Saturday, 14 December 2013

Partly Truth and Partly Fiction

Around :1899
South Africa.

This is the story of a deeply religious farm boy,
who found it confusing and against his inner feelings when he was told that it was OK to kill British people,
by his religious leaders,
so he went and did his duty as he saw it,
with Strong reservations, deep down he thought it was wrong to kill any person, for what ever reason, and this became one of his demons that troubled him.When he did his duty as he saw it.

The Freedom wars between the British war machine  and the African Boer.

When the British government realised that south Africa was awash, with great quantities of all the main valuables of the known, world, (Gold, Diamond's, coal, and millions of acres of good farming land with Timber and cattle.) They decided to annex it into their Empire, by what ever means possible, before too many of the other world leaders got in on the act.

Of course this piece of history will not be shown in this context in the UK, history books, surprise! surprise!
We are all aware that history is written by the Victors.

The British defeated the Boers in the final main land battle,
but the Boers continued to fight a guerrillas war against the British soldiers.
They would set an ambush, fire off a couple of shots, maybe kill a soldier or two and then run off into the bush and disappear,

This particular type of warfare was a thorn in the side of the British forces and as the Boer guerrillas picked up most of their supplies from their own farms, it was decided to combat this, by the Brits burning down their farms and confiscating their stock and moving the women and children into camps.
Later to be called the first Concentration camps?

Many thousands of innocent people died of disease and lack of food. It is not a period in time that the British can be proud of.

The Afrikaans are a strongly religious people with strong ties to their religious leaders and churches, they fled Europe because of religious problems, in Africa at first they faced no such problems.

This is the story of a young religious farm boy:  Piet Oosthuisan
18 years of age.
He had never known the joy of a girls love and this was his last day on earth!

Imagine ! The ambush is set.
Piet stood in the centre with his Fathers Rifle, cocked and ready to fire, as soon as the British showed themselves, when they came out of the cover of the bush.
The British had  developed a way of dealing with this problem which gave them a great advantage and these engagements were begining to go their way.
They had a number of local people wearing British uniforms moving as a group along the jungle track with two crack rifle men hanging behind ready to return fire, they had also learned  when and where,to expect an ambush.

Piet whispered a prayer of forgiveness and kissed the memory of his mother and family in his mind, as he did with every shot he fired.
I fired my fathers rifle, I saw a red uniform fall and another step forward with his rifle ready.
A Welsh rifleman who was to kill me, he took aim and fired and stood back into the bush.

I felt his rifle bullet crash into my chest, as it past through me, killing me.
I let go of my fathers rifle as my body fell to the ground landing in a shallow hole my body rolled over and I was able see the sky above me,
My colleges were quickly at my side, I could hear them speaking frantically! saying "I was dead and they must run, there's no time for praying now, they will come back or send the Domini to pray over me and take my body back to my family for burial".
So placing my fathers rifle beside me, they said their sad good byes, covered me with bush bracken and where gone.

At first I was not over-worried with my plight.
There was no pain
I had always been a patient person.
Strong in the belief of my faith! so I waited.

I thought to myself that in a couple of weeks the Domini would turn up pray over me and return my body to my family,
for a proper family burial.
I looked forward to seeing my family all again.
I was sure they would all come and speak kind words to me,
before laying me with our family elders which was the way it should be.

But this was not to be, days turned into weeks, looking up I saw on the odd occasion a wild bush animal look down at me, I was panicking in the thought that it might eat me and take my soul away from this place and I would never be found. Laying trapped waiting in this  hole in the ground.
Weeks turned into years, the worms and other insects recycled my remains and only my soul was left.

I also thought, may-be? my colleges met a similar fate as me and nobody would be coming, in search for me.
This of course was a frightening thought for me.
Please Lord don't do this to me?
I needed someone to pray over me and set my soul free, so I can return to my family.
Don't leave me in this hole in the ground Lord? I need someone to find me,
I beg of you Lord don't leave me ? Please send someone to find me?

At night when the stars where shining high in the sky,
I prayed to my lord again and again to send someone to find me, please let them continue to search for me? please don't let them give up on me?
I'm waiting and waiting just to be found my memory and soul are laying here in this hole in the ground.
I realise now how wrong it was of me, to take the life of my fellow man, for what ever my reasons could be, "please Lord forgive me"?

So that was the way of it for me, I spent all my time sending praying messages out to the stars, asking for forgiveness and to be found, asking how long I would have to wait? just laying in this hole in the ground
The returning silence was driving my soul crazy.
So this is the way it must be, for the hundreds of missing soldiers all over the world.

These thoughts would humble me, well at least I'm in the land I love, Close to my family, that's something?

Then one night a tiny light came into my hole, it was as if it was looking about, then it was gone.
I just put it down to being a bigger than normal fire fly,
but the very next day I heard scrapping noises at the top of my hole, looking up all I could only see was the sides of the top and trees, but the noise was persistent,
Then I saw a face looking down at me, they were speaking the languages of my people!   (Oh Joy! I'm found) one of the men climbed down into the pit on top of me or where my body used to be.
He scrapped around finding my fathers rifle and some metal bits from my cloths plus one shoe, he cleaned my fathers name on the rifle and shouted  "this is defiantly Piets grave, we've found him,"
I heard them say a prayer of thanks, followed by a prayer for the dear and departed, the effect was amazing.
I floated out of my hole and I could look down, they cleaned out the hole and filled it in and placed a stone with my name on it.
I tried to shout "Hello!
How did you find me here?
How did you know?
I'd be here?
lost in this hole in the ground?"
Waiting and waiting just to be found ?

but of course there was no reply and I seemed to float away off into the sky, off to see my family, I hope and pray that we will all be united on that special day, thank you Lord.

Your memory lives on Piet 0osthuisan.

Piet! Just let me ask a wee question of you?

I have seen many grave stones off the beaten track in the jungle in South Africa, they are always clean and painted white, but I have never seen a man with a bucket of white paint! -
So what's your secret?

May your God be kind to you.

How did you find me here?  lonely with just my memory, in this hole in the ground, waiting and waiting just to be found.


  1. I've been away from blogging for a long time Terence but for some reason I stopped by today and saw your post. Very powerful - and yes you are quite right - those were the first official concentration camps, pre-dating the German camps we are all more familiar with and resulted in about 35000 women and children dying from starvation and disease. You are quite right about the stones as well! Have you ever been up to the top of Spioenkop? One of the most haunting, atmospheric places on the planet.
    Keep well - Sharon.

    1. Thank you for your comment, I seem to have lost the plot on the blogging front, But I flew in Kwazulu land and I knew of Spioenkop and its history, a tragety on a grand scale


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