The British journalist, WT Stead, wrote this about the concentration
camps: "Every one of these children who died as a result of the halving of
their rations, in order to exert pressure on their family still on the battle-
field, was purposefully murdered. The system of half rations stands exposed
and stark as a cold-blooded deed of state policy employed with the purpose
of ensuring the surrender of people whom we were not able to defeat on the
Despite the English claims that the concentration camps were "voluntary
refugee camps" the following questions must be asked: From whom did
the refugees flee? If it was ‘voluntary’, why did the women and children
have to be dragged to the concentration camps? Why should the
"voluntary refugee camps" be enclosed by barbed wire fences and the
inmates be overseen by armed wardens? Why would one of the camp
commanders make the following statement: "The wardens were under
orders not to interfere with the inmates, unless they should try to
escape."? What kind of "voluntary refugee" would want to escape?
Fleeing women & children
children in concentration camps
Mother & child in concentration camp
Mothers & children in concentration camp
They are not buried here; they are planted.
And they will forever be growing in the hearts
of the Boer people.
scorched earth policy
scorched earth policy - sheep killed
Bodies in trench at Spioenkop
War memorial at Spioenkop
Women’s monument (Vrouemonument) in Bloemfontein
Kings, rulers of
are seen standing
while the helpless
(2 Boer republics)
are burnt at the
stake by John
While the two main forces in the
Anglo-Boer War 2 were white, it
was not an exclusively white war.
At least 15 000 Blacks were used
as combatants by the British,
especially as scouts to track down
Boer commandoes, and as armed
block house guards, but also in
non-combatant roles by both
British and Boer forces as wagon
black dispatch rider
Mafekeng black ‘soldiers’
Black people suffered severely as result of the British “scorched earth policy” during which those
who lived on Boer farms were removed to concentration camps, as were the women and children of
their Boer employers.
The rural economy was destroyed as crops were burnt and livestock butchered.
Displaced and captured civilians (black and white) were forced into ‘refugee camps', a total
misnomer, because usually they did not seek refuge in the camps but were rounded up by the British
forces and forced into the camps, which soon became known as ‘concentration camps' - separated
along racial lines .
Field-Marshal Lord Roberts had an ulterior motive in putting Blacks into camps, namely to make
them work, either to grow crops for the troops or to dig trenches, be wagon drivers or work as
miners once the gold mines became partly operational again.
They did not receive rations, hardly any medical support or shelter and were expected to grow their
own crops. They could exchange labour for food or buy mealie meal at a cheaper price.
The inmates of the Black camps, situated along railway lines and on the border, formed an early
warning system against Boer attacks on the British military's primary logistic artery – the railway
lines - and acted as scouts for British forces.
This strategy alienated Whites and Blacks from each other by furthering distrust between the two
population groups and was detrimental to racial harmony in South Africa after the war.
Black people were also affected by the war
Amakholwa (Christians) were
recruited to serve as scounts
during the siege of Ladysmith