Natal Afrikaner women and the South African War (1899-1902)
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In this article, the variety of experiences of Natal Afrikaner women as British subjects who were related by blood and culture to the Boers of the Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, with which the British Empire was at war with, are analysed. This is done in a blended, thematic, and chronological manner. Drawing on primary and secondary sources, the encounters of Natal Afrikaner women with the Boer commandos, the British Army, the Natal colonial authorities as well as other wartime encounters are scrutinised. For the period of the South African War from 1899-1902, as per social history, this paper attempts to give an authentic voice to Natal Afrikaner women in what is a gendered history. In so doing, the article contributes to the neglected historiography of the unique war experiences of Afrikaner women. More specifically, the difficult relationships of Natal Afrikaner women with both the invading Boer commandos and the British Army as well as the Natal colonial authorities are laid bare. At the same time, economic and other hardships, removals, imprisonment in concentration camps, and general physiological and physical hardships are investigated. The end result was an alienation of Natal Afrikaner women from the Natal authorities and a drift towards an emerging post-war Afrikaner Nationalism.