The Boer War, or as it now known, the South African War, might not have physically ravished the town, yet it did affect Port Elizabeth in so many other ways. The denial of the right to citizenship of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal Republic was the ostensible reason for the declaration of war by Paul Kruger on Britain on the 11th October 1899. Instead the underlying reason was a century of pent-up animosity between Boer and Brit.
Main picture: No. 2 Remount Depot
During the latter stages of the Boer War and the defeat of the conventional Boer forces, the fighting devolved into a guerrilla war with the open veldt and the scattered Boer farmhouses providing the logistics system. In order to sever this supply line, the farm houses were torched, and the animals slaughtered, in terms of the Scorched Earth policy, while the wives and children were placed in concentration camps. Without this sustenance, all the Boer forces apart from the bitter einders opted to surrender.
Main picture: Memorial at the North End Cemetery to those who died at PE’s Concentration Camp
Although Port Elizabeth was never directly affected during the Anglo Boer War as it was never occupied or fought over, measures had to be taken to prevent the destruction of infrastructure in the unlikely event of a Boer raid.
The blog only covers those defensive measures.
Main picture: One of the two forts at the Upper Van Stadens Dam which was constructed during the Anglo-Boer War
A Personal View – March 2014
As expected, the mysterious disappearance of a Boeing 777-200 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing has attracted international media attention. This interest has largely centred on the reason for its unexpected disappearance and to some extent the emotional issues related to family & friends.
Quite rightly so!