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Aliwal-North concentration camp, July 1901: South African War 1899-1902 Silver printing-out print laid on album card Circa 1901 Photographer unknown The first concentration camps were created by the Duke of Wellington during his Iberian campaign against the French, and then later by Spanish and American forces in the Philippine-American War. Where the British camps of the South African War differed was in their scale and size. The camps were established for refugees whose farms had been destroyed under the ‘scorched earth’ policy, which began around September 1900. As Commander in Chief, Lord Kitchener extended the use of the camps to include women and children who had been forcibly removed from their homes in an attempt to interrupt the supply lines of Boer guerrilla commandos. The camps were typically located near railway lines or military bases to facilitate supplies and communication. This was part of the problem; sites were chosen on a strategic and logistic basis with insufficient regard to the welfare of the people within the camps. A total of 45 tented camps were built for Boer refugees and the Africans who worked for them or lived on their farms in the Transvaal, Natal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony. The majority of inhabitants were women, children and the elderly, and conditions were generally unhealthy, with little food. Rations for the families of men who were still fighting the British were smaller still. Poor diet, cramped conditions and inadequate sanitation led to widespread outbreaks of measles, typhoid and dysentery. Disease coupled with negligible medical care accounted for the large number of deaths, especially in the early years. By the end of the war, it was reported that 27 927 Boers had died of starvation, disease and exposure; of these 26 251 were women and children, including 22 074 children under 16. See more here: https://www.angloboerwar.com/other-information/88-concentration-camps/1832-concentration-camps-introduction http://www2.lib.uct.ac.za/mss/bccd/ This photograph of Aliwal-North camp depicts the site of a camp first established by African refugees from the Rouxville district of the Orange Free State, who were moved further downstream to a place called Dukathole in early 1901 to make way for white inmates. The image forms part of a two-volume album entitled South African War: views of concentration camps, 1901, which was commissioned by the British Colonial Office and is held in the Public Records Office at Kew, London (CO 1069-215). Of note in the foreground between the vegetation and the tents are shallow graves – a simple trench dug into the earth and then covered with rock. Between January 1901 and November 1902 a total of 712 white people died at this location, of which 546 were under the age of 15. Having personally documented Boer War burial grounds, it was common practice to have adults and children buried separately, as appears to be the case here (children to the left and adults to the right). Garth Walker

iJusi #32 - Found Photos  

The 32nd issue of iJusi magazine focuses on vernacular photography, hand-picked from the archives of Garth Walker's personal collection.

iJusi #32 - Found Photos  

The 32nd issue of iJusi magazine focuses on vernacular photography, hand-picked from the archives of Garth Walker's personal collection.

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