Title page for ETD etd-05312009-205128


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Calitz, Gerhard Johann
URN etd-05312009-205128
Document Title Deneys Reitz (1882 – 1944) : krygsman, avonturier en politikus (Afrikaans)
Degree DPhil
Department Historical and Heritage Studies
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr J E H Grobler Co-Supervisor
Prof F Pretorius Supervisor
Keywords
  • Eerste węreldoorlog
  • Deneys Reitz
  • hoë kommissaris
  • Anglo-Boer War
  • Jan Smuts
  • First World War
  • Second Word War
  • British Imperialism
  • Kruger Wildtuin
  • Commando
  • high commissioner
  • no outspan
  • trekking on
  • Anglo Boereoorlog
  • Tweede węreldoorlog
  • Britse imperialisme
  • 1914-rebellie
Date 2009-04-18
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Afrikaans

Deneys Reitz, die derde van president F.W. Reitz se vyf oorlewende seuns, is op 2 April 1882 te midde van die politieke en ekonomiese ontwaking van die Vrystaat in Bloemfontein gebore. Hy het op die ouderdom van 17 by die Boeremagte aangesluit en doen hier die ondervindinge op wat hy later in sy eerste boek, Commando: A Boer journal of the Boer war, weergee. Met die sluit van vrede weier hy om die eed van getrouheid teenoor Brittanje af te lę en wend hom na Madagaskar waar hy onder meer as ‘n transportryer werk. Hy keer in 1903, op aandrang van Isie Smuts, na Suid-Afrika terug, kwalifiseer as ‘n prokureur en open ‘n prokureurspraktyk in die Noordoos-Vrystaatse dorp Heilbron.

Gedurende die 1914-rebellie skaar hy homself aan die Botha-Smuts regering se kant en voer hy die Heilbronkommando aan teen die rebelle. Tydens die Eerste Węreldoorlog sluit hy hom aanvanklik by Botha en Smuts in Duits-Suidwes-Afrika aan en daarna by die Britse leër in Brittanje. Hy spandeer die meeste van die Eerste Węreldoorlog in die loopgrawe aan die Wesfront in Frankryk en vorder tot die rang van kolonel in bevel van ‘n bataljon van die First Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Met sy terugkeer na Suid-Afrika in 1920 wend hy hom tot die politiek en as lid van die Suid-Afrikaanse Party verteenwoordig hy eers Bloemfontein-Suid (1920) en later Port Elizabeth. Vanaf 1929 verteenwoordig hy Barberton. Hy dien aanvanklik in die parlement as Minister van Lande, waar hy onder meer betrokke raak by wetgewing i.v.m. die totstandkoming van die Krugerwildtuin. Hy dien ook as Minister van Lande in die koalisie kabinet van J.B.M. Hertzog (1933) en daarna as Minister van Landbou en Bosbou (1935), Minister van Mynwese (1938), Minister van Naturellesake (1939) en as adjunkpremier in Smuts se Oorlogskabinet (1939-1943).

Vir die periode van 1924 tot 1933 dien hy as deel van die amptelike opposisie, terwyl hy hoofsaaklik as ‘n prokureur in Johannesburg werk. In dié periode het hy ook uitgebreide private- en sakereise na onder meer Noord- en Suid-Rhodesië, die Belgiese Kongo en die Kaokoveld in Suidwes-Afrika onderneem.

Sy bekendheid het hy grootliks verwerf uit die publikasie van sy herinneringe van die Anglo Boereoorlog, gepubliseer as Commando in 1929. Dit is erken as ‘n boek van uitstaande gehalte en word beskou as ‘n klassieke werk oor die Anglo-Boereoorlog. Die res van sy lewe, vanaf 1902 tot 1940, het hy in die boeke Trekking on en No outspan beskryf.

Deneys Reitz was getroud met Leila Agnes Buissine Reitz (13/12/1887 – 29/12/1959). Sy was Suid-Afrika se eerste vroulike parlementslid en het Parktown verteenwoordig. Leila was veral by maatskaplike werk betrokke en het spesifiek op kinders en kindermisdadigers gefokus. Deneys en Leila het twee seuns gehad - Jan en Michael.

Weens swak gesondheid word Reitz in 1943 as Hoë Kommissaris in Londen aangestel, waar hy in 1944 sterf.

English

Deneys Reitz, the third of president F.W. Reitz’s five living sons, was born in Bloemfontein on 2 April 1882 during the political and economical awakening of the Orange Free State. As a boy of seventeen he joined the Boer forces in the Anglo-Boer War, gaining the experience he set down in his first book, Commando: A Boer journal of the Boer war. After the peace he was an irreconcilable and lived as a transport rider in Madagascar, returning to South Africa in 1903 after prompting by Isie Smuts. He qualified as an attorney and practiced in the town of Heilbron in the north-east Free State.

During the 1914 rebellion he commanded the Heilbron Commando against the rebels in support of the Botha-Smuts government. During World War I he first joined Botha and Smuts in German South West Africa and then in German East Africa, where after he enlisted with the British Army. He spent most of the First World War in the trenches in France, where he rose to command a battalion of the First Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Upon his return to South Africa he entered Parliament in 1920 as a member of the South African Party, representing first Bloemfontein South (1920) and later Port Elizabeth. He represented Barberton from 1929. He initially held the portfolios of Lands (1923-24), becoming involved in developing legislation for the establishment of the Kruger National Park. He also served as Minister of Lands in the coalition government of J.B.M. Hertzog (1933), Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (1935), Minister of Mines (1938), Minister of Native Affairs (1939) and as deputy premier in Smuts’ War Cabinet (1939-1943).

Reitz was a member of the formal opposition from 1924 to 1933, while also working as an attorney in Johannesburg. In this period he travelled extensively in both his private and official capacities to North and South Rhodesia, the Belgian Congo and the Kaokoveld in South West Africa.

His real claim to fame, however, arises from his memoirs of the Anglo-Boer War, which he published under the title of Commando in 1929. This was immediately recognised as a work of outstanding quality and has become a South African classic on the Anglo Boer War. Later he wrote Trekking on and No outspan, continuing the story of his career.

Deneys Reitz was married to Leila Agnes Buissine Reitz (13/12/1887 – 29/12/1959), the first South African women elected to parliament. She was member for Parktown. Leila, who was involved in welfare work, focused on children and delinquents. Deneys and Leila had two sons of their own - Jan en Michael.

Due to ill health Reitz was appointed Union High Commissioner in London in 1943, where he later passed away.

© University of Pretoria 2008

Please cite as follows:

Calitz, GJ 2008, Deneys Reitz (1882 – 1944) : krygsman, avonturier en politikus, DPhil thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05312009-205128/ >

D645/ag

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