THE SKIRMISH AT GATBERG: A PERSPECTIVE ON THE UTILISATION OF BLACK AUXILIARIES DURING THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR ON THE TRANSKEI BORDER (1899–1902)

  • Pieter Labuschagne Department of Political Sciences, UNISA

Abstract

The South African War (1899–1902) created major rifts in the post-warsociety as a result of various controversies that emanated from the conflict, whichleft a long legacy of bitterness and in many ways inhibited nation-building in thecountry. One contentious issue that had a major influence on society during and afterthe War was that of the role and participation of black auxiliaries who weredeployed against the Boer forces. After the hostilities had ended, many publicationsdealt with the topic at both a general and an individual level. The aim of the study onwhich this article reports, was to analyse the topic at an individual level, specificallyfocusing on an incident that occurred at Gatberg on 20 November 1901. Theskirmish near the former Transkei border occurred between a Boer commando and ablack unit under the command of a British officer, and resulted in a great deal ofbitterness and controversy that lasted for many years after the conclusion of the War.In the article, the clash is described and placed in its historical context in order toexplain what transpired on that fateful day. The article explains the animosity thatwas generated by the incident, but also the contrasting views that existed after theincident.IntroductionThe deconstruction in historiography of broader events within a postmodernisticcontext significantly highlights lesser-known incidents and role playerswithin the broader ambit. The shifting and thesharpening of the focus onto lesser-knownincidents and role players provide newperspectives or reinforce current perspectivesand insights of events. The deconstructedScientia Militaria
Published
2013-11-19
How to Cite
Labuschagne, P. (2013). THE SKIRMISH AT GATBERG: A PERSPECTIVE ON THE UTILISATION OF BLACK AUXILIARIES DURING THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR ON THE TRANSKEI BORDER (1899–1902). Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 41(2). https://doi.org/10.5787/41-2-1069
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Articles