Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Boje, Johannes Gerhardus firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-05092010-210157 Document Title Winburg’s war : an appraisal of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 as it was experienced by the people of a Free State District Degree DPhil Department Historical and Heritage Studies Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof J E H Grobler Co-Supervisor Prof F-J Pretorius Supervisor Keywords
- Winburg commando
- Anglo-Boer War
- concentration camps
- Free State
- South African War
Date 2010-04-14 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis thesis considers the Anglo-Boer War from the point of view of all those in the Winburg district who were involved in it or affected by it. It acknowledges those who fought to the bitter end and seeks to account for their perseverance in the face of certain defeat. It also looks empathetically at those whose story is not generally told, the cowards, waverers and collaborators, and, following in the footsteps of Albert Grundlingh’s seminal study, Die ‘Hendsoppers’ en ‘Joiners’, explores their motivation.
The role of Boer women has often been portrayed as one of passive victimhood. An attempt is made to give due weight to their active agency. The women tended to be more ideologically committed than the men and their complicity in the war made them a focus of British attempts to contain a people’s war. The concentration camps have been politicised and it becomes necessary to divest them of their ideological gloss without mitigating the trauma they inflicted.
Much the same applies to the involvement of black people in the war. They too were active agents and they too were the victims of total warfare that devastated the countryside and decimated its inhabitants. During the course of the war very many black people took service with the British army. This was deeply resented by the Boers and anarchic atrocities by blacks called forth savage reprisals. In black concentration camps mortality rates far exceeded those prevailing in the white camps.
After the war there was a gradual process of reconstruction, but in the Winburg the emotional after-effects of the war were felt in the 1914 rebellion and the church schism of 1917, and also in political mobilisation among the black people of the district.
An Afrikaner nationalist interpretation of the war arose from the existential needs of a broken people, but that need has passed and other needs have arisen. The demythologisation of the Anglo-Boer War involves an acceptance of what was previously regarded as discreditable in the past in order to promote insight into identity formation in a democratic, pluralistic South Africa.
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Please cite as follows:
Boje, JG 2009, Winburg’s war : an appraisal of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 as it was experienced by the people of a Free State District, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05092010-210157/ >
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