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Woman's Endurance   By:

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Woman's Endurance.






A perusal of the following "Introduction" by the Author, and of his true and touching "Diary," will assuredly carry the conviction into your own soul, if you still require conviction, that our South African women were the heroines of the late deplorable war.

May this pathetic relation bring us all nearer to one another in sympathy and love; and serve to awaken in every woman's breast the desire to emulate and perpetuate the pure faith and noble devotion which these Sisters of ours have handed down to us and to all posterity as their priceless legacy.

In undertaking the responsibility for the publication of this "Diary," I may simply state that the proceeds will be given towards the support of the Orphanage at Bethulie.

Yours, etc., D. DE VILLIERS, Secretary, Boer Relief Committee . CAPE TOWN.


This Journal was written in the Bethulie Concentration Camp just two years ago.

A few days after my return from Europe (whither I had gone for six months on the completion of a Theological course at Stellenbosch), a telegram came from the Deputy Administrator of the Orange River Colony, through the Rev. Wm. Robertson, inviting me to work as Chaplain in one of the Concentration Camps.

The Rev. Mr. Pienaar, who had received a similar invitation, and I therefore journeyed down to Bloemfontein a few days later. We received great courtesy at the hands of Sir Hamilton Gould Adams, the Deputy Administrator, and every kindness from Mr. Robertson.

In a few days it was finally decided that Mr. Pienaar should go to Irene, in the Transvaal, and I to the Concentration Camp at Bethulie. Thither I forthwith travelled, arriving at my destination on the 21st August.

The thought suggested itself the very first day that I might desire, in after years, to recall my experiences in Camp, and so I decided to keep a diary. This thought, and this alone, prompted me in the matter. Of an evening, therefore, just before retiring, I noted down the doings of the day, consulting at such times always my pocket note book.

What was written was done hurriedly, on the impulse of the moment in fact, simply scribbled down without, of course, any regard to style, language, or form. Stress of circumstances must be held responsible for the many undignified expressions in which the Diary abounds. It should not be forgotten, moreover, that I was usually tired out after the day's work, when these entries were made.

For almost a year the Diary lay in my desk before I could summon courage to re read it. After it had been hidden again for another year, I rashly promised a sick friend to send it for her to read. Fearing, however, that she would not be able to follow all the contractions, I decided to copy it over, and it was while thus engaged that it became clear to me that it should be published. Cui bono? is of course, the question which must be faced. The only answer I wish to plead is that this work is a tribute to Woman's Endurance, and that it presents in the story of that endurance, and the fortitude of the Dutch women and children, one of the nobler aspects of the late war. And is not this plea enough? Cannot we sometimes forget the inevitable political aspect of things and see beyond into the human?

In conclusion, this: A diary is simply a confidential talk to one's self of one's self such is its prerogative. While, then, sending forth into publicity this Journal in its entirety, so as not to mar its integrity, need it be suggested how hard it is occasionally to lay bare the naked soul within?

Durbanville, Cape Colony, September, 1903.


As reproduced here, the Diary is substantially the same as the original, except for:

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