SOS Sunday 11 October 2020

Steve on Sunday

Greetings fellow bundles of joy.

It has been quite a year has it not?

Only 74 days until Christmas! And a gentle reminder to my family that it is only 49 days to the biggest day of the year – my birthday!! Advance advertising helps…!! I must add that as one ages the gap between your birthdays is mere weeks whereas when you were a pre teenager it was several years.

Most of us suffered this year in one way or another. Lockdown and being forced to stay at home for a month or two saw houses being cleaned, garages being emptied, gardens being worked upon, and so on and so forth. In those first few weeks from 26 March even the criminals stayed wherever they stay – they too were fearful of the future and what the virus held in store for them. But they’re back in force.

Well, I have no idea what we in South Africa did right (and most of the rest of Africa too for that matter), but the merchants of doom have been proved wrong. There have not been the prophesied thousands of plague related deaths and it appears the annual toll for normal flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS will all be higher than this viru* that came from Chin*.

South Africa’s death stats are certainly a lot lower than those of the USA, the UK and Europe. As these words are written new lockdown regulations are being formulated in countries where winter is on the way. Perhaps our warm RSA weather in winter has helped?

Just one query on the virus and a possible vaccine.

If alcohol and sanitiser can kill this virus so easily, why have the experts not found a cure yet?

Should we stay under the influence 24 hours a day? If the bottlestores and pubs remain open. If we had income to buy booze too for that matter.

I am sure it is the same across the land but here in the hinterland where Mr Rhodes made his money from diamonds the municipal/government/whatever trade unions are toy-toying again. Naturally these are the same ‘workers’ who stayed at home (most of them) for six months on full pay and benefits while the rest of us saw no income and many have seen the business where they worked shut down for good.

It is truly unbelievable. One of their daily actions while meandering along to gather in front of the municipal offices to sing and dance is to illegally empty the rubbish from the dirt bins on to the streets. It may have worked many years ago but these days the bins are never emptied and the streets are filled with tonnes of rubbish all of the time. This week’s strikers littering all over never made any difference whatsoever to Kimberley’s streets – the CBD is a disgrace and I’m not even mentioning the potholes, merely the litter.

I am assuming that my twelve readers know the significance of today’s date in southern African history? 11 October? 1899? Yes? No?

I again presume, dangerously so, that some of you do actually realise that the date is when the Anglo-Boer South African War of 1899 – 1902 began 121 years ago.

It was the beginning of two years and eight months of war that devastated the entire sub-continent and remains to this day the greatest of all tragedies to befall southern Africa as it affected not just South Africa but also Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mocambique, and to a smaller degree, Namibia. Two independent republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State taking on the might of the British Empire, the empire including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Rhodesia, Natal and the Cape Colony plus the nations of the then Great Britain.

The sheer weight of numbers would eventually see the British Empire force the republics to accept defeat on 31 May 1902.

The war in the sub-continent would be remembered for some famous battles, great tactics, guerrilla warfare strategy, brilliant Boer leaders, and for the horror of the concentration camps, both black and white, the horrific scorched earth policy, Boer prisoners of war being sent to obscure islands, and so much more. Tens of thousands of Boer Burgers, Imperial troops and Boer women and children died. So too did thousands of Black internees in the camps.

No war is ever good and this war, the last of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, has not been forgotten in this corner of the world.

Interestingly the war in and around Kimberley had ancestors of both myself and Hannes Wessels’ family fighting, and even little old Umtali (Mutare) has a link.

The Umtali link is of Henry Scott-Turner who gets killed in the second battle of Carter’s Ridge outside of Kimberley on 28 November 1899. He came direct from Umtali to Kimberley in middle 1899 to assist the diamond city in its defence. The library in Umtali (Mutare) is his memorial, the full title being the Henry Scott-Turner Memorial Library.

The Wessels family is originally from Bloemhof and Hannes’ ancestors fought for the Bloemhof Commando in both the Carter’s Ridge Kimberley battles in November 1899.

One of the Imperial soldiers killed in the 1st battle of Carter’s Ridge was an ancestor of mine, his mother being a Lunderstedt, while fighting against him were two brothers in the Bloemhof Commando. Their mother was also a Lunderstedt, these two mothers being sisters. Civil war?

When I am asked ‘whose side are you on?’ I tell the above story in more detail.

A bit serious this Sunday, sorry. However, with Senekal round number two coming up this next week thought I would mention the greater conflict of just over 120 years ago. Could be a serious week or two ahead of us. Just keep the bottle stores open to keep our shattered nerves steady!

Incidentally I wonder if those clever chaps in red realise that Senekal is in the Free State and not that similarly spelled country in Africa north of the Zambesi? Could be an expensive trip otherwise?

I thank you for your time.


By Managing Editor

Highly respected, Writer, Blogger, Wildlife Conservationist, Hunter and Father.......

3 thoughts on “SOS – Steve On Sunday”
  1. Thanks for this very interesting post and am thinking of you and praying over this Senekal tragedy. Interestingly my birthday falls on the same date 11/10.

  2. Great article,Steve.But I tend to find something interesting on the ground
    when the very sad Anglo-Boer War is
    mentioned.Decades later,as a boy escaping African savagery at very short notice ‘up country’,we stayed in the beautiful Cape Town area.Our Afrikaner neighbors rallied round and could not have been kinder or more considerate,even giving my 3 sisters
    and me toys and NEW clothes.

    May God Bless and protect valiant

  3. War, is never fair, nor understood by all.

    Thank you for your, and Hannes’s recollections and tales.

    It saddens sometimes, but also recall a time when we gave all we had.

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