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Mounted Boer Commando: South African War 1899-1902 Albumen print laid on album card Circa 1900 Photograph by J R Gannon The Boer commando was the organised militia of the Boers, commonly relating to the South African War. Each commando was associated with a town, after which it was named (like Bloemfontein Commando). Each town was responsible for a district, divided into wards. The commando was under the command of a kommandant, and each ward by a veldkornet (equivalent of a senior NCO rank) who was responsible for calling up the burghers, policing the ward, collecting taxes, issuing firearms and other items in times of war. Theoretically, a ward was divided into corporalships, usually made up of about 20 burghers, sometimes entire families (all males). The commando was made up of volunteers and officers were appointed by the members of the commando (not by the state). This presented an advantage if the commander was astute, but equally a disadvantage if the commander was inept. Discipline was also an issue as there was no mechanism to enforce it. J R Gannon is recorded as owning a photographic studio in Paarl from 1889-90, then Sunbeam Studio in Pritchard Street in 1893, moving again to Maddison and Marshall Streets in 1899. His mounts are gold stamped J R Gannon Johannesburg Gold Fields. This photograph was acquired early in the collection from a dealer in Johannesburg. Though in poor condition - a common problem with albumen prints due to unstable chemistry - the ‘graphic designer in me’ was taken by the addition of the poorly executed handwritten numbering system I presume to title or identify each of the mounted Boers. For me, it adds an additional graphic element to the photograph. 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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