Daniel Francois Malan (born 22 May 1874 – died 7 Feb 1959) commonly known as DF Malan. So who was DF Malan? He was the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954 and seen by many to be the champion of Afrikaner nationalism. His National Party Government came to power on the program of apartheid and began the comprehensive implementation of this policy, why you ask am I telling you this, well I find it ironic that the information for this Blog came from a black gent who worked as a policeman in the heady days of apartheid and as a policeman was responsible for ensuring the unjust laws against his very people were implemented as well as being policed, the fact that he prefers to be known as Malan is also to me very paradoxical.

Researching information for a book on Clarens that includes a chapter on Kgubestwana. I was asked to speak to a gent called Malan who works for the local municipality. Malan, as already mentioned was a policeman in Clarens from 1972-1976 and then a detective for 24 years after that. On his retirement from the Police force he joined the municipality in Clarens. Talking to Malan was very interesting as well as an eye opener as to how black people lived in the days of apartheid. Now I was brought up with the Nationalist Party in power, cadets, shooting practices, “red under very bed” indoctrination and did I mingle with blacks “no” not unless they worked for the family as a maid or garden boy, did I care that they lived in sub standard houses or in poverty “no” to be honest I didn’t, did I prosper more for being a white in SA? “I suppose I did” but I also worked hard for what I have.

“But you had a head start” I was told not to long ago by a black resident of Clarens and while I tried to argue that I didn’t, his argument actually made sense, “however I digress” Malan explained to me some of the laws that were in force at the peak of Apartheid, that I was not aware of or just did not give a damn about.

So how hard was it as a black person or a family living in Clarens during those days, well Clarens was not as bad as in the cities, but civil liberties were still heavily restricted and policed even in such a small village that in the mid 70’s probably had no more than 100 white residents and a maximum of 70 houses in the Kgubestwana Township. To be fair to Malan many of the laws were policed by the Bethlehem Municipal police rather than the four (two white two black) Clarens police force. The men had access to one landrover and the station only being open from 7.30am - 4.30pm daily. “so what happened if there was a problem after 4.30 pm” I asked – Malan explained “in those days if we had 20 cases a month it was like a crime wave, cases included major crimes like riding a bicycle at night without a light. There was always one of the white policemen on standby and if he was needed then the telephone exchange would contact him and if serious enough he would take the one vehicle and collect his partners to respond to the call”.

People had to carry a dompas (literally translated a dumb pass), the dompas was documentation given to blacks to prove that they had been given permission to live or work in parts of white South Africa and to be found without it on your person meant arrest and probable jail time.

During the 70’s there was a strict curfew in place and as an African you had to be of the streets by 9pm unlike Bethlehem that had a siren to advise that the curfew was in force, Clarens black residents were aware that it was unlawful to be on the streets in the village after 9 and if caught would be arrested, so no siren was necessary. The task of keeping the street “white by night” was the duty of the Municipal police that were based in Bethlehem but had Clarens as part of their jurisdiction. Malan also explained that a black person could be summarily arrested for the following reasons

· Not having a job (yep if you did not have a job you would be arrested taken to court and fined “how would you pay the fine”?)
· Leaving his job without employers permission
· Not having your “dompas”
· Not having a permit for someone to be sleeping I your house

Its perhaps this point that I thought was perhaps one of the harshest laws, Malan explained that if you had a house in Kgubestwana you had a permit with your name, your wife’s name and any children, if your brother or sister also had a house in the township but decide to sleep over at your house , you had to get permission from the police, if not and the municipal police raided the house at 3am in the morning (which they often did) and found that person there, they would be arrested, even though they also lived I a house in the township “just not that house”

Kgubetswana in the 70’s and early 80’s did not have the number of Shebeens like there are today (some 9 in the different townships today) in fact homebrewed beer was what was sold (illegally in most cases). If you had a celebration that needed beer, you would have to get permission from the police to brew for that occasion, and no more than 20 litres, anything over 20 litres and you were arrested.

Travel to and from Bethlehem a mere 35 kms away was also a problem for many black residents with the bus being the only link with Bethlehem. The bus left Clarens at 6am in the morning and returned from Bethlehem at 2pm, in the mid 70’s the bus fare was 46 cents per person one way. Like the rest of the country the bus was also segregated with a small section at the front portioned of for the white passengers. I was told that at certain times of the year, such as Christmas the bus was very busy and even if there were no whites on the bus no black person was permitted to sit on the seats reserved for white and the bus would have to make a double trip to cater for all the Kgubetswana residents.

This Blog is just a small taste of what life was like as a black resident in Clarens as well as the country as a whole and I am sure there are many of you reading this that are young enough not to have grown up during the 60’s to mid 80’s like some of us older folk, to be honest if I had of been subject to the laws that were in force in those days there is a very good chance that many of us may have also protested and even taken up arms against the government of the day.

Remembrance day

While South African do not wear poppies for Remberance day i thought that this article as to the history of the poppy would be interesting to some of you "Blog heads"

Why are we asking this now?

Yesterday saw the official launch of this year's Royal British Legion poppy appeal. Dame Vera Lynn, 92, joined soprano Hayley Westenra in a rendition of the classic wartime song "We'll Meet Again" in front of the crowd in London's Horse Guards Parade, accompanied by the Regimental Band of the Irish Guards and flanked by four troopers from the Queen's Life Guards.

Why do we wear a poppy?

An American teacher, Moina Bell Michael, inspired by John McCrae's 1915 poem In Flanders Fields, began selling silk poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. McCrae, a doctor serving in the First World War with the Canadian Armed Forces, was moved to write the poem about the poppies that grew after the aftermath and devastation of the bloody fighting in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. "Take up our quarrel with the foe; To you from failing hands we throw, The torch; be yours to hold it high, If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, In Flanders Fields," he wrote.

In 1920 the poppy was proclaimed as the United States' national emblem of Remembrance and the following year Madame Guerin, a Frenchwoman, sold millions to raise funds for rehabilitation in areas of France. She also sent women to London to sell poppies and persuaded Earl Haig to adopt it for the British Legion. The first official Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921.

What is different about this year?

The most memorable image of Armistice Day last year was the sight of the three surviving British First World War veterans laying wreaths at the Cenotaph. Henry Allingham, 112, who served in the Royal Air Force, Harry Patch, 110, formerly of the Army, and Bill Stone, 108, who was in the Royal Navy, led the silence. It was to be their final remembrance. All three died this year, with Mr Patch, the last British survivor to have fought in the trenches, passing away on 25 July.

Is the poppy relevant to the veterans of today?

Over the past few years the Royal British Legion has been at pains to dispel the belief that it only helps elderly veterans and remind the public that a new generation is coming home from war. For the first time this year the poster features an image of a coffin being repatriated from Afghanistan, in a hard-hitting campaign. Using the motto, "For their sake, wear a poppy", the appeal urges people to support troops wounded in Helmand and the families of those killed in the conflict.

How much money does Poppy Appeal raise?

Last year's poppy appeal raised almost £31m and it is hoping to exceed that figure this year. In 2008 the Royal British Legion raised £104.1m, almost half of which was from appeals, donations and legacies.

What is the role of the Royal British Legion?

The Legion, which currently has around 380,000 members, was founded in 1921 as a campaigning voice for the ex-Service community as a merger of four organisations: the Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers and The Officers' Association. Earl Haig, commander of the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele (who helped create more widows than most!), was one of the founders of the Legion. It was granted a Royal Charter on 29 May 1971 to mark its 50th anniversary which gives the Legion the privilege of the prefix "Royal".

Where does the money go?

The Legion currently spends more than £1m a week helping over 130,000 armed forces' dependents, as well as veterans and those bereaved, and is hoping to extend that to 160,000 beneficiaries this year. In 2008, it spent a total of £101.2m; on care services £18.4m, community welfare services £41.6m, Remembrance and ceremonial £3.2m and funds generation £23.9m. The charity says that for every pound raised, 80p goes towards achieving objectives while 6.6p goes on support costs.

Who is eligible for help?

There are 9.5 million people eligible for help in Britain because they are serving or have served in the armed forces for at least seven days or are a dependant of someone who has. The charity's work varies from offering home help to elderly and disabled veterans to campaigning for higher compensation payments for the wounded.

While it continues to support veterans from previous conflicts, it also helps survivors and grieving families of those killed in Afghanistan such as Royal Marine Lance Corporal Peter Dunning, 24, who lost both his legs in Helmand last year, and Hester Wright, 22, whose husband Damian, of the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, died in a roadside explosion in Afghanistan in 2007. The legion has helped her pay off debts, buy household goods and a school uniform for her six-year-old son Josh.

What is the protocol about wearing a poppy?

Some purists object to public figures such as politicians sporting poppies too early. Politicians have been wearing them since the beginning of this week even though the poppy-wearing period is supposed to run only from runs from the launch day (yesterday) to Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day.

Who makes poppies?

The origins of the Poppy Factory go back to 1922 when Major George Howson MC, a young infantry officer and engineer, founded the Disabled Society to help ex-Service men and women. He suggested to the British Legion that members should make poppies, and the artificial flowers were designed so that someone who had lost the use of one hand could still assemble them. With a grant of just £2,000 from the Unity Relief Fund, he set up a small factory in south London with five ex-servicemen. In a letter to his parents, he said: "I do not think it can be a great success, but it is worth trying. I consider the attempt ought to be made if only to give the disabled their chance." Today a team of 50 people – most of them disabled and service connected – work all year in a factory in Richmond in Surrey to make 38 million poppies, 5 million Remembrance petals, 900,000 crosses and 100,000 wreaths including those laid by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Why is there also a white poppy?

In 1933 the Women's Co-operative Guild introduced the White Poppy to remember the dead of all wars and to promote peace. The Peace Pledge Union took part in its distribution from 1934, and white poppy wreaths were laid from 1937. In 1986 prime minister Margaret Thatcher expressed her "deep distaste" for the symbol, and opponents argue that the traditional red poppy already encompasses the sentiments and the white one diverts funds for the Royal British Legion.

Is the power of the poppy diminishing?


* The need to help veterans of war and their families is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago

* War in Afghanistan and Iraq have generated huge public sympathy for servicemen and women

* The poppy is an enduring national symbol and an opportunity to express support for the services


* The symbolism relates to the First World War, a conflict from which there are now no veterans left

* The poppy is associated with elderly veterans while newer charities such as Help for Heroes resonate more with a younger generation

* Younger generations may prefer other ways to mark remembrance

"We are going to Loftus"

This be the battle cry of Wolverine and the Village idiot and will be up to the day of the final and remember you heard it here first “The Cheetahs will beat the Bulls at Loftus on the 31st of October 2009”

So what you all been up to this week? “Won the lotto, found a new friend, Partied till you collapsed or watched re-runs of 7de Laan” My week was Ok’ish, no fireworks but not to bad.

Braai season is upon us we have been to 3 Braai’s this week Thursday was at Andre and Annetjies, Friday at our place and Saturday at Werners and that was an awesome partaaaaay, lots of Lekker locals so if you didn’t crack an invite then you missed out big time, Dop and a Chop is awesome, “Me like it a lot”. On the OFM Mumbo Jumbo Blog I read a newspaper article that the SA government is going to legislate Braai fires “yes you heard right” to reduce carbon emissions Wood and Charcoal Braai fires will be regulated by having us Tax payers pay R80 00 for a 3 month permit or R10 00 for a one of permit, the permits you will be able to buy at the local Post office “what happens if they are on strike” or if its after 4 and you and your mates decide to have an impromptu Braai”? the fines for illegal Braai fires will be R500 per incident and will be policed by the “Green Scorpions” an offshoot of the Department of environmental and tourism affairs. If its true, as I have my suspicions it’s a hoax, how will they police this, who came up with this idea and what next to tax us whiteys “a fart meter in the toilet”? (Go to and then click on the Mumbo Jumbo Blog for the article about the braai fires)

Marquad had their Makietie this Saturday, Wolverine and I were unfortunately not able to make it due to previous commitments “root canal, and laser tattoo removal treatment” I am sure however the 25 tourists enjoyed themselves thoroughly, YES I am still the Moer in that Clarens did not win the Tourism village of the year and will be for a long time to come. Wolverine in fact paid a visit on Tuesday and he said it was nothing to write home about (he did not even take photos) only amusing item he saw was an old concrete dam at the towns entrance that had “Marquad is a dam fine place” spray painted on it. Well Marquard may be dam fine But Clarens is the undisputed destination of choice for visitors to this fine Province and we have a proper dam at our entrance, not a cement one. “Yep still the moer in”

Bokpoort had a Beerfest this Saturday and I had to go and assist Wolverine who decided to see what would happen if the chain came off and he was travelling along a dirt road at speed, well he is ok,” nothing that a bit of skin grafting wont fix”, had a couple of beers with me mate and then headed back home, Methinks the Wolverine decided to partake of the delights that were on offer at Bokpoort instead of braaing
with his mates.

So Pareira is coming back to coach Bafana Bafana, I just find it amusing we paid him a fortune for the few months he was here, we paid him to go back home ( and was it not him that suggested Santana as a replacement coach, well if it was cannot be happy with his decision making process). Why not use a local coach? What is the fixation with African teams having to Play Brazilian style football, We play African style football, we wait for the ball to get to us, hoof it down the park and hopefully someone called “Sypho” kicks it in the net. To be honest I don’t see anyone turning Bafana Bafana around and if we win one match in the World Cup that will be a miracle. So good luck Pareira and enjoy the Millions you will be earning every month.

The Clarens Intermediate cricket team had another match on Monday and this time they played a good school, Must say we did not disgrace ourselves with the coach of the other school complimenting Mark and I on the teams performance, “not bad for a couple of part time coaches” We lost but put on a good fielding display, we have to work on the batting as we have no depth, but this I am sure mark will work on next year. I think we may also have made history with letting Rea play in the game; Rea is a young lady that comes to the practices and has shown commitment. I think that it was a great thing to see the other team clap he from the field when she was bowled for 1 run. Both Mark and I as well the headmistress Annetjie are very proud of her, unfortunately we did not have a camera with us to record this auspicious occasion.

The Village idiot Blog is now being used by overseas persons, I received an e-mail from a lady who was Googling Clarens and came across my site, the lady wanted to know about schools in the area: “First Clarens, then the World”

No rugby this weekend but Valentino Rossi did become World champ today, Natalie and Stefan from the Clarens Brewery were particularly happy as they are big fans of the “Doctor” so he has won the 125 cc world championship, the 250 cc World championship and the 500 cc world championship 7 times.

Seems that a poll was taken in the Godd old U S of A and 75% of them don’t believe in Global warming and this from the country that gave us AL Gore and An inconvenient truth. Imagine if Al had not made that movie, then 100% of Yanks would not believe in the Ice caps meting etc: as my good friend Walter would say “Dumb Asses”

Sad news of the week was the passing of a long time resident Brigadier General Rob Crowther, Oom Rob’s service was held on Wednesday at the NG Kerk and the church was packed with locals as well as friends and family from further a field.

I always love it when I read stuff like this as the British press is always quick to point out other counties problems, especially South Africa. I Received this from a friend, and here I thought England was a Utopia, free medical care, great variety of jobs with great salaries (12 -1), the dole (should you not want a fantastic job), Glorious weather with sunshine at least 4 times a year and of course the biggie that all who flock to the island will tell you CRIME FREE, “Oops seems all those Sefricans flocking there and love it so much just perhaps where wrong”

London - "British police say permanently armed officers are patrolling crime-blighted London neighbourhoods, a major change in UK law enforcement. (“My God armed police in the UK, this cannot be, this must be a joke, England is SOOOOOOOOOOO safe”) London's police department said on Friday that a new unit was operating in a district of north London driven by gun battles between rival drug gangs and other areas that have suffered a wave of gangland shootings. British police have never routinely carried firearms on patrol. Guns are usually handled only by dedicated teams of police marksmen. Chief Inspector Neil Sharman said the new unit would allow London police to take "a more proactive approach to deal with weapons on our streets." Some lawmakers have however criticised the change, saying the tactic could exacerbate the use of firearms by criminals.

My wife was doing extra Afrikaans lessons with Gabby this week and they both burst into fits of laughter it seems that Gabby, instead of say “Ek wil n koek bak” said “Ek wil n boek kak” J

Now we may not like the Aussie’s due to the Cricket and Rugby rivalry, but this is just typical Aussie AND THIS GUY NEEDS A MEDAL

T. B. Bechtel, a City Councillor from Newcastle, Australia, was askedon a local live radio talk show, just what he thought about theallegations of torture of suspected terrorists.

His reply prompted his ejection from the studio, but to thunderousapplause from the audience. HIS STATEMENT: 'If hooking up one rag head terrorist prisoner's testicles to a carbattery to get the truth out of the lying little camel shagger will savejust one Australian life, then I have only three things to say,' 'Red is positive, Black is negative, and Make sure his nuts are wet.'

Another e-mail sent to me was this one that was published in a Nigerian newspaper recently, makes for very interesting reading.

South African experience

SIR: On Thursday October 1, 2009, the National Chairman of our great party Chief Bisi Akande; the Lagos State Chairman of the Party in Lagos, Chief Dele Ajomale; his wife; the representative of the Governor and my humble self left for South Africa to inaugurate the chapter of our party. Business finished on Saturday October 2 and 3, 2009 in both Pretoria and Johannesburg. We had Sunday October 4 to look around. It was my first visit to South Africa and what I saw stunned me.

Am I in Africa or Europe? Am I in America? Is this another Singapore? Could this be true? Where was Nigeria when South Africa was putting all these structures in place? If the white man did all these in South Africa why were the Nelson Mandelas of this world complaining? If South Africans got their independence on a platter of gold the way Nigeria got hers in 1960, would there have been all these structures I am seeing here today? Impossible! From what I saw on ground in South Africa, it looked as if all the companies and industries all over the world are physically present there. Ah! Nigeria has been left behind. South Africa is the potential and undisputable leader in Africa. Thanks to the white South Africans.

I came to the unhappy conclusion that the mosquitoes that drove the whites away from Nigeria in 1960 did a colossal and unmitigated damage to Nigerians. I again asked myself these questions: How many black Africans did the whites kill before surrendering power to them? How many Nigerians have been killed by Nigerian leaders since they took over power from the whites in 1960? Let us compare the figures. I am sure the supreme prize South Africans paid to have the South Africa I see today will be so infinitesimal compared with what our leaders have killed to remain in power in Nigeria.

What I am saying is that God should have allowed the whites to tarry for at least more 30 years in Nigeria and we would have been better for it. Mandela survived 27 years in prison because the white man was a better person. He could not have survived 10 years in prison in Nigeria.
My conclusion after seeing what I saw in South Africa is that the whites left Nigeria in a hurry, and that is why we are suffering today. Had the whites tarried in Nigeria, Nigeria would have been like South Africa today. I want the whites back in Nigeria!
Joe Igbokwe,Lagos.
Saying of the week comes from Wolverine who was hungry and then given a pizza to eat “This is going to go down like a homesick mole” here are a couple more.

· Is a chicken crossing the road poultry in motion?
· If you don't pay your exorcist, do you get repossessed ?
· Will a grenade thrown into a kitchen in France result in Linoleum Blownapart ?

Have a great week and dont forget Shout CHEETAHS on SATURDAY the 31st otherwise Wolverine and I will come and visit you.


The Village Idiot

Head them of at the pass

I still to this day have a thing for the US cavalry bugle call, this probably stems from when I was a kid living in the North of England and when the snow was 10 foot thick outside the front door, I could not (sorry lets re-phrase that “would not” go to school) I got to watch TV all day, my favourite programmes or movies were the Lone Ranger “Hi Ho silver”, Bonanza and any other cowboy and Indian movie, I was also absolutely fascinated with General Custer, the 7th Cavalry and their last stand at the Big Horn.

Picture the scene: early pioneers are crossing the plain in covered wagons to take them West and on to a better life, up on a distant hill a lone figure on a horse watches over them, soon to be joined by more men on horses and before you know it there is a ‘Whoop Whoop” and the sound of rifle fire as hostile Indians pour into the valley and start attacking the wagon train. At first there is panic and an attempt to outrun the attackers but then the wagons form a circle to fend off the attack, the Indians start circling the wagons and pour gunfire and arrows in to the laager women and children re-load rifles and the situation is getting precarious with Indians starting to breach the defences, just when you think all is lost……………………………..

In the distance you here the bugle calling the charge and a line of US cavalry with sabres held high on the charge, the cavalry flag flying proud and you just know that they will save the day.

I tend to read a lot and came across a book called “The History of the US cavalry” and it gave an interesting insight in to this specific unit, however I have always been fascinated with General Custer so I thought that I would put a piece together about this famous or infamous man. Before I get to that however do you know why American Indians are called Indians? Well it would seem that intrepid explorer Christopher Columbus was on the way to discover the West Indies (or so he thought) and when he landed in what is now America he immediately named the local inhabitants ‘Indians”

General George Custer was born in New Rumley Ohio 5 December 1839 he entered West Point at the beginning of the American civil war and due to the war the whole class was fast tracked (June 1861) to ensure the Union army had competent officers. It would seem that Custer was not the sharpest sabre in the armoury but what he lacked in classroom skills he more than made up in tenacity and bravado.

His first assignment was as a lieutenant in the 5th cavalry and on his arrival at the regiment took part in the first battle of Bull Run. In May 1862 Custer was promoted to Captain and in 1863 appointed brigadier general of volunteers and assigned to duty as commander of the Michigan brigade.

At Gettysburg his brigade together with hat of Gregg and McIntosh defeated General Stuart’s efforts to turn the left flank, for this action he was brevetted major in the US army. Custer continued to take part in battles and for his bravery and tenacity he was made brevet - colonel in September 1864, not a month later he was again promoted, this tine as major-general of volunteers. Mid 1865 he was promoted to brevet brigadier general of the US army. By November 1865 he was chief of cavalry a rank he held until he was mustered out of the volunteer service.

Custer asked for permission from President Johnson to accept a position from President Juarez to train the Mexican cavalry, this permission was denied, so Custer decided to accept a lieutenant colonelcy of the 7th cavalry instead. In November 1866 he joined his regiment at Fort Riley, Kansas and served on the plains until 1871. As a cavalry leader Custer soon earned a reputation of firmness bordering on cruelty – he had soldiers flogged, deserters were shot and miscreants were usually buried up to their necks in the ground.

In November of 1871 Custer and his 7th Cavalry were to inflict a huge defeat against the Cheyenne at the battle of Washita, this forced the Cheyenne to move back to their reservation, Custer was probably the most hated white man by that tribe. Later that year Custer and his men were ordered to Kentucky where they saw active service until 1873. The 7th were again re-assigned this time to Fort Rice in South Dakota, from here they were to accompany a expedition into the Yellowstone mountains, it was here that Custer had his first action against the Sioux and a few days later he engaged them again at the mouth of the Big Horn.

In Mid 1874 he was ordered to reconnoitre the Black Hills, this expedition was to lead to the opening of the hills to miners and frontiersmen, that in turn would lead to more conflict against the Indian tribes living in that area, specifically the Sioux. By 1876 11 tribes (mostly Sioux and Cheyenne) numbering close to 12000 were camped on the Little Big Horn River the government sent a punitive expedition out to subdue these tribes, with Custer and his regiment (some 600 strong) being tasked to pursue a certain trail and engage any enemy that he may encounter. Custer did not know it but he and his men rode out into history. His scouts reported the presence of an Indian village, but he did not know how big, discovering Indian scouts trailing him, he decided to attack and keeping an element of surprise. His experience dictated that the camp should be hot hard and fast from a number of directions and he therefore split up his men to do just that, Major Reno’s detachment were surprised and after the initial rush he was able to extradite himself and the survivors (some 90 of the original 175 men and scouts had been killed) Reno was joined by Captain Benteen who decided that he was going to stay with Reno and left Custer to fend for himself.

So it was that on the 25th of June 1876 Custer and his men rode towards a swarm of Indians whose bloodlust had been ?? with the attack on Reno and his men. Not one man of Custer’s column lived to tell what had happened and all accounts of the battle are either what was passed on by Indians at the battle as well as archaeological evidence. The Indians struck Custer from the rear and his left flank driving him and his men onto a low ridge with no shelter, dead horses were used to shelter behind. From Indian reports it would seem that 5 groups stood there ground against the massive Indian onslaught. Contrary to popular belief and as most painting depict not many Indians were on horseback, it did not take long for the superior numbers to overwhelm the 210 men and the end came very fast.

Crazy horse is reputed to have led an attack on the clump of men that George Custer was part of, who having been badly wounded had barricaded himself behind dead horses. A few men tried to make a dash for the river but were shot down, almost as quickly as the fight had started it ended, with the Indians crawling forward and finishing of any men that may still be alive. The battle had taken less than an hour and for Custer’s name to be carved into history forever more. At that stage Custer had managed to preside over one of the worst defeats in American history and in doing so achieved the immortal fame he craved after so much.

Crazy horse had no idea he had killed Custer and set about attacking Reno and Benteen, for the rest of that day and into the next Reno and Benteen’s scared and tired men, held out against overwhelming odds. At this stage no one was aware as to what had happened to Custer and his men and when a relief column reached the Big Horn some 2 days later they found a scene of horror that was to be burnt into the memory of every man that saw it. Most of the soldiers had been mutilated and scalped, Custer himself was stripped naked but had not been mutilated or scalped, some felt it was because the Indians feared or respected him, many however feel this was more an accident as none of the Indians knew Custer by sight and his famous long golden hair had been cut short prior to the campaign. Most of the dead were buried were they died, the only survivor was a wounded cavalry horse called “Comanche” who lived out his days as the mascot of the 7th cavalry until he died in 1891. Custer who had been buried at the Big Horn was himself re-interred at the West Point cemetery some years later.

The Indian wars were hard and a realistic account of these years do not often resemble the exhilarating Hollywood movies of the cavalryman, for the yellowlegs it was a hard and dangerous job, being called upon to do much of the dirty work, yet it had its moments of heroism, glory and remarkable feats.

The Lying down game

Dont remember how Wolverine and I came upon the site, but we seem to be pretty good at it, so we look for photo opportunities whenever and wherever we can. here are a few recent photos.

small village BIG ATTITUDE

At last the government are doing something I agree with, they want to ensure that the Cell companies reduce call charges, its about time, no wonder MTN, Cell C and Vodacom post record profits for the “selected few shareholders” The next rip off to challenge are the banks. “Viva Government Viva”

As some of you may be aware I am rather fond “as is Wolverine” of Friend’s pub and restaurant, In fact just last week Kelvin gave Wolverine and I a Friend’s Golf shirt, “thanks bro” as you also probably know we watch our rugby there and when I move to PE I am sure that I will be hard pressed to find another establishment that comes close to the atmosphere , not to mention the awesome Chicken Strips, so I have decided that maybe , just maybe, we can set up Skype and I can watch every now and again with my mates.

I am busy with a book on Clarens and there was going to be a couple of pages about the township, however after being shown so much by long time residents there is going to be a whole chapter on this amazing neighbourhood.

Last weekend we had Ducati here this weekend was Mini Cooper, Wolverine and I assisted Clarens Brewery at the food and beer tent. I have to say that I doubt that the village will ever be the same again, Wow the Wilson Mosia Square (yes that’s the squares official title) was set up like I have never seen before. I have heard that Mini put close to 5 million into this weekend and it showed. Its always amazing watching seeing the types of people that pitch up at theses events as each function seems to attract differing cross sections of SA. Mini was no different and Wolverine came to the conclusion to own a Mini you either have to be a “Black Diamond” Seriously Gay ‘sorry that’s politically incorrect it needs to read Alternative lifestyle orientated” or “I am not gay my husband is”,(in fact we could have had the gay pride parade that a few locals have been thinking of doing) have a Gym shaped body with an accompanying air head Barbie “with own airbags”, some you can see have been McDonald, “SUPERSIZED” The Ken and Barbie look also seems to be in as well with the mini crowd.

The whole weekend everyone was waiting for the group Goldfish, now I had never heard of them, “Finding Nemo, Shark tales, Guppy … yes, but Goldfish never” So on Saturday night after Months of Hype and being told how AWESOME they where I was expecting to be blown away…………well I am either getting old or just have a different perception of what a group should be or what the definition of Awesome is. 2 dudes with computers, a mini saxophone and a pole with electronic sounds coming out of it do not constitute a band or group ……. Oh sorry there was also an arbitrary PDP singing every now and again. A band or group is ZZ top, Queen, Dire Straits, Blacked Eyed Peas “yes I know who they are” Other entertainment was Cassette Psyfo, DJ Phonogenic and DJ Euphonik who we re-named DJ Euthanasia because we thought his music puts you to sleep. A couple of Locals (Rob and Graeme) had their air guitar moment and as you can see with Graeme at his shop "CLARENS ROCKS"

Now don’t get me wrong, the MINI weekend was Fantastic with a CAPITAL F, the monies pumped into the village was amazing and the square has never looked like that before, “but will hopefully again” We are grateful to having MINI choose Clarens for its 50th Birthday and know that this is a forerunner of things to come.

I also had to share my body building techniques with one of the security guards that to be honest was a little short in the muscle department, so hopefully he will take the tips to heart and he to can have a muscle like mine.
As usual Wolverine and I looked for lie down opportunities and we managed to get a few in, we are thinking of setting up our own the lying down game site because those overseas blokes are just to tame and have no imagination. (see seperate blog with photos) Hopefully my Brother inlaw Ryan will become my partner in crime when i move to PE regards lying down photos (what you say Ryan??)

If you did not see the Rugby this weekend you missed 2 Awesome Semi-finals with the Cheetahs beating the Sharks in te 79th minute and the Bulls beating Western “problems” in the 78th minute, Now the Cheetahs are going to win the Currie Cup at Loftus and hopefully Wolverine and I will be thereJ

Had a few people ask that when I leave will I carry on with the Blog and the answer is YES, the Idiot is just moving to a larger Village.

Read a good report written in the October issue of Bike SA about the land of the rising damp the other day if you can get your self a copy of the October 2009 issue and turn to pages 126 – 135. The article starts “yes there is less crime in the UK, yes there is a more stable economy (well – no actually the UK has been hit by the recession far worse than SA) yes there is ……….well……….nothing else really. The problems with living in the UK are numerous. It all starts etc etc (get the magazine its good)

Quote for the week: “Save the planet, it’s the only one with beer”

Well that’s all for this week, have a great week ahead


The Laager

The laager or fort made from wagons and as practised by the Voortrekkers and Americans alike became an impressive weapon and probably reached its zenith in this country as a defensive means at the battle that is still revered by many Afrikaners, “that being the Battle of Blood River”. The system was however often used by the Transvaal as well as the Orange Free State for the rest of the 19th century.

The Orange Free State used the first to use the laager in their wars against the Basuto, the first occasion being in 1858 a mere four years after the republic had gained its independence. After a succession of raids by the Basuto into the OFS, its president Mr Boshof called up the Commando’s and declared war on its neighbour. Two Commando’s under the leadership of Commandant- General Weber took to the field and set up two laagers, using them as bases from which they were able to reconnoitre and eventually attack the enemy.

Both the Matabele as well as the Zulu had been unable to find a way to counter the laager and had paid dearly for this, however the Basuto were another proposition altogether as unlike the Matabele and the Zulu the Basuto were not infantry or foot soldiers but like the Boers themselves horsemen and had also learnt to use the firearm with consummate skill. The Boers therefore were not facing assegais or spears but a well armed foe.

The Basuto also used the mountains that they had fortified as there bastions which the Free State commandos would have to subdue should they want to gain the upper hand and win the war, the Basuto also had a cunning leader in the guise of Moshesh. Having easily beaten the Matabele and the Zulus, the first Basuto war would turn out to be a frustrating experience for the Boers with the cut and thrust of the campaign being in the Basuto’s favour, on one occasion 8000 mounted Basuto’s with firearms attacked the laager under the command of Commandant Senekal at Koranaberg and came close to overwhelming it. The first Basuto war was to die out without much being achieved by the Boers. The Basuto on the other hand were buoyed and encouraged by their successes and instead of being scared of entering the OFS in fact stepped up their raids stealing cattle and by 1865 were venturing deep into Free State territory. This became too much for President Brand and he declared war against the Basuto, raising an army of close to 1600 men that were split into 4 separate commando’s under the overall command of General Fick. Fick’s aim was to capture Moshesh’s stronghold of Thabo Bosia, but first the smaller strongholds in the outlying areas had to be taken.

Learning lessons from the first war the Boers set up their laagers and fortified them as best they could with stone or earthen walls, this allowed the Boers to leave smaller groups of men behind to defend the laagers while using as much firepower as possible to take strongholds that had been identified as problem areas. After many difficulties and a number of skirmishes against the Basuto Fick was able to set up a laager at the base of Thaba Bosia leaving 600 men to defend it. Fick then took the rest of his force (by now well over 1500 men) to storm the mountain fortress. The task was given to Louw Wepener who was killed during the initial attack and with that the commando fell back in confusion. Fick after deliberating with his council decided that the mountain was to well defended and could not be taken by force, a decision was then made to besiege the fortress and hopefully starve the defenders out

It was around this time that the Z.A.R decided that it also wanted in on the action and sent 800 men under the command of Paul Kruger to assist in the war, at Naauwpoort were Kruger and his men laagered he was attacked by chiefs Slangaal and Letsoena who managed to penetrate the laager and kill 5 men before they were driven back. Back at Thabo Bosia the conditions for the Basuto were taking a turn for the worse with their animals dying and the tribe short of food, but before the siege could succeed the Free State Forces in a typical lack of discipline got bored and went home, Fick due to lack of bodies was forced to lift the siege. Later that year a commando took to the field again and began systematic attacks of Basuto strongholds in Korannaberg and Viervoet, at the Transvaal laager at Cathcart’s drift was attacked and while the attack was repelled they had also had enough of what was essentially siege warfare and wanted to go home. By 1866 another attempt was made to take Thabo Bosia but found that 3 sites he had set up during the initial siege were occupied by Moshesh’s forces. With a stalemate looming again Moshesh sued for peace and President Brand was only to happy to agree.

The Peace however was in fact just a truce and in 1867 war broke out again, with the Free State hoping to once and for all end the impasse. The Boers decided to embark on as war of attrition, something they themselves would experience years later when the British used the same tactics in the Second Boer war. The Boers set about burning crops and kraals and taking whatever livestock there was. A central base was set up and this was made up of a wagon laager were the wagons were set up in a triangle with cannon on each corner. Slowly but surely the Basuto strongholds were reduced and was only a matter of time before Thaba Bosia was again put under siege. Moshesh understood that his time was limited and approached the British, who annexed the kingdom and passed on its administration to the cape Colony. The British were to find out what the Boers already knew and that was the Basuto where a handful and not easy to rule a mere 4 years after the annexation a rebellion broke out under the leadership of Letsie (who had taken control of the Sotho nation after Moshesh’s death)

Sir Charles Clarke was given the job of capturing Thaba Bosia and had a force of 1600 men and forty wagons , his troops being supported by a commando of 800 Boers. Like the Commando’s before he set up a laager, placed cannon, dug trenches and fortified were he could. Like the past it soon became apparent that Thabo Bosia could not be taken and after a few skirmishes were neither side lost of gained any territory, Letsi sued for peace and this was granted, in january of 1881 the war officially ended with the Basuto not having been defeated, the Cape gave Basutoland back to England and the Basuto wars were at an end.

The Boers still had a number of years of fighting ahead against black tribes were the laager was used and in 1878 when the British annexed the Transvaal they inherited the war against Sekukuni. A Colonel Rowland was sent with 500 men to put an end to this war, this was not to be and it took a major effort under the command of General Wolseley to defeat Sekukuni. While the British were having problems in the Transvaal with the Bapedi in Natal the Zulus were stirring and an ultimatum was sent to Cetewayo to stop or Zululand would be invaded.

Lord Chelmsford commanded the expedition that crossed the Tugela in 1879 immediately splitting his forces into 3 columns , the main column of some 1900 soldiers , the main column of some 1900 soldiers under Chelmsford’s personal command crossed at Rorkes Drift and made there way to Isandhlwana, despite being warned by Piet Uys that they should use the laager system when stopping for the night he was laughed at and told ‘the British army did not need the advice of a farmer” Even with a 100 or more wagons in his column He made no attempt to form a laager to protect his position. To make matters worse Chelmsford took 1000 men and moved ahead leaving the balance of troops at Isandhlwana, who feeling that the Zulu’s would be an easy fight made no attempt to form a laager, dig trenches or set up a defensive perimeter, this lack of military tactics or discipline would cost those men and the Empire dearly.

On the 22nd of January 1879 15 000 Zulus swamped the camp and while the British troops fought bravely, they had no chance and as a result over 826 men and officers died that day, Zulu casualties are estimated to have been close to 3000 men lost. An invasion of Natal by the strong Zulu force was only stopped due to the stand at Rorkes Drift were 100 men stood up to the might of the Zulu army. You would have thought that the British would have learnt their lesson , but that was not the case and a mere two months later men of the 80th division who had come to re-inforce the invading army were attacked and not having set up a adequate laager had 63 of their men killed. The British eventually beat the Zulu, but it was the use of the British square against men charging them with stabbing spears rather than the use of laagers.

History has proved that even when the British did use the laager they were not very good at setting it up, this point is probably best demonstrated when soon after the 1st Boer war had broken out in 1880 and a column of 34 wagons and 300 men set out for Pretoria from Lydenburg and due to the fact the Commanding officer Lt Colonel Anstruther was unable to set up a laager in time he and his force were nearly wiped out by a Boer attack. While the Boers understood that the laager was a great defensive tool against black tribes only armed with spears against an enemy who possessed cannon there was no defence and a laager would only be able to be used as a camp. Due to this realization the laager played nearly no part in the First Boer war. During 1881 – 1895 the commandos were called out 5 times to take part in campaigns against African chiefs and during this period the laager was used mainly as a base, the only attack recorded on a laager during that period was that of Chief Mamper of the Bapedi in 1882, this attack was repulsed by General Joubert.

The final public act of the laager was the second Boer war of 1899-1902 and while the British did not learn from the lesson of the laager in that they did not want to use it, the Boers also did not learn as they refused to abandon this method of warfare. The Boers realised that the wagon itself was no match against modern weapons and it was not that they wanted to use the laager as a means of defending a position it was more the fact that the Boer was so used to his wagon, it was his, it carried his supplies and hesitated to go to war without it.

When the war broke out in 1899 its estimated there were some 21000 Boers on the Natal border in laagers and another 16000 on the OFS front with approximately 1200 wagons. As can be imagined so many wagons reduces the striking ability of any force and it also interferes with the speed of which an army can advance, wagons were able to travel about 35kms per day. Wagons also made the men feel like they were more at home than at war, some of the men even brought their wives with them to the front, although this practice was not condoned by higher authorities. It is fact that it took the Boer forces 17 days to reach Ladysmith because of the wagons that followed them and the town was put under siege by establishing laagers around the town, this pattern was copied at Kimberly as well as Mafeking. Each laager grew due to the arrival of families and a sort of party atmosphere prevailed and due to this the Boers chance of a quick invasion to knock the wind out of the British before reinforcements could arrive was lost.

Perhaps the action that ensured that the ox wagon would be used for no other means other than transport was the surrender of Cronje and 4000 Boers at Paardeberg. After a change in tactics by Lord Roberts who abandoned the railway lines and managed to outflank the Boers, Cronje and his council decided that they needed to withdraw but not without the wagons, this sealed their fate due to the fact he and his forces were limited as to where they could withdraw to due to the lack of speed they could withdraw. Cronje and his forces were surrounded and while he made a determined stand, days of shelling, the lack of food and water as well as hygiene problems led to his surrender and the beginning of the end of the Boer cause.

All's quiet on the Western Front

Been a bit if a quiet week, been hiding from the Jihad brigade after slagging them off over the last 2 Blogs. So what’s been happening in the “Were not the Tourism village, Village of the year”?

I was told “but have not seen myself” that in the October issue of the Top Billing Magazine Clarens is one of only 4 destinations that are recommended by this Prestigious magazine and the only one in the FREE STATE to come and spend time exploring, “it’s a pity Top Billing were not judges for the Tourism village of the year, we may have had a small outside chance of winning it, just out of interest 2 of the other 3 mentioned are Stellenbosch, Plett. Yes I know what your thinking “What no Marquard”, however I am sure that next year they will feature strongly together with other tourism destinations of note such as Marble Hall, Hot as Hell, De Wetsdorp and my personal favourite Jamestown.

I believe that one of the Criteria that we were not strong on the competition and perhaps lost because of, was having the name of the village in white stones on the side of a hill or mountain, this local Werner Brandt (Werner owns the Millery bakery and is doing alterations, adding a bar, gallery as well as a coffee roastery) remedied, and we are now the proud owner of a stone Clarens “whitewashed of course” that I believe will put us ahead of other villages in next years competition and should see Clarens re-claim her Tourism village title from Marquard.
We have applied for a bond for house in PE and it seems that the lady who is buying our house has advised that her bond has been approved:-)

Was doing some research for my book on Clarens in Kgubestwana and came across what I have been searching for, for ages, a S.W.S. (Shack with Satellite)

Had a braai with my mate Greg, was going to be a Wors Roll affair, but Greg decided to bring a small fillet to throw on the coals, (see picture), I would hate to think of what this would cost in the good old UK, I think it was 1.5 kg’s in weight. Had my photo in the Vrystaat again this week, for being the winner of the over 120 year old Mountain bike challenge. Wolverine and I managed to get in a lying down photo this week. Thinking of entering the Captain Morgan extreme pose of competition as well there is a trip to Las Vegas for 4 people as a prize, now that would be nice.

Seems national Braai day has stirred the entrepreneur in a few people as at a local convenience store you can now buy pap and wors as well as dop and a chop all at the same time.
Ducati was in town this weekend with approx 30 bikes, had a couple of locals wanting to join in the festivities and even challenged a Ducati or two to a dice down a mine shaft with a tailwind, for some reason the challenge was declined. I think it may just have been the jacket (see photo and decide for yourself). The Protea Hotel was the base for the group with Vitos and Friends also being party places and from what I hear Friends Rocked until the early hours of the morning. Next weekend is Mini Cooper 50th anniversarry celebrations and the weekend after that is October fest at Bokpoort, can you imagine how much busier we would be if we were the "tourism Village of the Year"? Rugby this weekend turned out to be ok, all the results I wanted happened, “now only if I could transfer that skill to the Lotto or Powerball”. Best game for me was the Lions/Province game and the crowd that watched it at friends was pretty awesome, “Martin was the only WP supporter there and it cost him a round of shooters”

Received this from my friend Al, thought it was pretty good. Drafting Guys over 60----this is funny & obviously written by a Former Soldier-

New Direction for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old
To track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the
military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of
sending 18-year old's off to fight, they ought to take us old guys.
You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least

For starters: Researchers say 18-year-old's think
about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of
times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to
concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and
a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't
sleep, I'm tired and hungry' We are impatient and maybe letting us
kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel
better and shut us up for awhile.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before10
a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides,
like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I
may as well be up killing some fanatical SOB....

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd
forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would
be a real stretch.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We're used to
getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also
developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as
an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however.
I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope
hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any push-ups after completing
basic training.

Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of
energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's
still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty
girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to
shade his eyes, not the back of his head..

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home
to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward
terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple of
million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who
know that their best years are already behind them.

How about recruiting Women over 50 .....with PMS !!!
You think Men have attitudes !!! Ohhhhhhhhhhhh my Lord!!! If nothing
else, put them on border patrol.....we will have it secured the first

Reading two books at the moment

1) Strike back by Chris Ryan – its about a Sky TV reporter held hostage by Hezbollah terrorists and she is to be executed live on TV unless British troops are withdrawn from Iraq, “its heart in mouth action and bone crunching action” according to The Mirror and Amazon. It was not a bad read, and if you want something to read over a couple of days as it’s a easy read then this is the book.
2) Towards the far Horizon by Jose Burman and it’s the story of the ox wagon in South Africa, yeah I know what your thinking “must be boring” well that’s what I thought when I picked it up at the local library, but its actually a fascinating book and for people like me who like to learn more about history, I recommend it as a book you should read.

Another e-mail that I got was this one (also pretty good)

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We've already given away hundreds of millions of pounds and thousands of dream homes, courtesy of our sponsor, The British Taxpayer. And don't forget, we're now the fastest growing game on the planet. Anyone can play, provided they don't already hold a valid British Passport, and you only need one word of English: 'ASYLUM'

Prizes include all-expenses-paid accommodation, cash benefits starting at ££180 a week and a chance to earn thousands more begging, mugging, burgling and accosting drivers at traffic lights. This competition is open to everyone buying a ticket or stowing away on one of our partner airlines, ferry companies or Eurostar. No application ever refused - reasonable or unreasonable. All you have to do is destroy all your papers and remember the magic password: 'ASYLUM'
A few years ago, 140 members of a Taliban family from Afghanistan were flown Goat Class from Kabul to our international gateway at Stansted where local law enforcement officers were on hand to fast-track them to their luxury £200-a-night rooms in the fabulous four star Hilton Hotel. They joined tens of thousands of other lucky winners already staying in hotels all over Britain..... Our most popular destinations also include the White Cliffs of Dover and the world famous Toddington Services area, in Historic Bedfordshire.

If you still don't understand the rules, don't forget, there's no need to phone a friend or ask the audience . . . Just apply for legal aid. Hundreds of lawyers, social workers and counsellors are waiting to help - for FREE! It won't cost you a penny. And . . . It could change your life forever. So play today.

Iraqi terrorists, Afghan dissidents, Albanian gangsters, pro-Pinochet activists, anti-Pinochet activists, Kosovan drug-smugglers, Tamil tigers, bogus Bosnians, Rwandan mass murderers, Somali guerrillas...the list is endless EVERYONE IS WELCOME - INCLUDING ALL YOUR OWN WIVES AND CHILDREN COME ON DOWN ! Get along to the airport ! Get along to the lorry park ! Get along to the ferry terminal ! Don't stop in Germany or France ! All European countries will willingly speed you on your way! Come straight to Britain And you are: **** GUARANTEED **** to be one of tens of thousands of lucky winners in the easiest game on earth. Everyone's a winner, when they play 'ASYLUM'

Quote for the week: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”

Famous women of the Boer war

Famous women of the Boer war

Most Books I have read about the Boer war have concentrated on the famous men from that period, men such as Botha, joubert, Smuts, Kruger, Smuts and de la Rey but what about the women that stood with them during this painful period of South Africa’s history.

Gezina Susanna Frederika Wilhelminna Kruger (5.5.1831 – 20.7.1901)

The wife of President Paul Kruger came from an era of hard living where as children they had trekked away from British rule into the hinterland and freedom. Gezina was the Niece of Paul’s first wife. It has been said that for Gezina home and hearth were the most important aspects of life, from their marriage 16 children were born of which a few died young. After he husband had been elected President of the ZAR a move from the farm Boekenhoutfontein to their new home in Church Street was necessary. Even in ill health her priority was to ensure that Paul was looked after, she was not a person to put herself first or to hog the limelight. State business was left to her husband and what I had not realised was at commencement of the Boer War she was 68 years old and very ill.

After Pretoria had been taken by the British the Kruger’s home was guarded by the military, President Kruger had left the country via Lourenco Marques, Gezina due to her ill health had not been able to accompany him, at meal times Gezina would take food to the British soldiers guarding the house with the words “God se dat jy moet jou vyande liefhe”

Annie Francis Bland Botha (3.7. 1864 – 20.5 1937)

Born on the Natal south coast she later moved with her family to a farm between Vrede and Harrismith, Annie was educated at St Michael’s convent in Bloemfontein. When the family moved back to Vryheid it was here that she met and fell in love with Louis Botha, after the marriage the young couple moved to a farm in the Waterval district of vryheid. During the Boer war Annie was asked by Lord Kitchener to speak to her husband and see if he would be prepared to meet with him, this did not happen. Mid 1901 Annie was allowed to leave South Africa for Europe where she looked to gain support for the Boer cause. Annie after the war was instrumental in setting up the Suid – Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie vir volksopheffing. Annie travelled tirelessly to set up many branches in the country.

Jacoba Elizabeth de la Rey (1856 – 11/8/1923)

Affectionately known as Nonnie the de la reys farmed on the property called Klipbankfontein near Lichtenburg, with the success of this farm they purchased another farm called Elandsfontein and it is here that they lived until the death of General de la Rey, the couple produced 10 children from the marriage. During the war Mrs De La Rey either by herself or together with other Boer women managed to stay out of the hands of the British, writing a book about her experiences after the war.

Koos and Jacoba loved each other very much and Jacoba once wrote “our life together was like a strong stream of clear water”.

Hendrina Susanna Johanna Joubert (27.9.1830 – 8.9.1916)

As a Voortrekker child she survived the attack by Zulu Impi’s and subsequent massacres at Bloukraans and Bosmansrivier. Hendrina was probably best known for accompanying her husband Piet Joubert to the battlefront. Hendrina would camp a suitable distance from the main Laager. According to her memoirs she was the first person to actually spot the British troops on Majuba during the First Boer war, Hendrina also accompanied her husband twice on overseas trips.

The Jouberts had 8 children of which only 4 survived, the family farm was called Rusfontein in the Wakkerstroom district. As mentioned during the two Boer wars she accompanied her husband to the front, after his death she moved to Pretoria and concentrated in trying to improve living conditions in the Concentration camps, during the war she also kept in regular contact with Boer forces and was also involved in the escape of Jan Cilliers out of Pretoria.

During the 1914 rebellion Hendrina now 84 years old led a huge march to the Union buildings to demand the release of Boer prisoners (shades of the 1980’s and 1990’s).

Sybella Margaretha Smuts (22.12.1870 – 25.2.1954)

Affectionately known as Isie or Ouma Smuts in later years, Sybella was a strong woman in her own right but stood by her husband as a rock as his international reputation grew. Sybella was the second oldest of 9 children and matriculated at a time that few women even studied never mind attained higher education. When Jan Smuts studied for 4 years in England Sybella took that opportunity to study the classics and was fluent in French, German, Greek, Dutch, English and Afrikaans. It is said that she regularly read the Old Testament in Greek.

Isie was sick for long periods during the Boer war and Lord Kitchener sent her with her 11 year old sister and friend Ella de Wet to Pietermaritzburg were they lived under house arrest in a small but comfortable cottage. A request to move her to her family farm in Stellenbosch was refused. Even though she was very ill during the war she did not once ask Jan to abandon his cause or take a risk and come to visit her. Isie bore the loss of her son Kosie as well as the loneliness and not knowing what was happening with her husband with great stoicism. Sybella was very patriotic and anti British and would put stamps upside down on letters as a small protest and so that the king could stand on his head. At the birth of her children she draped the Vierkleur over herself so that her children could say hey had been born under the Transvaal flag.

The loss of a community

Wandering through a couple of old cemeteries in the area recently I came across separate sections were the headstones bore Jewish names. I thought about my village and how many Jewish residents there where and I soon realized a once thriving community that was spread across the Eastern Free State is no more. I started to look for research material on the subject and here is what I came up with.

Non-protestants and Jews where initially denied the right to settle in the Cape during the rule of the Dutch East India company (1652-1795). The extension of religious tolerance by the Batavian republic and its entrenchment by the British in 1806 allowed a handful of Jews, mainly of English, Dutch and German origin to settle in the Cape and beyond. However these men and women would not have been the first Jewish people to be associated with Africa. Jewish slaves where used in Pharaohs Egypt and many a sailor that looked for a safe passage to the east via the Cape of Storms where of Jewish heritage. Among the initial immigrants to South African shores was a young adventurer call Nathaniel Isaacs who made contact with Shaka and Dingaan.

In 1841 a Jewish community was formally established in Cape Town, this was the mother congregation of South African Jewery. The community comprised mainly of merchants and through their trading activities accelerated the transition from subsistence to a cash economy. While the discovery of diamonds in the 1860’s only attracted a few Jewish fortune hunters, they played a significant role in the rapid expansion of this industry among the most successful would be Flamboyant Londoner Barney Barnarto, Lithuanian Sammy Marks and Hamburg born Alfred-Beit. The death of the Tsar followed by pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe saw an influx of Jewish Immigrants in to South Africa with many gyrating towards the countryside, either to the dorps or to isolated locations along busy transport routes. Some crossed the countryside as smouse (itinerant peddlers), where devout Boer farmers who regarded them as the “people of the book” received them warmly. These entrepreneurs were significant agents of the commercial revolution that transformed the South African countryside in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They acted as intermediates between the dorps and the producers, both black and white. Jewish storekeepers and smouse bought wool, maize and skins from Boer landowners and black sharecroppers and then sent them to urban markets and wholesalers. In turn the Jewish country stores met the growing needs of these emergent rural consumers.

Many Jews in South Africa embraced the Afrikaans community that they did business in and this is evident that during the Boer war of 1899 – 1902 a number of Jews fought alongside the commandos against the British, while a larger number it must be said served with the British forces. I came across a newspaper article recently regards the erecting of a memorial to the Jews that died while fighting during the Boer war. Of the 13 that died 9 were killed in action 3 died in the POW camps and one was killed accidentally by his own forces , this came about due to his being hard of hearing and he did not hear the sentry demand him give the password, he was subsequently shot. It would seem that a one Harry Spanier was the first Boer Jewish fatality.

Why is it then that once vibrant communities of traders and businessmen in the platteland disappeared from the scene? Well my theory is that like other Plattelanders the attraction of the cities became too much to ignore especially during the depression years and with the exodus of people from the villages and dorps the very lifeblood of the Jewish traders and businessmen ebbed away. The Jewish community understood that they needed to move to were the business was and with that once strong Jewish communities just faded away.

The Great Trek

I was asked the other day how long the Great Trek lasted for hopefully it was not because the person asking thought that I had been part of it. While I vaguely remember some of the history for school days I could not give an answer. So I decided to find a source of info and read up on it, here is what I came up with.

By 1836 the farmers in the Cape were starting to find life under British rule somewhat of a constraint but it was probably the abolishment of slavery and the unsatisfactory way that their owners had been compensated as well as the Anglicisation of the Cape Colony that prompted many to want to pack their wagons and look for greener pastures. While its generally agreed that the Great Trek started in 1836 there is evidence that shows the Trek was not a spur of the moment decision and that three clandestine expeditions were sent out in 1834 to investigate the hinterland, the first headed towards South West Africa, the second travelled North to the Zoutpansberg and the third headed North East to Natal.

It is generally agreed that the Great Trek started in 1836 with most of the people participating coming from Tarka and led by Andries Hendrik Potgieter. Travelling into the hinterland by trek Boers was to continue well into 1852 and probably involved no more than ten thousand white people - men, women and children, with a large number being children, as a matter of interest in 1849 alone twice as many people used the California trail in the USA, with the distances covered further than the trekkers in South Africa. If you take the effort to visit small platteland dorps or villages you will find that many of them have a “gedenkteeken” that celebrates 100 years of the Great Trek and many have wagon wheel racks in cement where the 1938 Trek wagons stopped or passed during that year.

While there were a number of Trek Leaders I decided that I would look into the life or Piet Retief, as he had camped not to far from Clarens in 1937, so he is in a way sort of an honorary Clarenite, just like Paul Kruger.

Retief was born in the Western Cape at Wagenmaakersvlei, he later moved to Stellenbosch due to financial problems and then on to Uitenhage and later still Grahamstown, were he tried for the umpteenth time to make a living as a general dealer, miller, baker, auctioneer, timber merchant and building contractor.(sounds like a number of Clarenites I know, myself included). In 1834 however he was declared bankrupt again and forced to hand over his estate. During the frontier wars of 1835 Retief had been a field commandant and was well liked and respected. Retief was hoping that after the war his financial conditions would improve, but they did not and he then made plans to leave Grahamstown which he did in February 1837 crossing the Orange River at Buffelsvlei in March of that same year with a party of 107 trekkers.

With Potgieter and Maritz feuding many trekkers wanted Retief as their leader so when he reached the new town of Winburg (60 kms from present day Bloemfontein) he received a tumultuous welcome. About 1000 wagons had gathered at Winburg and a general meeting was called were Retief was elected Governor and Commandant – General. Retief set out to negotiate with black chiefs and succeeded in signing treaties with Sekonyela, Moroka and Moshesh. Retief was determined to settle in Natal but others where against it as they saw the British interfering in the years to come. Retief sent out five scouting parties to find a crossing over the Drakensburg Mountains.

After waiting a number of months the advance parties arrived and advised him that their where a number of possible routes over the mountains. Retief immediately broke camp at the end of July and set off towards what would become Senekal and Paul Roux, eventually crossing near to Liebensburgvlei and stopping near the present day village of Clarens near to the Asrivier. Retief set up a larger of 30 wagons and with a small party of 15 men and 4 wagons set off to reconnoitre Natal. Retief and his small party also out spanned near to present day Kestell and spent some time in that area prior to finding a suitable route into Natal. Retief eventually chose the southernmost route for his decent in to Natal and has become known as Retief Pass. Many difficulties were experienced by Retief and his party as the route involved traversing steep slopes and this is when he came up with an idea to change the wheels on the wagons so that the large rear wheels were both on the lower slope side of the wagon and the small wheels on the upper side of the slope. Retief and his party were the first to cross the Drakensburg into Natal.

After crossing the Tugela River Retief reached Port Natal on the 19th of October 1837, the settlers living there were happy to see Retief as they lived in perpetual danger from Dingaan. Retief met with Dingaan at his royal kraal of Gungundhlovu, here Dingane agreed to grant trekkers land for settlement, on condition that Retief recovered stolen cattle that Sikonyela had taken from him. On the 2nd of November Retief sent word to his camp near Clarens that he was on his way back. During his absence the laager had decided to move to Kerkenberg near the head of Retiefs pass. When the decision was made to descend the pass all except one wagon made it safely to the bottom. After meeting up with Retief a decision was made to laager on the Tugela River and in December of 1837 Retief set of with 50 men to collect the cattle from Sikonyela, this was successfully completed and he returned to camp in early January 1838. Retief wanted to take back the cattle to Dingaan himself and together with nearly 200 men he did just that. Gerrit Maritz another Voortrekker leader was against this as he did not trust Dingaan after much deliberation Retief agreed to reduce the number of men in the commando to 66 volunteers. Retief and his men were welcomed at Gungundhlovo , they were asked to leave weapons in one area and then entertained by Dingaan, while there attention was diverted by the festivities Retief and his men were fallen on and taken to a nearby mountain where they were all put to death.

Dingaan sent out impi’s to complete the task of wiping out the interlopers in his territory, the impi’s spied on the location of the trekkers and on the night of the 16th of February 1838 they unleashed a simultaneous assault by over 10 000 warriors on the scattered camps of the trekkers along the Blaauwkrantz mountains, during theses attacks that lasted over 12 hours 40 men, 56 women, 185 children and over 200 servants were massacred..

It was fixed!!!!!!!!!!!

So my prediction of the Protea’s “sorry” Pansies not making it into the second round of the ICC Champions trophy was correct. I thought the coach was a gent called Mickey Arthur and Not Mickey Mouse.

Talking about Mickey Mouse, as you know Clarens was entered in the TOURISM VILLAGE of the year competition, please note I said “TOURISM VILLAGE”, Clarens “The jewel of the Free State” has over many years built up its tourism and been a catalyst in other villages becoming more economically viable. We have over many years been involved in tourism but was not deemed fit to win this inaugural award, instead some backwater village that unless you actually know where it is would be hard to find, “sour grapes”? YOU BET!!!!

Do yourself a favor and Google Marquad see what comes up, then Google Clarens. I think next year with changes to the competition that the judges have to make perhaps one of the new criteria of the competition should be that tourists actually have to come into the village, with the definition of a tourist being “someone who actually consciously sits down and decides “I am going to spend a weekend in Marquad”, “not just Oom Friks cousin who is coming to visit from Clocolan or someone who has got lost or is looking for a sleepy hollow to either retire or semigrate to, just out interests sake Marquads motto is “where time stands still”

I personally see Clarens not winning as a slap in the face of all those people past and present that have made it what it is today. Clarens did not become the “Jewel of the Free State” and attract well over 250 000 tourists a year by itself, we did not wake up last Friday and “KAPOW”, the village was full of restaurants, art galleries, adventure activities and a accommodation establishments coming out the Wazoo, NO it took many people many years of hard work using their own money and marketing not only their own product but the village as well, it was not until Clarens became well known that the local municipality and the Province sat up and took notice, we did not have competitions like this to encourage us to take the village to new heights, it was individual initiatives and hard earned monies that got us where we are today. You may have noticed by now I am still the “Moer In”, but at least I know that we are still the best in the OFS and it will take a Humongous effort to wrest the tourists away from us, while Marquad has the title and a brand new sign we still have the DESTINATION THAT PEOPLE know how to get to and want to visit. I was thinking that Protea Hotels and their partners must really be kicking themselves that they did not build a 70 roomed Multi million rand state of the art hotel in Marquad, I am sure that they would have been able to fill the 70 rooms at least once each per year ?? Ah well the next holiday I am going to spend 4 hours in Marquad, I will have to take a book to ensure the last 3 hours I have something to do.

Last week I had a go at the Camel Jockey’s and I was sent this by a friend.

ENGLAND I think this really sums it all up.After hearing that many cities did not want to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights, so DIDN'T!After hearing that the Birmingham council changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver's licence with her face covered..After hearing of a Primary School in Birmingham where a boy was told that for PE they could wear Football League shirts (Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom etc) but NOT an England shirt as it could offend others !

This prompted the editorial below written by a UK citizen. Published in a British tabloid newspaper.IMMIGRANTS. NOT BRITONS, MUST ADAPT.Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on London , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits.However, the dust from the attacks has barely settled and the 'politically correct' crowd begin complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others..I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

This idea of England being a multicultural centre for community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of wars, struggles, trials and victories fought by the untold masses of men and women who laid down their lives and of the millions of men and women who have sought freedom.We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If St.George's cross offends you, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life, I encourage you take advantage of one other great British freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.We didn't force you to come here. If you don't like it GO HOME!!You asked to be here.. So accept the country that accepted YOU. Pretty easy really, when you think about it.. If we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later get back to the complainers, lets all try, please.

I forgot to tell you this story, don’t know why because its pretty funny and something that most people don’t do when invited to a party, there will however e no names mentioned; imagine going to a party already having had a few before you got there and then deciding that you would use the hosts bathroom, not just by yourself mind you, with a friend of the same sexual persuasion, lock yourselves in the bathroom, run yourself a bubble bath and then entertain oneself for 45 minutes, when the door is eventually opened the guests in your bubble bath ask you to bring each a cigarette and a glass of wine, which the host did………… Only in Clarens.

Heard a good description of a person who has numerous studs, earrings or piercings etc you call them Human Pop Rivets J

Ace Magashule, the Free State Premier was in the village again this week, to speak to business people and the community, promises have been made and lets sit back and see if they will be kept, I have a feeling that it will be business as usual however I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Its amazing though that while we live in a small village and probably get to see the local Police more than those in the city, we always seem to have more visible when someone important comes to town, Is Ace and his cabinet more important than me or Mr’s Mokoena in Kgubetswana? I don’t think so, but obviously there are others that do.

Tania got her first company vehicle this week, it’s the “Crafty stuff Hummer” and it’s a photo that we will put up on the boardroom wall and laugh about when Tania is CEO of her own Craft company. “You go my angel I am proud of you and know that your hard work and perseverance will pay off”

The youngsters of Clarens as well as some older folk who may feel they are part of that click have a new anthem, its “Party all the time” by the Blacked Eyed Peas, the words go something like “If we could party all night and sleep all day then life would be EASY” Oh but wait there are already a number that do just that, times have changed when I was younger I was married, had a decent job, responsibilities, furniture, a car and a future. Must be nice to be able to just slide through life?

Wolverine and I have been adding photos on to the lying down game facebook site and been having fun thinking of out of the box ideas, not what the normal people do see for yourself.

Is it just me but why is it that Eskom always put Electricity under severe pressure on the TV when they are trying to get another 100% increase. Have they not just had a 30% fleecing of the public, now they are sending in a proposal for a 60% rise, “sure its near Christmas but surely a nice pair of socks to the board members would suffice and not a Multi million R bonus for making the company crap”.

My Niece was proposed to by her boyfriend this week and she has accepted so Christine and Craig Congratulations, and Craig welcome to the family. We know that you and Christine will have many happy years together.

In a Blog a while back I lamented that while the county is criss crossed with railway lines I cannot remember the last time I actually saw a train moving through the countryside, well while taking a lie down photo near Ficksburg this SAR service train came hurtling along the tracks.

Reported by Chris Nel, senior correspondent for Farmers Weekly, after reading the following historical facts, read the part about Switzerland twice. In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control.. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated. Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one millioneducated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced bynew law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by theirown Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500million dollars. The first year results are now in: List of 7 items:Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns! While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of theE LDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort, and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes,gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizensTake note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson. With guns, we are 'citizens.'Without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!If you value your freedom, please spread this anti-gun control message to all of your friends. The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.

Switzerland issues every household a gun! Switzerland 's government trains every adult they issue a rifle. Switzerland has the lowest gun related crime rate of any Civilized country in the world!!! It's a no brainer! Don't let our government waste millions of our tax dollars In an effort to make all law abiding citizens an easy target.

This weekend we had the annual Mountain Bike challenge in the village with the village idiot taking part in the 120km race “yeah right” Ok I am lying, but I did finish the 50 meter dash for under 120 year olds on one of Andy’s Harley look alike bikes to much applause from the crowd of 6.

I have 3 Quotes for the week:
1 “Racism is just a pigment of your imagination”
2 “He who asks the questions controls the conversation”
3 I rather like this quote from the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Author) The Great Boer War

"Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer - the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles."

Well that’s about it for this week, hoping to pay Marquad a visit soon to advise what Clarens needs to do to become a tourist destination.


The Village Idiot
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