Place of Publication: South Africa
Volume and Issue Data: November 1901 (during Anglo-Boer War)
Size and Format: Unknown
Editor/Publisher: J. Mariewe
Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown
General Description and Notes:
What follows are selections, roughly translated, from Paul Zietsman’s May 2002 article in Die Berger, “Seldsame Boerekoerant in Amsterdamse argief gevind,” describing the Jong Transvaal or Young Transvaal:
When I was recently in the South African Nederlandsch Vereeniging, on the Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, doing research, I found files on the rare first edition of a youth paper from among the Western Transvaal commandos of the Anglo-Boer War on the Transvaal. This edition appeared in November 1901.
The newspaper, hand-written, copied and distributed an edition of twenty, but the editors, the readers asked for the widest possible circulation and officers called on it to be read among the Boer commandos.
The editor was the Dutchman J. Mariewe, but between the lines it appears that Young Transvaal was a team effort.
The newspaper reflects the public mind of the people fighting in the Western Transvaal border zone of Gen. Koos de la Rey’s battle field at this time of war. It reveals what life was like for people in the remote region, who also had access to British newspapers like The Times, including the larger events and repercussions at the height of the Anglo-Boer War.
The inspiration that fueled the bitter rivalry radiates from every page of Young Transvaal. “True to death” was the newspaper’s motto.
The headquarters “The level field” and “Abonnementprijis (subscription): nil!” Shows a fine sense of humor. An “advertisement” with the same tongue in cheek look sought “typesetters,” “printers” and administrative clerks at fabulous salaries!
“To our fellow citizens” was the first introductory article which explained the paper’s editorial policies, including: “In summary form wishes to all facts that come to our knowledge, on, taking aim at truth:”
And the name? “We gave this leaflet Young Transvaal this name because we were being prophetic.”
“It seems to us that this war is rejuvenating the Republic, so it appeared we are entering a new life, free from all diseases and germs that interfere with a healthy and vigorous life.” The editors added that this “rejuvenating” of the Afrikaner life actually stretched beyond Transvaal .
In a later report, an article expanded on the Young Transvaal character. The young men were known before the war as progressives, whom the conservatives (or Kruger Men) branded traitors, because they wound sites in the body is shown it is now their real leaders.
“Who are we men?” asked the Young Transvaal. “Probably are still a few of the old school among us, but for the rest we can show to a whole new staff officers, men who earlier in the background stood. And Louis Botha Koos de la Rey was the most prominent of the new officers and leaders of the anti-war Kruger men.”
“With them, a new time has come,” said Young Transvaal. “Let us all follow them united so that we can do great things.”
What’s the public outrage made above, but they also found laughable was Kitchener’s verbanningsdreigement. The editors wrote under the headline “Bannishment” (sic). “The rain of the English side almost as much as proclamations bombs.”
“Especially the last papierbom attract much attention.”
This deal on Kitchener’s proclamation of August 7, 1901 that the Boer officers who do not surrender 15 September, exiled and their property would be confiscated.
Young Transvaal refers to the excellent manner in which “our” leaders answered the proclamation and the unfavorable review of the European press. “In Amsterdam, a large meeting that took place in strong language against the proclamation is protested.”
Young Transvaal emphasized that the Transvaal proclamation contrary to the “General” Law and editors in any event in the history of people not familiar with “the defeated party punished with exile because his independence to the limit defense.”
Besides, the farmers have not yet been defeated. “Well, the enemy occupied the main towns, but the country is our lord and master. “The Republican government is still functioning and acting magistrates to maintain law and order in the Transvaal districts.”
“And because we each foot of the heritage of our fathers defended; because we remain faithful to the oath and duty, because we do not want to bend before the gods of gold, because we died on the battlefield over slawejuk we therefore prefer to ever the patriotic soil banned?”
In another reported Transvaal Young writes that it appears General (Lord) Methuen him on his journeys through the western Transvaal “primarily aims to vulnerable women and children to capture and destroy food supplies.”
“Why he started we offered him, refused?” Wonder the newspaper. “Was it for fear of possible heavy losses of material, dead and wounded, so that in the report to the Department of War would not only show that a small number of people in the field, but an organized citizens Strydmag the cause of the fatherland faithful?”
Young Transvaal was not completely spot on the Western Transvaal’s battle skills, as would soon be evident from Gen. Koos de la Rey’s spectacular victory over Methuen in Tweebosch between Sannieshof and De la Reyville on March 27, 1902, in which the wounded Methuen the dubious distinction bestowed that he was the only British general was during the war in Boer hands case it.
Young Transvaal underline the unreliable statistics as far as British casualties on the Boer side. According to a British newspaper that the British abandoned camp was found, the number of Boers in the Battle of Renosterfontein killed, more than doubled and the optimum is the allegation that General. Lemmer and sergeant under Joubert fell. Lemmer was wounded, but already back in the field and in the Marico Commando was nobody with the name sergeant Joubert not.
Under the headline “Domestic,” the newspaper reported that women from the concentration “refugee camp” at Mafeking escaped and reported very many deaths, especially among children. “We desire that a thorough investigation be undertaken.”
Thanks to Emily Hophouse’s publication in Britain of the cruel inhumanity of the concentration camps were already at that time such an investigation in progress by the Ladies Committee of which Britain sent out, although the superior high class British ladies were anything but objective. One of the most revered women wanted to know why the Boer women complained that their beds are not in the camps had not, because before the war, the Boers would not sleep on beds.
A story that quite upset the Young Transvaal was that [British] Lord Kitchener complained to the [Boer] Commandant-General (Louis Botha) that people in the Battle of Vlakfontein southwest of Lichtenburg on 28 May 1901 and “wounded” hand suppers shot. Kitchener also claimed that “slightly wounded civilians were crawling around on the battlefield on all fours looking for wounded British to capture.”
Young Transvaal reported that the military authorities on the Boer side strictly investigated the accusation and showed from various affidavits that Kitchener’s accusations were based on a misunderstanding.
The Commandant General, however, ordered that any citizen who committed criminal trespass immediately appear before a court martial.
Finally, Young Transvaal contains also a tongue-in-cheek ad that is actually an ironic commentary on the host’s diet is hunger. It reads: “The undersigned has the honor of the revered public in the ravines to notify its valley in Moepelkloof a restaurant opened. The following dishes were always on hand:
Boiled whole maize, Heroic corn, Spy meal, Potatoes imported from Mud River, Pudding a la Methuen, Dough boy-storm rider dumplings, Wheat Coffee currency, using black color and bitter taste.”
Bibliography: Paul Zietsman, “Seldsame Boerekoerant in Amsterdamse argief gevind,” Die Burger (May 4, 2002); South Africa’s Yesterdays (Reader’s Digest Association South Africa, 1981), p. 2o.
Locations: South African Nederlandsch Vereeniging, Keizersgracht, Amsterdam, The Netherlands