Anglo Boer War Centenary
: "The Boer forces had a potential of 54 000 men but never more than 40 000 were empIoyed at once, whilst the British forces grew to 450 000
at the height of hostilities.
Casualties were as follows:
British soldiers: 7 792 (killed) 13 250 (deaths from disease)
Boers: 6 000
Women and children in Concentration Camps: 26 370
Blacks in Concentration Camps: 20 000+ (Official British figure: 14 154)
Of special importance is the final phase of the war, after the capitals Bloemfontein and Pretoria were captured and the Boer forces resorted to guerrilla warfare. In an effort to contain the guerillas the British adopted a two pronged strategy: the so-called scorched earth policy and the removal of the Boer women and children to concentration camps.
It was during this phase of the war that the suffering of the Black people intensified. Since the farms were destroyed, livestock killed and crops burnt, the farm labourers and their families were taken to refugee camps Since there was also fear amongst the British that those Biack farmers who farmed independently may supply the Boer commandos with victuals or that their livestock might be commandeered, these farmers were taken to concentration camps.
As the main reason for the war was the British desire to gain control of the gold mines in the Witwatersrand,
there was a need to build a Iabour force with which to reopen the mines as soon as the state of hostilities allowed it. Forced labour camps were introduced and Black labourers were concentrated therein.
The condition in these camps were appalling, Epidemic diseases, malnutrition, insufficient medical care and dreadful sanitary arrangements resulted in the high death rate. In the white camps the death toll rose to 26 370 of the approximately 100 000 inmates.
In the Black camps the official British figure was just over 14 000, but rrecent research proves that a figure in excess of 20 000 deaths among the 120 000 inmates of these camps is acceptable.
" Gold then - and oil in Iraq now ?