Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Wassermann, Johannes Michiel firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com URN etd-03072006-095936 Document Title The Natal Afrikaner and The Anglo-Boer War Degree DPhil Department Historical and Heritage Studies Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Dr J Grobler Prof F Pretorius Supervisor Keywords
- Natal Afrikaner women
- concentration camps
- Dutch districts
- high treason
- Klip River County
- martial law
- Natal Afrikaner
- military courts
- special magistrate
- Weenen County
- Umvoti County
- Privy Council
- special court
- Anglo-Boer War
Date 2004-12-10 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe invasion by the Boers of Natal set a process in motion that changed the lives of Natal Afrikaners forever. As a group which shared family, cultural, and other ties with the invaders, but were British subjects by citizenship, they had to make a difficult decision: join the Republican forces or remain loyal to the crown. Factors which influenced this decision, amongst others, were the pre-war suspicion of all Natal Afrikaners by the Natal authorities and the prevalence of a general anti-Republican sentiment.
Despite the above-mentioned, and the sympathy which existed for the plight of the Republics, very few Natal Afrikaners joined the commandos. Doing that would have meant economic annihilation. This the Natal Afrikaners understood and the majority remained neutral. Matters were complicated when the British Army and the colonial authorities withdrew south, leaving especially the Afrikaners of the Klip River county unprotected. When occupation did not convince the Afrikaners of the area to join, a well-thought out strategy based upon fear and misinformation, brought most into the fray. Duty on these commandoes was generally slack, subversive in nature, and as much as one can expect from people forced into military combat. A small group, however, managed, despite the pressures placed upon them, to remain loyal to Britain. For these loyalists the greatest rewards were in terms of economics and power.
In stark contrasts were the economic experiences of the Natal Afrikaners who were somehow, either directly or indirectly, guilty of high treason. All their possessions were systematically looted or destroyed, leaving most of them in an impoverished state. Secondly, through a range of court cases 409 Natal Afrikaners or associated people were convicted of treason, mostly by the purposefully introduced Special Court and special magistrate. The outlined experiences coincided with victimization on socio-political and cultural levels under Martial Law.
Afrikaners resident in the southern part of Natal, and especially in Umvoti county, did not suffer directly because of the war but experienced a different kind of war namely a pseudo war in which they were spied upon, viewed with suspicion and under Martial Law harassed. However, these Afrikaners managed to maintain some political power while economically they carried on as before the war. They attempted to use these assets to assist the Afrikaners who had to endure desertion by their own government and Boer occupation. Natal Afrikaners also experienced other aspects of the war normally associated with the Republics. Some were arrested as POWs, while others were deported to concentration camps within the Colony. Furthermore, as a result of the war, relations between Natal Afrikaners and English colonists and Africans suffered. The collective impact and legacy of the war, as well as the shared experiences of suffering under the British, with their Republican brothers and sisters, eventually helped to bring Natal Afrikaners into the broader Afrikaner fold.
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