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Social sciences: history

Grade 7

Democracy or war

Module 11

The sa war comes to an end (1901 – 1902)

First study the synopsis of the last two years of the war before attempting the assignment.

Activity 1:

To reconstruct important events of the war

[lo 3.3]

1. Work in groups to complete one of the following assignments. Your educator will provide you with the answers of the assignments completed by other groups.

a) Suppose that you were a black child during the war. Write a brief letter to explain the important role played by black people during the war, and about why you prefer to refer to the war as the South African war.

b) Compile an information leaflet on life in the concentration camps in South Africa for the British Government, on behalf of Emily Hobhouse.

c) Do you regard Gen. De Wet as a hero or a fool? Why? Write a song to voice your feelings about him.

2. Conduct a group discussion on the following:

a) Who won the war? Provide evidence for you point of view.

b) Discuss the following statement and indicate whether war and democracy are related:

War is the science of destruction – John Abott

Emily Hobhouse under arrest and back to England


Cape Town, 31 October 1901. – When Emily Hobhouse was on the point of landing in Cape Town this month, she was placed under arrest and forced to re-embark for England. No explanation was offered for this curious action by the government.

Emily Hobhouse, who has been in the country from 27 December 1900 to 24 May 1901, visited six concentration camps. She then did everything possible to obtain help for the women and children in the camps and to inform the public of the wretched conditions that existed in those camps. Large protest meetings were held in England and members of the Liberal Party in Britain attacked government policy in parliament. In the mean time the death rate in the camps this month was higher than ever before. In the seventeen Transvaal camps, 1 616 of the 57 905 women and children have died, with most of the deaths occurring among children, while 1 319 of the 1 514 deaths that occurred in the Free State also were those of children.


In April 1901, the youthful Japie Greyling came to oppose the British captain James Seeley on his father's farm Smaldeel in the Free State district of Hopetown. The story of his fearless heroism is one of dozens of incidences that occurred while the Second War of Independence was fought between Great Britain and the two Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal during 1899 to1902 and of which some are told here:

That the child should have done it, little Japie - and him not eleven years old yet! To challenge a firing squad - not everyone has the backbone for that. It is the war that makes men of children who should still be playing with marbles. Dad Greyling was on commando with the two older boys – with the Free State force. Now Japie and his twin, apart from the girls, provided his mother's main support.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, History grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 09, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11023/1.1
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