THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR: A SOCIAL HISTORY
Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen, historian, University of Cape Town
Although the issue of the concentration camps of the South African War remains hugely significant to Afrikaners, there has been surprisingly little research on them. This course will provide a new look at the camps, by locating them in the context of the late nineteenth century colonial world and drawing on a range of archival sources. Since high mortality was the great tragedy of the camps, a major focus will be a fresh look at the deaths, their causes and the reasons for the decline in mortality. There were more black camps than white camps and their history has been as much a political toy as that of the white camps. The course will attempt to place the story of the black camp inmates into perspective. It will conclude by considering the legacy of the camps, from the erection of the Vrouemonument to post-apartheid reconciliation and the forging of a new Afrikaner identity.
1. Was there ground glass in the sugar? Looking at the history of the camps
2. Meat, milk, measles and mortality: disease and death
3. Drunken British doctors and Boer probationers: the practice of medicine
4. ‘Hewers of wood and drawers of water’: the black camps in perspective
5. The legacy of the camps
Spies, S.B. 1977. Methods of Barbarism? Roberts and Kitchener and Civilians in the Boer Republics January 1900–May 1902. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau.
Van Heyningen, E.B. 2013. The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A Social History. Auckland Park: Jacana.
Course code: 1050
Date & time: 20–24 January 9.15 am