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.
6th President of the South African Republic (Acting)
1900 – 1902
Preceded by Paul Kruger, (1900)
Succeeded by British Empire (until Unionization in 31 May 1910)
Born 6 September 1852 (1852-09-06)
Died 5 December 1918 (1918-12-06) (aged 66)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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”…Krugerspos…near 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.
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:
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
His Excellency Lord Milner, High Commissioner, on behalf of the BRITISH GOVERNMENT,
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,
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The BURGHERS so surrendering or so returning will not be deprived of their personal liberty, or their property.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The question of granting the Franchise to Natives will not be decided until after the introduction of Self-Government.
- No Special Tax will be imposed on Landed Property in the TRANSVAAL and ORANGE RIVER COLONY to defray the Expenses of the War.
- 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.
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
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.
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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