January 1997 Newsletter



The hocus-pocus way that claims aremade - especially if it relates to indigenous beliefs and customs- are well known to most South Africans. One recent example whichattracted world wide attention, was the claim made by Chief Gcaleka that the skull that he brought back from Scotland, belonged to that of Chief Hintsa's, one of his forefathers.

Prof Philip Tobias of Wits University, world renown Anthropologist, did some extensive tests and announced that the skull which was brought back belonged to an European female and not to Chief Hintsa. Chief Gcaleka reacted strongly to this announcement and declared that the skull investigated by prof Tobias, was not the one he brought back from Scotland. He said his forefathers had informed him that the genuine skull was in the safe custody of four headmen.

The question arising out of this, is how, where and with what authority dit chief Gcaleka obtain this skull - regardless of whom it "belonged" to. Secondly how did this gruesome relic get through the custom gates? This indeed is some hocus-pocus with a difference.


Eighteen museums are to be reclassified as either as provincial or municipal museums. This will obviously put certain financial constrains on these museums and many projects that they had in mind will probably be scraped.

Col Frik Jacobs, curator of the Anglo Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein, recently appeared on the TV programme "Speël". (4 December 1996) In the interview with him, he said that the museum will play a key role in the Second Anglo Boer War Centenary. He pointed out that the museum had an excellent collection of computerised photographic material (30 000 items) and that it is currently busy with the preparation of various publications while other individual publications are planned. Referring to the growing interest showed by British regiments and researchers and film makers abroad in the Centenary, col Jacobs said this interest should be encouraged for the sake of tourism.

However, according to presenters of the programme, a recent report by a group of government consultants excludes the continued funding of the museum from state funds coming out of the budget of the Department Art, Culture, Science and Technology. Ms Elsabe Daniel, anchor person of the programme remarked in conclusion: " The status and survival or the most important source of information on this bloody period - the war museum of the Boer Republics - is now under threat".

Indications are that the funds needed for the continued existence of the museum (about R2 million) per anum will have to be generate from other sources such as the Free State Provincial Government's annual budget. The museum generates about 2% of its capital needed.

In an interview with LOROSHAB Col Jacobs pointed out that in the White paper on Museums, nothing has yet has been finalised, except that there will only be two museums with National status.


Fort Klapperkop Museum is due to open shortly with a new renovated image. The curator of the Fort, Dr. Lidia de Waal has for the past few months been extremely busy in revamping this historical fort to make it user friendly.

"We are presently waiting for the apointment of an specialist so that he or she can really start with the exhibition of the history of the fort. Certain casemates such as the "stal" and "amunitie" will be completely restored to its original state. Other rooms will be upgraded with a new ceiling and electricity to make it more user friendly. In the engine room there are still parts of the original generator. With the help of a sponsor we would like to have this restorered to its original state", Dr. De Waal said.

The biggest casemate "Manschapen" which originally functioned as sleeping courters for the troops, will now house temporally exhibitions. It can also be rented for small functions such as seminars as it can accommodate groups of about fifty people.

A new restaurant is to open in the administration block on the terrace below the fort. A tender for the operation of restaurant was excepted earlier this year. According to Dr de Waal, the theme of the cuisine will be Old Cape Dutch recipe's and wine.

For steam engine enthusiasts the fort has a real challenge. On the territory there is the steam locomotive which played as major role in the Anglo Boer War with transport of troops. Sadly though, this has been vandalised with the theft of all its copper components. Steam engine enthusiast who wish to participate in the restoration of of this locomotive, or engineers in the restoration of the powerplant as well as people who wish to rent the facilities at the fort can contact Dr De Waal at (012) 344-1807/8 or Fax her at (012) 323-0893

Fort Klapperkop is already open to the public. The entrance fee is R2 per person. In due course it will have a geolocical deorama of Pretoria and educational boards of Pretoria. The fort has permanent security guards to insure that it will not again become targets of vandalists.


Die Militêre Fortifikasie van Pretoria 1880 - 1902 deur Anton van Vollenhoven .'n Studie in Historiese Argeologie, uitgegee deur Heinekor. Prys R65.

Anton van Vollenhoven het geen bekendstelling nodig as dit kom by die fortifikasie van Pretoria nie. Hierdie boek is die kulminasie van sowat vyf jaar se volgehoue studie in die onderwerp en nie minder as dertig van die belangrikste fortifikasies van van Pretoria word in die fynste besonderhede behandel nie. Die boek behandel die Eerste en die Tweede Anglo-Boere Oorlog gesien uit die perspektief van verdediging en strategie. Die navorsingsmateriaal wat in die skryf daarvan gebruik is, berus grotendeels op ongepubliseerde eertebron argivale materiaal en afleidinge wat die skrywer gemaak het in sy eie argelolgiese opgrawings op die verskillende terreine.

Die boek is ryklik versier met swart en wit historiese foto's en bied pakkende leesstof vir enige historikus - veral vir diegene wat die Anglo Boere-Oorlog as hul studievak het. ' n Engelse weergawe van die boek sal moontlik aanstaande jaar verskyn.


Historians in the period before 1880.

During the reign of the United East India Co. (1652 -1795) nothing of real note was produced in the way of military historical writing. This was likewise the case during the first British occupation of the Cape (1795-1806) and the situation remained virtually unchanged through the second British occupation (1806-1836). In the course of the Great Trek (18-36-1854) and the Cape Colonial period from from 1836 up to the end of the 19th century, military historical writing in South Africa remained at a low ebb.

During the period covering the nine Frontier wars (1779-1878) relatively few military chronicles were published. In this respect T. R. Godlonton and E. Irving made a credible contribution with A narrative of the Kaffir War of 1850-51 (1851). Other contributions of note were G. Cathcart's official accounts which were included in Correspondence of Lieut. General the Hon. Sir George Cathcart K.C.B., relative to his military operations in Kaffirland until the termination of the Kaffir War, and to his measures for the future maintenance of peace on that frontier, and the protection and welfare of the people of South Africa (1857). This period also saw the production of a few regimental histories such as R. Cannon's History of the Cape Mounted Riflemen (1842) and Campaigning in Kaffirland (1853) by W.R. King.

Great Brittain's involvement in Natal aroused the interest of military historians. Particular attention was given to the Anglo-Zulu War uprising of 1888. Noteworthy works in this respect were The story of the Zulu campaign (1880) by W. Ashe and E.V.W. Edgell, The Zulus and the British frontiers (1879) by T.J. Lucas and A. Wilmot's A History of the Zulu War (1880). D.R. Morris produced a popular work entitled The washing of the speares: a history of the rise of the Zulu nation under Shaka and ists fall in the Zulu War of 1879 (1880). Far from restricting themselves to mere accounts of military campaigns and battles, some military historians aproached theire subject from a broad social and political perspective. F.E. Colenso's critical work, The ruin of Zululand: an account of British doings in Zululand since the invasion of 1879 (1884-1885) is case in point. (With acknowledgement to SAMHIC's latest newletter)


VOORTSPRUITEND uit die wye belangstelling wat die huldiging van die Anglo Boere Oorlog reeds by verskillende provinsies ontlok het, is die Gauteng Streekkomitee op 21 November gestig.

Reeds met die eerste vergadering van die komitee is besluit dat die Streekkomitee in ooreenstemmng met 'n besluit op nasionale vlak om die premiers van die verskillende provinsies te versoek om as beskermhere op te tree, mnr Toyo Sexwale te versoek om as beskermheer vir die Gauteng Provinsie op te tree.

Gegee die geografiese uitgestrektheid is ook besluit om Gauteng in drie herdenkingsgebiede te verdeel, naamlik Noordelike Gauteng wat Preotoria en die omgewing insluit, Sentraal Gauteng, wat hoofsaaklik sal bestaan uit die Witwtaersrand en Suidelike Gauteng wat die Vaaldriehoek en Heidelberg omgewing uitmaak.

Met die werklas wat voorsien word, is die samestelling van verskeie komitees geformuleer. Hulle is onder meer toere; slagvelde; bemaring en skakeling (waarby gevoeg is mediabetrokenheid); museums en uitstallings; aandenkings; onderwys; navorsing en publikasies; fondgenerering; grafte; stadsraad en kuns, en laastens, plaaslike feeste. LOROSAHB sal in die verband ageer as sameroeper van die toere en slagvelde komitees en behulpsaam wees met Navorsing en publikasies.

Soos met die loodsing vergadering het die doelstellings van die Streekkomitee weer onder die loep gekom. Dr. D.J.C. Greyling het daarop gewys dat kol Frik Jacobs met die lodvergadering twee doelstellings genoem het vir herdenking geleenthede. Hiervolgens moet die afsluiting fees wat in Pretoria plaasvind met die verrigtinge by Melrose house, gerig wees op versoening. Die Boer en Brit is lankal reeds versoen en gedagtig aan die lewensverliese gely is, hoort die tema eerder een van huldiging as versoening te wees, het hy aangevoer. Die denke is sterk deur die komitee ondersteun en die aanbeveling sal by die nasionale komitee gedoen word.

'n Interessante voorstel was die bou van 'n opelug mini-slagvelde terrein-kaart. Die grond waar so 'n terreinkaart gebou kan word moet egter nog bekom word. 'n Ander heel lofwaardige aspek was die bereidwilligheid van die Raportryerskorps om van meet af sy gewig in te gooi in ondersoek projekte of in die moontlike borg van 'n radio vasvra program. Ampsdraers van die streeksvergadering is dr. Deone Prinsloo (voositter) dr. D.C.J. Greyling en maj Martins (ondervoorsitters), mnr J.G. du Plessis (sekretaris).

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