Original Research

Die Anglo-Boereoorlog (1899-1902) in die Afrikaanse letterkunde: ’n geheelperspektief

André Wessels
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 7, No 2 | a237 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v7i2.237 | © 2011 André Wessels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2016 | Published: 31 December 2011

About the author(s)

André Wessels, Universiteit van die Vrystaat, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Full Text:

PDF (274KB)


This study reviews Afrikaans literary works (poems, plays, novels and short stories) dealing with the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). War poems written by well- known Afrikaans poets such as Jan F.E. Celliers, Eugène Marais, C. Louis Leipoldt, Totius and D.J. Opperman, as well as some of the few plays that have the war as background, receive attention. See in this regard, for example, N.P. van Wyk Louw’s Die pluimsaad waai ver of bitter begin, which in its day elicited a substantial amount of controversy. In addition to the short stories that deal with the war, many novels on the war have also been published. Attention is drawn to the fact that the upsurge in Afrikaner nationalism in the 1930s (and later) went hand-in-hand with the publication of Anglo-Boer War novels. The youth was also not neglected, thanks to best-selling books on the war by Mikro and others. Etienne Leroux’s controversial novel Magersfontein, o Magersfontein! (1976) paved the way for several other noteworthy war novels that demythologise the Afrikaner’s so-called heroic role in the war. The article also identifies the most important topics that have thus far been explored in the Afrikaans literature on the war, for example the role played by Cape rebels; the consequences of the British scorched-earth policy and concomitant camps for white and black civilians; feminism, and the role and experiences of black and coloured people. In conclusion, the mutually enriching relationship between history and literature is investigated.

Keywords: Afrikaans literature, Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Cape rebels, black civilians, faminism, relations history and literature

Subjects: Military history, Literature Studies, South African Studies


Afrikaans literature; Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902); Cape rebels; black civilians; faminism; relations history and literarture


Total abstract views: 2089
Total article views: 3226

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.