GEDENKUITGAWE 2: WEDERVARINGE VAN KINDERS GEDURENDE DIE ANGLO-BOEREOORLOG 1899-1902. Edited and compiled by RJ Constantine, 208 pp. quarto, includes 145 high quality photographs and other illustrations a number being in colour, Bloemfontein, 2015.
The War Museum’s Gedenkuitgawe 2, second in a planned series of five volumes, highlights the experiences of Boer children during the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. It features the full range of children’s experiences in a very destructive war, with autobiographical accounts by both boys and girls: at home on the farm, fleeing in the veld, as a penkop on commando, in an occupied town and naturally in the much feared concentration camps. This is only the second known publication to deal exclusively with the experiences of Boer children during the Anglo-Boer War, and most of the chapters are printed here for the first time. The outstanding narratives are those of Maria van der Hoven, Helena Grobler, PJ Marx and George Brink. Maria van der Hoven’s account provides a harrowing picture of deep-seated rural conflict, and of one family’s enforced poverty, privations and suffering. As a meditation on the true meaning of war in one heavily contested rural district (Winburg), her memoir will never be surpassed. Helena Grobler was a product of the Western Transvaal farming aristocracy, her grandmother being a sister of President Paul Kruger. She spent most of the war in Potchefstroom concentration camp. The young penkop PJ Marx fled for the duration of the war in the vicinity of the Vet River and the districts west towards the Vaal River. In his memorable account one hears the unmistakable voice of the South African veld. George Brink (the later General) gives a lively account of a boyhood in occupied Bloemfontein in 1900 and then in Vredefort camp, where his father was a successful camp superintendent. His is the only English chapter.