loss of Mafeking … disarm your blacks and thereby act the part of a white man in a white man’s war.”

The British, with antiquated battle strategies, were totally unprepared for the war, in a terrain they did not understand and fighting an enemy they could not see. This incompetence led to the deaths of some 22,000 British soldiers—13,000 died from disease—and forced a reappraisal of the role of black Africans in the fighting. Somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 were armed and participated in the war, although Baden-Powell denied it. They took part in a variety of offensive military operations, including on Boer farms and going behind enemy lines to steal cattle, etc. Black involvement was widespread—many participating for their own reasons, not least the chance to settle old scores.

There was a strong belief amongst blacks that Britain represented a more liberal order, and that they would reward loyalty after the war. The renowned black diarist at the siege of Mafeking, Solomon T. Plaatje, who went on to become one of the founders of the African National Congress, believed that Britain represented a future that was fair and free. Britain betrayed this trust and went against their own pronouncements of 1901, in which they considered that it would be “shameful” to exclude blacks from the franchise. They compromised with the Afrikaners at the peace treaty of Vereeniging by excluding Africans from any political rights. This was later compounded in the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, which enshrined white supremacy in its constitution . The question of “native franchise” was to be left until there was “responsible government”. In the event, it took until the end of apartheid in 1994.

The second part of the programme described a meeting between Neville Chamberlain and Hermann Goering, in which Chamberlain complained about Germany’s use of concentration camps. Goering flourished an encyclopaedia reference, claiming that Britain had invented them. The programme examined whether the Nazi concentration camps and Britain’s were comparable.

Elria Wessels, curator of the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein, took Judd to the site of one of the camps. She described what the scene would have been like. Between 5,000 and 7,000 people were incarcerated at Bloemfontein, and it was only one of about 50 camps. Fully 27,000 women and children died in the camps, of which 81 percent were children. While Britain has tried to write this chapter out of history, the Afrikaners at the other extreme attempted to elevate it to folklore. Both routes led to a distorted history.

The British were unable to fight the Boer soldiers into submission. In 1900, General Sir Herbert Kitchener authorised a scorched-earth policy in response. Dr. Keith Surridge described how British soldiers scoured the countryside looking for farms to burn. He estimated that some 30,000 farm buildings were destroyed. Livestock was killed in huge numbers and often left to rot. This policy caused a vast refugee problem, with those who were left behind often requesting that the British take them away. The British agreed, walking them to the defensive laagers, which in time became concentration camps.

Not only had the British now to feed 250,000 to 400,000 soldiers, but also the civilian population of the war zone. Since they had wiped out most of the agriculture within the region, they had to import food. The task overwhelmed them. Professor Albert Grundlingh of the University of South Africa in Pretoria suggested that the herding of so many people into such small areas was comparable to rapid urbanisation of these farmer people. In the unhygienic conditions diseases spread quickly—thousands died of measles.

The programme explained that the war was not just a tragedy for the Boers. Just as many blacks were caught up in the fighting. Tens of thousands were displaced along with the families they worked for. This suffering has gone largely unrecognised. Grundlingh pointed out that more than 14,000 died in the black camps, in which conditions were even worse than for the Boers. He claimed that the memory of the black experience during the war largely receded within the black community, as the experiences of apartheid came to dominate. The Boer War became just one of many bad experiences. For the Afrikaners, however, the war remains a focal point.

Many Afrikaners thought at the time, and still think, that Britain implemented a policy of deliberate genocide in setting up the camps. Grundlingh argued cogently against this. He believed that this viewpoint was manufactured for political purposes and that the reasons why so many died in the camps were poor administration and a lack of medical care. He also pointed out that the British did not treat their own sick very well.

Other academics agreed. Dr. Donal Lowry of Oxford Brookes University made the point that the treatment of the Boers fed the grievances at the base of Afrikaner nationalism and paranoia. It led to a sense of their being aggrieved and besieged and fed into the perspective of affirmative action for poor whites that became popularly known as apartheid.

Grundlingh observed that the war represents an heroic period for the Afrikaners, with the British as the perpetrators of injustice. It was a period in which they held the moral high ground and for which they do not feel the need to apologise. The war is now being resurrected as a sacred period of history.

The programme ended with the family of Eugene Terre-Blanche (founder of the fascist South African AWB party) visiting the war memorial. He imagined the difference to the white population if 26,000 women and children had not been killed and reckoned on the white population now being at least 10-12 million, instead of 5.4 million, which he asserts could have changed the situation in the country. “In the new South Africa” he said “they will change the syllabuses and tell them about the Kaffir wars, but not about the wars that have been fought by white people”.

Both these programmes were valuable in drawing attention to the work of recent historians who have tried to break away from the old nationalist myths developed under the apartheid regime in South Africa. Their work shows that the British concentration camps were not like those of the Nazis, part of a deliberate and conscious programme of genocide, but were nevertheless one of the most brutal aspects of an imperialist war for strategic control of land and resources.

Emily Hobhouse, the humanitarian campaigner, was able to travel without threat to her personal safety or liberty to the British concentration camps and, on her return, to expose in the press the appalling conditions and horrendous loss of life, particularly among women and children. This would have been impossible in Nazi Germany. The comparison with fascism was a superficial and self-serving attempt to portray the Afrikaners as a down-trodden people, whose privileges under apartheid merely redressed previous injustices.

At the same time, the programmes unwittingly demonstrated that historians today are under pressure to present a version of South African history that is in line with new nationalist conceptions. In post-apartheid South Africa, the Baralong see the vindication of their part in the Anglo-Boer War as the means to win financial compensation that will benefit them in the struggle for investment. The role of black Africans in the war, whether fighting on behalf of British imperialism or their suffering in the camps, has a place in the history books which has until now been denied, but one nationalist interpretation of history cannot be allowed to replace another. The black nationalism of the ANC cannot answer the rhetoric of Terre-Blanche, because neither gives an objective picture of the past.

Bibliography:
Pakenham, T., The Boer War, London 1979

Smith, I.R., The Origins of the South African War 1899-1902, New York 1996

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago 1991
Click HERE to read the original article.


From the newspaper: Rekord Centurion 25th May 2012 Burgerspark named after my great grandad.

Page 1 – The Peace Treaty of Vereeniging 1902

Page 2 – The Peace Treaty of Vereeniging 1902

Page 3 – The Peace Treaty of Vereeniging 1902

Page 4 – The Peace Treaty of Vereeniging – signed 31st May 1902

Source of The Peace Treaty images:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Vereeniging

Peace Treaty of Vereeniging: 31 May 1902

THE FOLLOWING NOTICE is hereby published for general information. By order of His Excellency the High Commissioner and Administrator of the Transvaal. WE Davidson, Acting Secretary to the Transvaal Administration -3rd June 1902.

ARMY HEADQUARTERS, SOUTH AFRICA

General Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, Commander in Chief

AND

His Excellency Lord Milner, High Commissioner, on behalf of the BRITISH GOVERNMENT,

AND

Messrs S.W. Burger, F.W. Reitz, Louis Botha, J.H. de la Rey, LJ. Meyer, and J.C. Krogh, acting as the GOVERNMENT of the SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC,

AND

Messrs W.J.C. Brebner, C.R. de Wet, J.B.M. Hertzog, and C.H. Olivier, acting as the GOVERNMENT of the ORANGE FREE STATE, on behalf of their respective BURGHERS

Desirous to terminate the present hostilities, agree on the following Articles.

  1. The BURGHER Forces in the Field will forthwith lay down their Arms, handing over all Guns, Rifles, and Munitions of War, in their possession or under their control, and desist from any further resistance to the Authority of HIS MAJESTY KING EDWARD VII, whom they recognise as their lawful SOVEREIGN.
    The Manner and details of this surrender will be arranged between Lord Kitchener and Commandant General Botha, Assistant Commandant General de la Rey and Chief Commandant De Wet.
  2. Burghers in the field outside the limits of the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY, and all Prisoners of War at present outside South Africa, who are burghers, will, on duly declaring their acceptance of the position of subjects of HIS MAJESTY KING EDWARD VII, be gradually brought back to their homes as soon as transport can be provided and their means of subsistence ensured.
  3. The BURGHERS so surrendering or so returning will not be deprived of their personal liberty, or their property.
  4. No proceedings CIVIL or CRIMINAL will be taken against any of the BURGHERS so surrendering or so returning for any Acts in connection with the prosecution of the War. The benefit of this clause will not extend to certain Acts contrary to the usage of War which have been notified by the Commander in Chief to the Boer Generals, and which shall be tried by Court Martial immediately after the close of hostilities.
  5. The DUTCH language will be taught in Public Schools in the TRANSVAAL and the ORANGE RIVER COLONY where the Parents of the Children desire it, and will be allowed in COURTS of LAW when necessary for the better and more effectual Administration of Justice.
  6. The Possession of Rifles will be allowed in the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY to persons requiring them for their protection on taking out a licence according to Law.
  7. MILITARY ADMINISTRATION in the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY will at the earliest possible date be succeeded by CIVIL GOVERNMENT, and, as soon as circumstances permit, Representative Institutions, leading up to self-Government, will be introduced.
  8. The question of granting the Franchise to Natives will not be decided until after the introduction of Self-Government.
  9. No Special Tax will be imposed on Landed Property in the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY to defray the Expenses of the War.
  10. As soon as conditions permit, a Commission, on which the local inhabitants will be represented, will be appointed in each District of the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY, under the Presidency of a Magistrate or other official, for the purpose of assisting the restoration of the people to their homes and supplying those who, owing to war losses, are unable to provide for themselves, with food, shelter, and the necessary amount of seed, stock, implements etc. indispensable to the resumption of their normal occupations.

His Majesty’s Government will place at the disposal of these Commissions a sum of three million pounds sterling for the above purposes, and will allow all notes, issued under Law No. 1 of 1900 of the Government of the SOUTH AFRICAN REPUBLIC, and all receipts, given by the officers in the field of the late Republics or under their orders, to be presented to a JUDICIAL COMMISSION, which will be appointed by the Government, and if such notes and receipts are found by this Commission to have been duly issued in return for valuable consideration they will be received by the first-named Commissions as evidence of War losses suffered by the persons to whom they were originally given. In addition to the above named free grant of three million pounds, His Majesty’s Government will be prepared to make advances as loans for the same purpose, free of interest for two years, and afterwards repayable over a period of years with 3 per cent interest. No foreigner or rebel will be entitled to the benefit of this Clause.

Signed at Pretoria this thirty first day of May in the Year of Our Lord Thousand Nine Hundred and Two.
[Signed]

KITCHENER OF KHARTOUM, MILNER, S W BURGER, F W REITZ, LOUIS BOTHA, J H DE LA REY, L J MEYER, J C KROGH, C R DE WET, J B M HERTZOG, WJ C BREBNER, C .H OLIVIER

Source: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Peace_of_Vereeniging

Melrose House 1900-1902

Die Vrede van Vereeniging, 31 Mei 1902. In Oktober 1899  breek oorlog uit tussen die Britse regering en die twee Boererepublieke van Transvaal en die Oranje Vrystaat. Op 5 Junie 1900 val die Britse troepemag onder lord Roberts Pretoria binne. Roberts woon eers in die “British Agency” in Rissikstraat 1268 voordat hy na Melrose-huis verskuif en dit as Britse hoofkwartier en residensie gebruik.
Melrose-huis word bekend as die “Imperial Headquarters in South Africa” en hiervandaan is die bevele uitgestuur wat meer as 18 maande lank die aard van die Britse oorlogsbedrywighede bepaal het.
Teen die einde van 1900 vertrek lord Roberts na Engeland en lord Kitchener van Khartoum neem sy plek in. Saam met hom is sy Sikh-bediendes wat hom sedert sy veldslae in Indie vergesel het. Die woonkamer links van die ingang gebruik Kitchener as sy kantoor en die vertrek langsaan as slaapkamer.

Die sluiting van die Vrede van Vereeniging het soos volg verloop: As gevolg van bemiddelingspogings in Europa vir vrede het die Britse Regering besluit dat die vrede in Suid-Afrika gereel moes word. Op 4 Maart 1902 ontvang genl. Schalk Burger, waarnemende Staatspresident van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek terwyl pres. Kruger in Europa was, vredesvoorstelle van lord Kitchener. Die Transvaalse ,regering’ tree in verbinding met pres. Steyn en die Vrystaatse regering en op 9 April kom die twee regerings te Klerksdorp byeen vir samesprekings. Daar was skerp meningsverskil, maar uiteindelik is voorstelle op skrif gestel en op 12 April was die verteenwoordigers van die verskillende regerings in Pretoria om met lord Kitchener te onderhandel.
Die eerste vredesvoorstelle word deur lord Kitchener aan die Britse Regering voorgele, maar uit London kom die antwoord dat die Britse Regering nie aan die twee Republieke se voorwaarde om hul onafuanklikheid te behou, kan voldoen nie. Die samesprekings het tot 17 April voortgeduur waarna besluit word dat die Boereleiers kans sou kry om al die kommando’s te raadpleeg.
Die Britse Regering onderneem om al die kommando’s waarvan die leiers met onderhandelinge besig was, nie aan te val nie, en Kitchener stel die spoorweg en telegraafdiens tot hul beskikking.
Op 15 Mei 1902 het 30 afgevaardigdes van elke Republiek op die dorp Vereeniging aangekom vir verdere samesprekings. In ‘n markeetent het die byeenkoms onder voorsitterskap van generaal C.F. Beyers begin. Aan Transvaalkant was onder andere: genl. Schalk Burger, staatsekretaris van die Z.A.R. F.W. Reitz, genl. Louis Botha, genl. Koos De la Rey en genl. Jan Smuts.
Tussen die Vrystaters was pres. M.T. Steyn wat hom weens swak gesondheid aan die onderhandelinge moes onttrek, genl. C.R. de Wet en genl. J .B.M. Hertzog.
Die twee notulehouers was D.E. van Velden en ds. J.D. Kestell. Dag na dag het die samesprekinge voortgegaan. Daar was groot meningsverskil: aan die een kant die wat wou vrede maak en aan die ander kant die wat wou voortgaan met die oorlog. Op Saterdag, 17 Mei is besluit om vyf generaals Hertzog, Smuts, De la Rey, Botha en De Wet, na Pretoria met nuwe voorstelle te stuur.
Die kommissie het dadelik na Pretoria vertrek en tuisgegaan in “Parkzicht”, die huis van Carl Rood, langs Melrose-huis.  Op 19 Mei het die samesprekings met die Engelse bevelvoerders begin en deur taaie onderhandelinge is die vredesvoorwaardes puntsgewys vasgestel. Na die eerste fase het dit gelyk asof die samesprekings ‘n dooiepunt bereik het, maar is oorwen deur ‘n komitee, saamgestel uit lord Kitchener, genls. Smuts en Hertzog wat die werk voortgesit het.
Die finale dokument, bestaande uit tien klousules, is deur Chamberlain en die Britse Kabinet goedgekeur. Die kommissie moes die dokument aan die afgevaardigdes op Vereeniging voorle en daar sou kans gegee word tot 31 Mei 1902 om JA of NEE daarop te antwoord. Om 9vm op 29 Mei is die eerste sitting gehou en die rapport voorgelees.
President Steyn het intussen bedank en genl. De Wet as waarnemende president van die Vrystaat benoem. Die vredesvoorwaardes is drie dae ernstig bespreek en die finale stemming was 54 teen 6 vir die aanname van die voorwaardes.
Maatreels is getref vir die vervoer per spoor na Pretoria van die lede van albei regerings om daar die Vredestraktaat te onderteken. Kort voor elfuur die aand het hulle by Melrose-huis aangekom en is op versoek ‘n rukkie aIleen gelaat in die eetkamer om die Besluit van Vereeniging weer deeglik deur te lees. Lord Kitchener en lord Milner het binnegekom en aan die hoof van die tafel aan die suidekant gaan sit. Langs Milner het die ses Transvalers gesit en langs Kitchener die vier Vrystaters.
Die kontrak was in viervoud op perkament getik. Een eksemplaar was bestem vir die Koning van Engeland, een vir lord Kitchener, een om bewaar te word in die Pretoriase Argief, en een om in die Bloemfonteinse Argief te bewaar.
 Die eerste eksemplaar is vyf minute oor elf voor die waarnemende president van die Z.A.R., gent. Schalk Burger, geplaas en mi hom het die ander lede van die regering die dokument geteken. Na hulle het die Vrystaatse verteenwoordigers dit onderteken. Links van die tien name het die Britse Opperbevelhebber geskryf: “Kitchener van Khartoum” en daaronder het die Hoe Kommissaris die woord “Milner” geskryf. Vader Kestell het genotuleer: “Die dokument was geteken. Alles was stil in die vertrek waar daar so baie gepraat is. Nog het almal ‘n oomblik stilgesit.
Toe staan lede van die Regerings van die nou gewese Republieke asof verbyster op om die saal te verlaat. Lord Kitchener het van die een na die ander gegaan en elkeen sy hand gebied: ‘We are good friends now’ het hy gese. Daarop het almal die saal verlaat.” Na 1902 gaan die lewe in Melrose-huis voorL George Heys gaan voort met sy sakebelange en die Heys-egpaar dra graag by tot gemeenskapsdiens. In 1934 skenk George Heys ‘n klokkespel, die “Heys Memorial Chimes” vir die destydse nuwe stadsaal in Paul Krugerstraat.  Na sy vrou se dood in 1929 laat bou hy die “Heys Memorial Hall” vir die Sunnyside-Metodistekerk. George Heys is in 1939 op 87-jarige ouderdom oorlede terwyl hy by sy oudste dogter in Chulmleigh, Devon, Engeland, gekuier het. Hy is in die ou begraafplaas in Pretoria begrawe. Hy was ‘n ware pionier wat tot die ontwikkelingsgeskiedenis van Pretoria bygedra het.

Sedert Melrose-huis in 1886-1887 gebou is, het daar slegs in 1895-96 noemenswaardige veranderinge plaasgevind toe die biljartkamer, plantehuis en kombuis aangebou is en die huidige eetkamer vergroot is. Na die beeindiging van die Anglo-Boereoorlog in 1902, is die interieur opgeknap, en vandag is die huis ‘n uitstekende voorbeeld van die oorgangstydperk van ‘n laat-Victoriaanse na die Edwardiaanse styltydperke in ‘n Engelse herehuis. Vandag is die meubels, tapyte, skilderye, ornamente en gebruiksvoorwerpe wat aan die oorspronklike eienaars behoort het, nog in die huis.
Kenmerkend van die Victoriaanse tydperk is dat die style uit vorige tydperke nageboots en saamgevoeg is. Die argitektuur spreek onder andere van Nederlandse, Elisabethaanse en Klassieke invloede terwyl die meubels meestal nabootsings is van Adam-, Hepplewhite-, Chippendale- en Sheratonstyle van die 18de eeu. Daar is ook verskeie Oosterse invloede sigbaar in die huis.

Die Spekboom-rivier Brug – ook die Schalk Willem Burger-brug

Photos of the bridge from this link with photos of other interesting ‘artifacts’ too.

http://www.laervolkskool.co.za/geskiedenis.php

Van die link van Laerskool Volkskool:

Mnr Cornelius Meyer het goedgunstiglik sy Sondaghuis afgestaan sodat die weeskinders geherberg kon word. Om die kinders na ‘n Engelse skool te stuur, was onmoontlik – en onder die kerkgebou in die donker kelder, meermale genoem die “grot”, het die klein weesskool op 24 Julie 1903 geopen met Mej Anna Basson as onderwyseres.

Dadelik was daar ‘n toestroming van Afrikaanse kinders wat ook toegang wou hê. Tydens ‘n openbare vergadering is besluit om die vroeëre kerkskool te heropen onder die naam “Die Volkskool”. ‘n Beroep is op mnr Dönges gedoen om as hoof op te tree. So is Volkskool gebore, as ‘n skamele kindjie, sonder herberg, toerusting of geld, maar ryk in geloof.

Kinders het nou na die Volkskool gestroom en spoedig is die konsistoriekamer in beslag geneem en die Van Belkumsaal (Nee Hervormde Kerk) gehuur vir klaskamers. Die gesukkel sonder meubels, boeke en ruimte was groot – en toe dit op sy donkerste was, het uitkoms gekom. Die twee broers, Frederik en Willem Bezuidenhout, met hulle swaer, Cornelius Meyer het die erf waarop Volkskool tans staan, gekoop en ‘n gebou teen die koste van sowat 5000 pond deur mnr Johannes Joubert laat oprig, terwyl hulle eggenotes die grootste deel van die meublement geskenk het. Op 11 Januarie 1907 is die Volkskool plegtig ingewy deur prof. Marais, van die kweekskool van Stellenbosch en die hoeksteen gelê deur Schalk Burger, die laaste President van die Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek, In 1907 het genl. Smuts, Minister van Onderwys, besluit om al die CNO-skole in die land oor te neem as goewermentskole. So het Volkskool ‘n openbare skool geword met behoud egter van sy eie geboue en skoolkommissie.
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