This paper employs an auto-ethnographical approach in which one draws on one’s own experiences in trying to understand one’s involvement in Anglo-Boer War writing and related ramifications. Of course, such an approach can easily descend into self-indulgent puffery, but hopefully if due caution is taken it may shed some light on how the dynamics of writing on the war helped to shape one individual’s exploration of the South African historical landscape.
One of the questions to be explored is how one gets to write about the war. What are the inner and often hidden impulses that drive one to towards writing on the war and specific themes within that often convoluted and complex historical milieu? Equally important is the way in which research obstacles and publication issues can be negotiated. The bulk of the paper, however, deals with the wider dimensions of the writing process and how the war served as a kind of bridgehead to other topics and particularly alerted one to salient conceptual historiographical points of departure.