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UNTOLD STORIES OF THE ANGLO-BOER WAR: THE ‘FORGOTTEN’ FRONT, THE ‘INVISIBLE’ PEOPLE

Mike de Jongh, Professor Emeritus and research fellow, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Unisa  

Wars pass, but the human soul endures; the interest is not so much in the war as in the human experience behind it (Jan C. Smuts, preface to Deneys Reitz’s Commando

The significance of confrontations along the southern front during the Anglo-Boer War has inclined to be under-reported and hence strategically under-emphasised. This illustrated course undertakes to facilitate recollective justice to a ‘forgotten front’, particularly by means of the untold stories of the local people and common soldiers. The unmediated experiences of previously voiceless people during turmoil in a Karoo community are brought sharply into focus – though projected of necessity against the ravages and casualties of war. Because of battles elsewhere military chroniclers, even the usually punctilious British recorders, ignored or glossed over this phase and front of the war. The Anglo-Boer War, now more accurately referred to as the South African War, was neither “a gentleman’s war” or “a white man’s war” (references in earlier writings). In the region in question the descendants of the earliest inhabitants became equally embroiled in the conflict – as did brown and black South Africans. The role of women, too, was underacknowledged. Though enmity and depredation often prevailed, these lectures bring to the fore the human and humane, and even the humorous side of the adversaries. 

Lecture Titles

  1. Distant thunder, rumours of rain: confronted with conflict
  2. Battles and bloodshed: the human and humane
  3. Prospect of peace, confronting conciliation

Recommended reading

De Jongh, M. and Gordon, B.  2018. The Forgotten Front - untold stories of the Anglo-Boer War in the Karoo. The Watermark Press.

Doyle, A.C. 1999. The Great Boer War. Galago.

Grobler, J.E.H. 2004. The War Reporter. Cape Town: Jonathan Ball.

Lunderstedt, S. 2006. Black involvement in the Northern Cape during the SA War 1899-1902. The Sol Plaatje Educational Trust.

Monday 14–Wednesday 16 January                        9.15 am
COURSE FEES Full: R330.00           Staff & Students R165.00
Venue: LT3, Kramer Law Building, UCT