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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Boere video to look at by youtube

Boere video to look at by youtube




General Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey

General Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey (22 October 1847 – 15 September 1914), known as Koos de la Rey, was a Boergeneral during the Second Boer War and is widely regarded as being one of the strongest military leaders during that conflict.He is generally regarded as the bravest of the Boer generals during the Second Boer War and as one of the leading figures of Boer independence. As a guerrilla, his tactics proved extremely successful. De la Rey opposed the war until the last, but when he was once accused of cowardice during a Volksraad session by President Paul Kruger, he replied that if the time for war came, he would be fighting long after Paul Kruger had given up and fled for safety. This proved to be the case.

Born on the family farm Doornfontein in the Winburg District of the Orange Free State, he was the son of Adrianus Johannes Gijsbertus de la Rey and Adriana Wilhelmina van Rooyen. De la Rey was a Boer of Spanish, French Huguenot and Dutch descent.His grandfather, a school teacher and the patriarch of the De la Rey family in South Africa came from Utrecht, Netherlands. After the Battle of Boomplaats, the family farm was confiscated by the British and the family trekked into the Transvaal and settled in Lichtenburg. As a child De la Rey received very little formal education. The De la Rey family moved once again, this time to Kimberley after the discovery of diamonds. As a young man, De la Rey worked as a transport rider on the routes serving the diamond diggings at Kimberley.


De la Rey married Jacoba Elizabeth (Nonnie) Greeff and the couple settled on Manana, the Greeff family farm. Manana had belonged to Jacoba's father Hendrik Adriaan Greeff, the founder of Lichtenburg. Later De la Rey bought the farm Elandsfontein. They had twelve children and they looked after another six children who lost their parents. De la Rey was deeply religious and a small pocket Bible was rarely out of his hand. He had formidable looks - a long neatly trimmed brown beard and a high forehead with deep-set eyes that gave him a prematurely patriarchal appearance. His sister Cornelia was married to Pieter Van der Hoff who was a nephew of Dirk Van der Hoff, founder of the Dutch Reformed church in RSA.De la Rey fought in the Basotho War of 1865 and Sekhukhune's War of 1876. He did not take a very active part in the First Boer War, but as field cornet in the western Transvaal, he took over Piet Cronje's Potchefstroom siege (1880 -1881) when Cronjé fell ill. He was elected commandant of the Lichtenburg district, and became a member of the Transvaal Volksraad in 1883. A supporter of the progressive faction under General Piet Joubert, he opposed Paul Kruger's policies against the uitlanders, the foreigners who flocked to the Transvaal gold-rush, and warned it would lead to war with Britain.
  • Battle of Kraaipan, 12 October 1899.
On the outbreak of war, De la Rey was appointed one of Piet Cronjé's field generals. De la Rey led an attack that resulted in the first shots of the war being fired at Kraaipan in an attack on a British armored train that was on its way back to Kimberley from Mafeking. The train was derailed and after a five-hour fight, the British surrendered. This incident made De la Rey famous, but exacerbated his conflicts with the cautious and unimaginative Cronjé, who sent him to block the advance of the British forces moving to relieve the Siege of Kimberley.
  • Graspan on 25 November 1899.
Lieutenant General Lord Methuen, commander of the 1st Division, was tasked with raising the Boer siege of Kimberley and moved his force by rail to Belmont station in the northern Cape Province. On detraining they came under fire from a small force of Boers led by Commandant J. Prinsloo on Belmont Kopje; by the next morning the British were in position to shell, then charge, the hill, despite some losses. The Boers retreated to their horses at the back of the koppie and fell back to Graspan, rejoining the larger force of Free-Staters and Transvaalers under the command of Prinsloo and De la Rey respectively. Here the Boers occupied several koppies, but with no better luck, as they were similarly forced off by artillery and infantry charges. The way lay open for Methuen's force to the Modder (Mud) River crossing, where the Boers had blown up the railway bridge.
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  • Battle of Modder River, 28 November 1899.
Having realized that the traditional Boer tactic of fighting from higher ground exposed them to the superior British artillery, De la Rey insisted that his men and Prinsloo's Free-Staters dig in on the banks of the Modder and Riet Rivers, the first use of trench warfare in the war. The plan was to hold fire until the British had approached close enough for the Boers' advantage in rifle fire to take effect, while making it difficult for the full force of the British artillery to be used. In the early hours the British troops advanced across the plain unopposed, but Prinsloo's men opened fire at long range, the troops took cover and the artillery pounded the Boer trenches. A series of British rushes pushed the Free-Staters back across the ford, and only a counter-attack led by De la Rey enabled the Boers to hold the field until dusk, when they slipped away. De la Rey was wounded and his son Adriaan was killed; he blamed Cronjé for failing to send reinforcements.
  • Magersfontein,
  • 11 December 1899.
After the Boers were forced back from the Modder River, the British spent some time repairing the Modder River bridge, while De la Rey had his men entrench on flat ground at the base of the Magersfontein hill. His controversial tactic was vindicated on 10 December when the hill was intensively shelled to no effect. Before dawn the following day, the crack Highland regiments were ordered to advance in close order. They alerted the defenders by stumbling across wires hung with tin cans and were soon pinned down. After nine hours taking heavy losses, including the brigade commander, Major General Wauchope, without managing to advance at all, they finally broke and retreated in disorder. The battle caused public mourning in Scotland and Methuen was sidelined; the relief of Kimberley would be entrusted to Lord Roberts.
Nevertheless, Magersfontein and the disasters on the Tugela River were the nadir of the British campaign and, thereafter, with massive reinforcements from all over the Empire, they gradually fought their way back. At Paardeberg (1900-02-08), while De la Rey was away rallying resistance to Major General French's advance in the Colesberg area of the Cape, the hapless Cronjé was trapped by Roberts and surrendered with his entire army. Bloemfontein was taken on 13 March 1900, Pretoria on 5 June; Kruger fled to Portuguese East Africa.Only a hard core of Boers were willing to remain in the field. De la Rey, Louis Botha and other commanders met near Kroonstad and laid down a new strategy of guerrilla war. The Western Transvaal fell to De la Rey, and for the next two years he led a mobile campaign, winning battles at Moedwil, Nooitgedacht, Driefontein, Donkerhoek and other places, and inflicting large losses of men and material on the British at Ysterspruit on 25 February 1902, where enough ammunition and supplies were captured to reinvigorate the Boer forces.

Only a hard core of Boers were willing to remain in the field. De la Rey, Louis Botha and other commanders met near Kroonstad and laid down a new strategy of guerrilla war. The Western Transvaal fell to De la Rey, and for the next two years he led a mobile campaign, winning battles at Moedwil, Nooitgedacht, Driefontein, Donkerhoek and other places, and inflicting large losses of men and material on the British at Ysterspruit on 25 February 1902, where enough ammunition and supplies were captured to reinvigorate the Boer forces. At Tweebosch on 7 March 1902, a large part of Methuen's rear-guard was captured, including Methuen himself. Albeit ragged and often hungry, his men roamed at will over vast areas and tied down tens of thousands of British troops. De la Rey had an uncanny knack for avoiding ambush, leading many to believe that he was advised by the 'prophet' Siener van Rensburg who accompanied him. Despite some reverses, such as the Battle of Rooiwal in April 1902, De la Rey's commandos, numbering up to 3,000 men, remained in the field until the end of the war.
De la Rey was noted for chivalrous behaviour towards his enemies. For example, at Tweebosch on 7 March 1902 he captured Lieutenant General Methuen along with several hundred of his troops. The troops were sent back to their lines because de la Rey had no means to support them, and Methuen was also released since he had broken his leg when his own horse had fallen on him.

To counter the guerilla campaign the British - under first Roberts and then Kitchener - adopted a scorched-earth counter-insurgency policy. This involved sweeping the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the Boer guerrillas, including women and children, and included the destruction of crops, burning down homesteads and farms, poisoning wells, and salting fields, and saw non-combatants (Boer families and sympathisers) interned in concentration camps where mortality among the women and children reached an extreme whereby 50% of the population of Boer children under 16 died. Such attritional tactics slowly eroded the will of the Boer fighters still in the field, and ultimately they realised that the costs exceeded the cause; there would soon be little left for them to fight for. The British interned tens of thousands of blacks in appalling conditions in the concentration camps as well, while on the other hand the Boers suspected other Blacks of sympathising with the British and of betraying the whereabouts of guerillas, leading to harsh reprisals.

The British offered terms of peace on various occasions, notably in March 1901, but Botha rejected the idea. Lord Kitchener requested that De la Rey meet with him at Klerksdorp on 11 March 1902 for a parley. The two enemies formed a bond of friendship which gave De la Rey confidence in the sincerity of the British proposals. Diplomatic efforts to find a way out of the conflict continued and eventually led to an agreement to hold peace talks at Vereeniging, in which De la Rey took part and urged peace. The belligerents signed the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902. De la Rey and General Botha visited England and the United States later in the same year. The Boers, promised eventual self-government (granted in 1906 and 1907 for the Transvaal and Orange Free State respectively), received £3,000,000 compensation, while acknowledging the sovereignty of Edward VII. After the war De la Rey travelled to Europe with Louis Botha and Christiaan de Wet to raise funds for the impoverished Boers whose families and farms had been devastated. In 1903 he was in India and Ceylon, persuading the prisoners of war interned there to take the oath of allegiance and return to South Africa. Finally he returned to his own farm with his wife and remaining children. Jacoba had spent most of the war trekking in the veld with her children and a few faithful servants; she subsequently wrote a book about her wanderings, Myne Omzwervingen en Beproevingen Gedurende den Oorlog (1903), which was translated into English as "A Woman’s Wanderings and Trials During the Anglo-Boer War" translated by Lucy Hotz, and published in London (1903).

In 1907 De la Rey was elected to the new Transvaal Parliament, and he was one of the delegates to the National Convention which led to the Union of South Africa in 1910. He became a Senator and supported Louis Botha, the first Prime Minister, in his attempts to unite Boer and British. An opposing faction led by Hertzog wished to establish republican government as soon as possible and resisted co-operation with the British, while promoting an increasingly bitter racism that would come to fruit in later years.Serious violence broke out in 1914 when white miners on the Rand clashed with police and troops over the use of black miners. De la Rey commanded the government forces and the strikes were put down, but a dangerous atmosphere had formed.

With the outbreak of the First World War, a crisis ensued when Louis Botha agreed to send troops to take over the German colony of South West Africa (now Namibia). Many Boers were opposed to fighting for Britain and against Germany. Also, many were of German descent and Germany had been sympathetic to their struggle so they looked to De la Rey for leadership. In Parliament he advocated neutrality and stated that he was utterly opposed to war unless South Africa was attacked. Nevertheless he was persuaded by Botha and Jan Smuts not to take any actions which might arouse the Boers. De la Rey appears to have been torn between loyalty to his comrades-in-arms, most of whom had joined the Hertzog faction, and his sense of honour.

Siener van Rensburg attracted large crowds with accounts of his visions in which he saw the whole world consumed by war and the end of the British Empire. On 2 August he told of a dream in which he saw General De la Rey returning home bare-headed in a carriage adorned with flowers, while a black cloud with the number 15 on it poured down blood. The excited Boers took this as a sign that De la Rey would be triumphant, but van Rensburg himself believed the dream warned of death.

On 15 September 1914 an old comrade General C.F. Beyers, Commandant-General of the armed forces, resigned his commission and sent his car to fetch De la Rey from Johannesburg to Pretoria as he wished to consult with him. The two generals then set out that evening for Potchefstroom military camp where General JCG Kemp had also resigned. They encountered several police roadblocks but refused to stop; the roadblocks had in fact been set to capture the Foster gang. At Langlaagte the police fired on the speeding car and a bullet struck De la Rey's back, ending his life; his last words were dit is raak ('It hit'). He returned to his Lichtenburg farm as van Rensburg had predicted. Many Boers were convinced he had been deliberately assassinated, while others could not believe that he would have joined a rebellion, breaking his oath. According to Beyers the plan was to co-ordinate the simultaneous resignation of all the senior officers in protest at the attack on South West Africa. The theory of a government assassination holds sway to this day.

Not long after De la Rey's funeral the short-lived Maritz Rebellion broke out and De Wet; Beyers; General Maritz, commander of a force on the border of the German colony; Kemp; and other Boer veterans took up arms again but most of the army remained loyal and the rebellion was swiftly put down by Botha and Smuts. The rebels were pardoned just two years later by Botha in the interests of national reconciliation. While De la Rey would probably have been quite capable of taking to the field again at 67, it seems unlikely he would have gone against his word, especially as he had played such a leading role in bringing about the peace of Vereeniging. De la Rey was buried in the Lichtenburg graveyard, where a bronze bust by sculptor Fanie Eloff adorns his grave. De la Rey's home on Elandsfontein was demolished during the Boer War, but was rebuilt on the same foundation in 1902. The Voortrekkers movement placed a small memorial to him on his farm. De la Rey's equestrian statue on the De la Rey square of Lichtenburg's city hall, was sculpted by a town resident, Hennie Potgieter

The Battle of Blood River

 Battle of Blood River

The Battle of Blood River (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated 10,000–15,000 Zulu attackers on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to three thousand of king Dingane's soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Trekker commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius himself.
In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River in January 1840, prince Mpande finally defeated Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe, and was subsequently crowned as new king of the Zulus by his alliance partner Andries Pretorius. After these two battles of succession, Dingane's prime minister and commander in both the Battle of Maqonqe and the Battle of Blood River, general Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane on account of high treason. General Ndlela had been the personal protector of prince Mpande, who after the Battles of Blood River and Maqongqe, became king and founder of the Zulu dynasty.


The Trekkers called Voortrekkers after 1880 decided to dethrone Zulu chief Dingane kaSenzangakhona after the betrayal murder of chief Trekker leader Piet Retief, his entire entourage, and some of their women and children living in temporary wagon encampments during 1838.
On 6 February 1838, two days after the signing of a negotiated land settlement deal between Retief and Dingane at UmGungundlovu, which included Trekker access to Port Natal in which Britain had imperial interest, Dingane invited Retief and his party into his royal residence for a beer-drinking farewell. The accompanying request for the surrender of Trekker muskets at the entrance was taken as normal protocol when appearing before the king. While the Trekkers were being entertained by Dingane's dancing soldiers, Dingane suddenly accused the visiting party of witchcraft. Dingane's soldiers then proceeded to impale all Retief's men, lastly clubbing to death Retief, while leaving the Natal treaty in his handbag intact.
Immediately after the UmGungundlovu massacre, Dingane sent out his impis (regiments) to attack several Trekker encampments at night time, killing an estimated 500 men, women, children, and servants, most notably at Blaukraans.


Help arrived from farmers in the Cape Colony, and the Trekkers in Natal subsequently requested the pro-independence Andries Pretorius to leave the Cape Colony, in order to dethrone chief Dingane.
After the Battle of Blood River, the Dingane-Retief treaty was found on Retief's bodily remains, providing a driving force for an overt alliance against Dingane between Zulu prince Mpande and Pretorius.


On 26 November 1838, Andries Pretorius was appointed as general of a wagon commando directed against Dingane at UmGungundlovu, which means "the secret conclave of the elephant". By December 1838, Zulu prince Mpande and 17,000 followers had already fled from Dingane, who was seeking to assassinate Mpande. In support of prince Mpande as Dingane's replacement, Pretorius' strategy was to target Dingane only. To allow prince Mpande to oust king Dingane through military might, Pretorius had first to weaken Dingane's personal military power base in UmGungundlovu. Dingane's royal residence at UmGungundlovu was naturally protected against attack by hilly and rocky terrain all around, as well as an access route via Italeni passing through a narrow gorge called a defile.


Earlier on 9 April 1838, a Trekker horse commando without ox wagons, thereafter called the "Flight Commando", had unsuccessfully attempted to penetrate the UmGungundlovu defence at nearby Italeni, resulting in the loss of several Trekker lives. Trekker leader Hendrik Potgieter had abandoned all hope of engaging Dingane in UmGungundlovu after losing the battle of Italeni, and subsequently had migrated with his group out of Natal. To approach UmGungundlovu via the Italeni defile with ox wagons would force the wagons into an open column, instead of an enclosed laager as successfully employed defensively at Veglaer on 12 August 1838.


The military commander during Dingane's attack on Veglaer, was Ndlela kaSompisi. The highly experienced general Ndlela had served under Shaka, and was also prime minister and chief advisor under Dingane. Ndlela with his 10,000 troops had retreated from Veglaer, after three days and nights of fruitless attempts to penetrate the enclosed Trekker wagon laager.


General Ndlela personally protected prince Mpande whom Pretorius later crowned as Zulu king in 1840 from Dingane's repeated assassination plans. King Dingane desired to have his half brother Mpande, the only prince with children, eliminated as a threat to his throne. Prince Mpande was married to Msukilethe, a daughter of general Ndlela.
General Ndlela, like Pretorius the promotor of prince Mpande, was responsible for Dingane's UmGungundlovu defence during the Trekkers' second attack attempt under Pretorius in December 1838.
Given general Ndlela's previous defence and attack experience at Italeni and Veglaer during April 1838 and August 1838 respectively, Ndlela's tactical options were limited. Proven UmGungundlovu defence tactics were to attack Trekker commandos in the rocky and hilly terrain on the narrowing access route at Italeni, thereby neutralising the advantages mounted riflemen had over spear-carrying foot soldiers. Ndlela had to let Pretorius come close to UmGungundlovu at Italeni, and lure the Trekkers into attack.
Ndlela was not to attack the Trekkers when they were in a defensive wagon laager position, especially not during the day. The problem for Pretorius was that he had somehow to find a way to make Dingane's soldiers attack him in a defensive laager position at a place of his choice, far away from UmGungundlovu and Italeni.


On 6 December 1838, 10 days before the Battle of Blood River, Pretorius and his commando including Alexander Biggar as translator had a meeting with friendly Zulu chiefs at Danskraal, so named for the Zulu dancing that took place in the Zulu kraal that the Trekker commando visited.
With the intelligence received at Danskraal, Pretorius became confident enough to propose a vow, which demanded the celebration, by the commando and their posterity, of the coming victory over Dingane. The so-called covenant included that a church would be built in honour of God, should the commando somehow be successful and reach UmGungundlovu alive in order to diminish the power of Dingane. Building a church in Trekker emigrant context was symbol for establishing a settled state, like the Republic of Natalia, which was established during 1840, when the Dingane-Retief treaty was implemented under king Mpande.
After the meeting with friendly Zulu chiefs at Danskraal, Pretorius let the commando relax and do their washing for a few days at Wasbank till 9 December 1838. From Wasbank they slowly and daily moved closer to the site of the Battle of Blood River, practicing laager defence tactics every evening for a week long. Then, by halting his advance towards UmGungundlovu on 15 December 1838, 40 km before reaching the defile at Italeni, Pretorius had eliminated the Italeni terrain trap.


On 15 December 1838, after the Trekker wagons crossed the Buffalo River, 50 kilometres (31 mi) away from their target UmGungundlovu via the risky Italeni access route, an advance scouting party including Pretorius brought news of large Zulu forces arriving nearby. While Cilliers wanted to ride out in attack, Pretorius declined the opportunity to engage Dingane's soldiers far away from their base and Italeni. Instead Pretorius built a fortified Wagon Laager on terrain of his own choosing, in the hope that general Ndlela would attack it like Veglaer.

As the site for the overnight wagon camp, Pretorius chose a defensible area next to a hippo pool in the Ncome River that provided excellent rear protection. The open area to the front provided no cover for an attacking force, and a deep dry river bed protected one of the wagon laager flanks. As usual, the ox wagons were drawn into a protective enclosure or laager. Movable wooden barriers that could be opened quickly were fastened between each wagon to prevent intruders, and two cannon were positioned.
Mist settled over the wagon site that evening. According to Afrikaner traditions, the Zulu were afraid to attack in the night due to superstitions about the lamps which the Boers hung on sjamboks [whip-stocks] around the laager. Whether or not there is any truth in this, historian S.P. Mackenzie has speculated that the Zulu held back until what they perceived as the necessary numbers had arrived.
During the night of 15 December, 6 Zulu regiments or 6,000 Zulu soldiers led by Dambuza (Nzobo) crossed the Ncome river and started massing around the encampment, while the elite forces of senior general Ndlela did not cross the river. Ndlela thereby split Dingane's army in two.
On 16 December, dawn broke on a clear day, revealing that "'all of Zululand sat there'", said one Trekker eyewitness. But General Ndlela and his crack troops, the Black and White Shields, remained on the other side of the river, observing Dambuza's men at the laager from a safe position across the hippo pool. According to the South African Department of Art and Culture:
"In ceremonies that lasted about three days, izinyanga zempi, specialist war doctors, prepared izinteleze medicines which made warriors invincible in the face of their opponents."
This could explain why Dambuza's forces were sitting on the ground close to the wagon laager when the Trekkers opened fire during the day.
Only Dambuza's regiments repeatedly stormed the laager unsuccessfully. The attackers were hindered by a change introduced during Shaka's rule that replaced most of the longer throwing spears with short stabbing spears. In close combat the stabbing spear provided obvious advantages over its longer cousin. A Zulu eyewitness said that their first charge was mown down like grass by the single-shot Boer muskets.


The Trekkers brought to bear their full firepower by having their women, children and servants reload other muskets, allowing a single shooter and a band of servants to fire a shot approximately every 5 seconds. Buckshot was used to maximise casualties. Mackenzie claims that 200 indigenous servants looked after the horses and cattle and helped load muskets but no definite proof or witness of servants helping to reload is available. Writing in the popular Afrikaans magazine, Die Huisgenoot, a Dr. D.J. Kotze said that this group consisted of 59 "non-white" helpers and three English settlers with their black "followers".
After two hours and four waves of attack, with the intermittent lulls providing crucial reloading and resting opportunities for the Trekkers, Pretorius ordered a group of horsemen to leave the encampment and engage the Zulu in order to disintegrate their formations. The Zulu withstood the charge for some time, but rapid losses led them to scatter. The Trekkers pursued their fleeing enemies and hunted them down for three hours. Cilliers noted later that "we left the Kafirs lying on the ground as thick almost as pumpkins upon the field that has borne a plentiful crop."


Bantjes recorded that about 3,000 dead Zulu had been counted, and three Trekkers were wounded.[9] During the chase, Pretorius was wounded in his left hand by an assegaai (Zulu spear).
Of the 3,000 dead Zulus, two were princes, leaving Ndlela's favourite prince Mpande as frontrunner in the subsequent battle for the Zulu crown.
Four days after the Battle of Blood River, the Trekker commando arrived at Dingane's great kraal Mgungundlovu (near present day Eshowe), only to find it deserted and ablaze. The bones of Retief and his men were found and buried where a memorial stands today.


Afterwards the clash was commemorated as having occurred at Blood River (Bloedrivier). 16 December is a public holiday in South Africa; before 1994 it was known as "the Day of the Vow", "the Day of the Covenant" and "Dingaan's Day"; but today it is "the Day of Reconciliation".
Liewe Volksgenoot-vriende; Die vergadering vandag met die SA Menseregtekommissie in Houghton was nog 'n taak wat ons as u verteenwoordigers namens u (en onsself) moes afhandel. Die Voorsitter is besig om vandag se gebeure op te som en nadat ek en Raadslid Geldenhuys ook ons insette gemaak het, sal die verslag aan u vrygestel word vir u welwillende aandag.
Al wat ek op hierdie stadium wil sê, is dat ons niks op 'n skinkbord gaan kry nie. Om die droom van 'n eie onafhanklike staat te verwesentlik, gaan harde, baie harde werk kos. Baie dankie vir al die gebede wat ons vandag gedra het, ons het dit nodig gehad. Boeregroete.