06 JANUARY 1900
De Rand Post in these days of war is even more interesting than we poor Ben Viljoen wrote in its columns. It is under no delusion as to the enemy the Republics are fighting and it exhibits him in his hideousness to the people. A brutal, inhuman savage—that is what it calls the Britisher and it proves him so by the sworn testimony of men like Dr. van der Merwe, whose characters are above the reach of calumny. Murder under cover of the white flag, violation of the Red Cross, slaughter of the wounded, ill-treatment and assassination of prisoners, robbery of the dying—these are some of the charges which the organ of the Young Transvaalers makes against the Christian English—and proves.
Scratch an Englishman and you will find a savage. De Jong, the Secretary of the Transvaal Education Department—most learned and courteous of Hollanders—lay dying on the field of Elandslaagte. A British lancer found him and plunged his lance twice through the wounded man. A Hollander was taken prisoner. ‘March!’ said a British officer, placing him before his horse. He marched, and the British officer and gentlemen shot him through the back with his revolver. Old General Koch lying wounded on the field was stripped naked by the English and left in the cold African night. ‘The Red Cross!’ cried a Boer ambulance assistant as the saw the English lancers charging down on the field hospital. ‘To Hell with the Red Cross!’ shouted the Englishmen, driving their lances through his body. But it is needless to recite the litany of English atrocities; these will serve as a sample of the manner in which English is endeavouring to civilise the Boers. Those rough people are being taught what British courtesy and chivalry mean in addition to learning all about British valour and humanity. The Burgher prisoners in their hands were marched by the English through the streets of Ladysmith where the kafirs and the Englishwomen gathered and hooted and spat at them. The nigger and the English lady’s hearts beat as one in Ladysmith.
Pretoria and Johannesburg just now must be exceedingly pleasant places to live in. Since the English cleared out decency has had a chance. The workingmen of Johannesburg have all enrolled themselves as special constables and crime has almost disappeared from the golden city. One daily, one tri-weekly, and three weekly papers are published, twelve mines are working producing £250,000 worth of gold monthly, the mail goes and comes by Delagoa Bay, the trains run a regular service, the wines of France can still be bought from 16s. the dozen bottles at the corner of Wilhelm and De Villiers-streets, Veldhuizen of Rissik-street dispense Van Erkom’s Magaliesburg—most glorious of tobaccos—at 2s. the lb., his neighbour Mackay is doing a roaring trade in musical instruments, and Bill Bowness beams smiles as he serves up the lager to his old friends in the Old Exchange Bar. In fact, since John Bull and Ikey Moses scrambled over the bodies of women and children away from Johannesburg there are good times and decency in the city. The Boer and the uitlander are on the best of terms, the workingman is earning more money in one month under the grasping oligarchic tyranny which freedom-loving English drew the sword to deliver him from than he did in three when the Briton and the Jew sat on his chest bewailing his wrongs and picking his pockets. The fact that the British lion has lost his tail in the Tugela doesn’t cause him a pang of sorrow. He is laying wagers as to the exact date on which the beast will lose its head.