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Who was Louis Botha? Read an Excerpt from Louis Botha's War by Adam Cruise

Louis Botha's WarLouis Botha’s statue outside Parliament in Cape Town was smeared with red paint recently in the ongoing debate around the relevance of pre-democracy figures being displayed in public spaces.

Who was Botha and what challenges did he face in a specific period of our country’s history? How does his legacy affect the South Africa we live in today? Was he a hero, an arbiter of peace, or just another oppressor?

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from Louis Botha’s War by Adam Cruise, which investigates the country’s involvement in World War I on the side of the British, a mere 12 years after the end of the South African War.

Read the excerpt:

Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. As a dominion of the British Empire, South Africa was automatically drawn into the conflict. The news of a European war could not have come at a worse time for Botha. It was a mere twelve years since the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging which brought an end to the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, a bitter conflict that pitted Briton against Boer, and the wounds still ran deep. The Union, made up of two former colonies and two previously independent states, was itself only four years old and already the Afrikaners were fighting among themselves over the path the new country should take. Botha’s own policy was to pledge reconciliation between the two disparate groups of whites, the one English, the other Afrikaans, but his fellow countrymen were still smarting from defeat at the hands of their traditional foe.

 
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