What makes a Boer?

I guess the best person to ask is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; take note of what he has to say on the subject.

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.

No one can know or appreciate the Boer who does not know his past, for he is what his past has made him.”

According to the following (unsubstantiated) figures I have, it took the British Army of 347,000 men nearly three years to beat 83,000 Boers into submission and they only managed to do that when Lord Kitchener invented the “Concentration Camp” killing tens of thousands of Boer women and children. Simultaneously, Lord Roberts conducted a scorched earth policy (consisting of burning down all their homes and shooting all of their cattle).

Both ideas, incidentally, were copied by Hitler in the second world war.

  1. #1 by The Machinist's Wife on Friday, 23 January 2009 - 8:14 pm

    Aaah… as my husband’s Ouma used to tell him, impress upon him, whenever he got a bit too big for his boots:”Jy is ‘n Boer, en jy bly ‘n Boer”

  2. #2 by Wildebeeste on Monday, 5 January 2009 - 1:04 pm

    Magtig! Don’t let Zuma see this! It’s bad enough for us already…

  3. #3 by schumi on Sunday, 4 January 2009 - 12:32 pm

    And as the last Pommy soldier climb on the ship, he turned around, take a look at the Boer on the dock, and said: We will get you back.50 years later the first landrover was sold in South Africa, and ever since the headaches started again!!!Willem

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