Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Chapter 06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08
Chapter 09
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64
Chapter 65
Chapter 66
Chapter 67
Chapter 68
Chapter 69
Chapter 70
Chapter 71
Chapter 72
Chapter 73
Chapter 74
Chapter 75
Chapter 76
Chapter 77
Chapter 78
Chapter 79
Chapter 80
Chapter 81
Chapter 82
Chapter 83
Chapter 84
Chapter 85
Chapter 86
Chapter 87
Chapter 88

TAZARA ... a journey by rail through world-history © KJS / 2009
The Controller

He let change a small island in the Nile at Aswan into a tropical garden full of exotic plants?
The misanthrope — as a garden-fan?
I have to scribble it down … here where it smells of soot and of oil.
That’s for my nose.
For my eyes, both of it produced some iridescent film …
on scattered glass-pieces, sitting in the rusty sieve of a roof …
hovering over this draughty hall …
each fragment reflecting a dazzling recollection …

1 In 1897, we celebrated Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee with a grand procession of floats through the streets of Johannesburg. Mr. Harry Clayton’s float, a wagon drawn my mules featured a wonderful new bicycle with the first pneumatic tyres.
On that great day, the bicycle of our eight years old son still had solid tyres. He took part in the bicycle section of the procession, riding with the other pioneer children behind the grown-ups. He paddled along somewhat sheepishly in a spotless white satin suit with a large white felt hat adorned with ostrich plumes, and collar and cuffs of the George III era. His finery did not long stand spotless. As he was approaching Chudleigh’s corner a man stepped out and tossed an armful of coloured streamers over him. In a second, the pretty mess had twined around his wheels, and down he fell. He was convinced, it would not have happened with pneumatic tyres.

For a while, the golden city feasted and danced and drank loyal toasts to the great Queen far away. But beyond its horizons, grey with the dust of the mine-dumps, a cloud was rising: a cloud spewed from Pretoria, where the old implacable enemy sat smoking and brooding on his stoep …
By that time, we Uitlanders formed roughly seventy-three per cent of Transvaal’s population. The Boers, whose land it was, were a minority of a mere twenty-seven per cent. Hatred and resent plucked at the hearts of Boer and Briton, and there were dark murmurings that the limit of endurance had been passed, and the storm was bound to break soon.
But as Christmas drew near, many people thrust their forebodings away, and determined to enjoy the great festival with as much goodwill as they could master. There was calm in our home, and much talk was between me and my wife of sending our son to boarding school in Maritzburg. The Oval was so far from the wanderer’s club where I had given up cricket and taken up tennis. Nearly every house around us had its own court, so there was plenty of opportunity to enjoy the new game.

Then came December 1889

On Sunday before Christmas, a sudden spurt of flames ripped through the town’s outward calm into the explosive passions beneath. It flashed from a revolver shot fired by a Boer policeman into the body of a British subject named Tom Jackson Edgar. A homely name, to be sure; but one destined to take its place in history among those murdered ones who have set nations at each other’s throats and dragged thousands after them to the grave.
Edgar, a strong, fearless man, was on his way home about midnight when a sick, drunken man snarled an abusive remark at him. Edgar’s retort was a blow, which knocked the fellow senseless. His two companions rushed for the police, and Edgar went calmly home.
Presently four policemen were thundering at his door, bursting it open without even calling on Edgar to come out to surrender. Edgar, who had been sitting in his bedroom talking to his wife, came out into the passage as a Boer policeman named — incongruously — Jones, burst in. Later it was alleged that Edgar struck Jones on the head with an iron-stick. But other witnesses declared he did not have time to strike at all, for Constable Jones fired at him, and he fell dead in his wife’s arms.
Next day Jones was arrested and immediately released on surety of £200.

Between four and five thousand people gathered in the Market Square to hear a petition to Queen Victoria praying for protection. Twelve years ago, I had helped to organise another meeting of gold diggers so that they might form themselves into an orderly body to command the ear of the government. Twelve short years ago! In that time a fine lusty town had sprung from the dusty tents of the diggers’ camps: a town to which the eyes of not only South Africa but the world were drawn by the glitter of its gold. Homes by the thousands sat snugly on the ridges; and the busy machinery of the mines bore witness to the incomputable wealth beneath.
Was this the end? Would it all vanish in the merciless swirling hatred of one nation for another?
The petition was read to the meeting, and the crowd then marched quietly to the office of the British Vice-Consul, who heard and accepted it.
The die was cast. There followed days of almost unbearable anxiety for those who knew its portent — and then the blow fell.
The petition had been refused!
The reason given to the people was that the petition should never have been published before its presentation. There were murmurs of a breach of diplomatic etiquette.
But now the tide of hatred was running full spate. Policeman Jones was tried for culpable homicide and acquitted. But the organisers of the meeting, which heard the petition read, were arrested and released upon bail of £1,000 each.
There came a brief easing of the strain with the news that the British High Commissioner, Sir Alfred Millner, and Boer-President Paulus „Ohm“ Kruger were to confer at Bloemfontein and try to arrive at some settlement of the Uitlanders’ grievances. But the different viewpoints were now utterly irreconcilable.
Most of our relatives had decided not to move. All their children were young, and they saw no reason why the Boers should molest them. Our son was now at a boarding school at St. Charles’ College in Maritzburg.
The political causes of the tragic struggle were many and intricate. However, the basic causes were simple enough. The gold and the diamonds were at the bottom of all. Britain not only wanted its share, it was fearing that the Boers who had become rich together with us Uitlanders would pose, together with their potential German allies, a threat to the other British territories in Southern Africa.

1 In October 1899, the war began.

With the coming of the war, hundreds fled from Johannesburg.
My problem was solved in a way that brooked no argument. I simply went home one day and said:
„Agnes, pack up. We’re going to Durban.“
„They have been at you, haven‘t they?“ she demanded.
I nodded. „They were quite reasonable. Gave me two days to get out or to be taken prisoner. So I just locked my office and came home. We‘ll have to move fast, because the trains are crammed and I don‘t want to lose a chance of getting away. No Boer jail for me if I can help it!“
„But what am I to pack? What will happen to the house?“
„The house will have to take care of itself. We‘ll take what we can with us and the rest — we‘ll just lock the door and leave it to Providence.“
So, like countless others in the fateful half-century then dawning, we took our two children and became refugees from war. The train took us to that city at the sea from where it once had taken me into Africa — then as a very young immigrant from Europe, now as a refugee within Africa.
I found Durban keyed to a feverish pitch of excitement. Troops from England were pouring off ships that arrived regularly in the Bay. Sometimes there would be a parade with bands marching through the streets — as much for the benefit of the Zulus as the Boer sympathisers.
Town guards were formed, and accommodation of any kind was almost unobtainable. Fortunately, I had friends in the town and was able to find a room at the Royal Hotel. But I was practically penniless, with many legal accounts outstanding. Money had to be earned somehow. I managed to get a small office in Acutt’s Arcade and with the help of friends secured furniture for it, and clothing for the family. Many of our Johannesburg friends had also sought refuge in Durban and we formed a little Goldfields community.
At first most of my work consisted of settling the affairs of men who volunteered for the forces. Then an important High Court case came my way, in which I defended an Indian client against an opposing solicitor who was none other than Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi was already very much in the limelight for his championship of the Asians’ rights in South Africa. The Britons would come to know him better when he, other than the Boers, would stand against them not with force but with civil disobedience, wrangling from them power in the Jewel of the British Crown-colony, in India.
When I won this case against Ghandi, it brought a welcome change in our fortunes. Before long, I decided to leave the hotel and install us in a comfortable house at the back of Point Road, not far from the modern Addington Hospital
There was a military hospital nearby — a collection of big marquee tents, and many friends in khaki came to visit us — men who had been wounded or sent back from the front with fever or dysentery. One of them was a young man named Ellis who had been in my office in Johannesburg, and who now held us enthralled with his war stories …

Here, in my hall, I use electrical power to operate a computer, which brings me on the screen: THE FILE KITCHENER
Kitchener arrived in Durban with Lord Roberts on the RMS Dunottar Castle and the massive British reinforcements of December 1899. Officially holding the title of chief of staff, he was in practice a second-in-command, and commanded a much-criticised frontal assault at the Battle of Paardeberg in February 1900.
Following the defeat of the conventional Boer forces, Kitchener succeeded Roberts as overall commander in November 1900, and after the failure of a reconciliatory peace treaty in February 1901 (due to British cabinet veto) which Kitchener had negotiated with the Boer leaders, Kitchener inherited and expanded the successful strategies, including concentration camps and the scorched earth policy, devised by Roberts to force the Boer commandos to submit.
In a brutal campaign, these strategies removed civilian support from the Boers with a scorched earth policy of destroying Boer farms, slaughtering livestock, building blockhouses as defence along important traffic lines, and moving women, children and the elderly into concentration camps.

1 During that time, I was busy with church work among other things, doing all I could to help Bishop Jolivet, who had by now celebrated his golden jubilee, and hoped to build a cathedral in Durban before retiring. Although the town was busy collecting funds for soldiers’ comforts, we managed to obtain some funds for the new cathedral. I organised concerts in the Town Hall.
There was no time to reflect, I had to take care of my family, of the bishop’s cathedral … That Kitchener had established fifty concentration camps where almost twenty-seven thousand women and children died of measles, typhoid fever, malnutrition … all this I read now in this file.
The camps lacked space, food, sanitation, medicine, and medical care, leading to rampant disease and a staggering thirty-four point four per cent death rate for those Boers who entered. The biggest critic of the camps was the Englishwoman, humanitarian and welfare worker Emily Hobhouse. She arrived at the camp at Bloemfontein on 24th January 1901 and was shocked by the conditions she encountered:
„They went to sleep without any provision having been made for them and without anything to eat or to drink. I saw crowds of them along railway lines in bitterly cold weather, in pouring rain, hungry, sick, dying and dead. Soap was an article that was not dispensed. The water supply was inadequate. No bedstead or mattress was procurable. Fuel was scarce and had to be collected from the green bushes on the slopes of the kopjes (small hills) by the people themselves. The rations were extremely meagre and when, as I frequently experienced, the actual quantity dispensed fell short of the amount prescribed, it simply meant famine.“
When she returned to England, she received scathing criticism and hostility from the British government and many of the media but eventually succeeded in obtaining more funding to help the victims of the war.
The British Liberal leader at the time, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, denounced what he called the „methods of barbarism“.
The British government eventually agreed to set up the Fawcett Commission to investigate her claims, under Millicent Fawcett, which corroborated her account of the shocking conditions.

Once I switch off the computer, the dark monitor will reflect my own face, ageless … then I bow again over my notebook and scribble down …
After having studied the KITCHENER FILE, I visited Elria Wessels. She is director of the Boer-War-Museum in Bloemfontein. She showed me the location where the camp existed. She described to me how it had looked like …
Many Britons, including myself, did not want to face this chapter of our history. The Boers elevated it to the level of a folk tale.
Both attempts deform history.
Emily Hobhouse was able to see with her own eyes the British concentration camps. She was able to return und to tell the British public about the horror and to accuse British authorities — without endangering her own safety or freedom.
Charles Aked, a Baptist minister in Liverpool, was not that lucky. He said on 22nd December 1901, Peace Sunday: „Great Britain cannot win the battles without resorting to the last despicable cowardice of the most loathsome cur on earth — the act of striking a brave man’s heart through his wife’s honour and his child’s life. The cowardly war has been conducted by methods of barbarism ... the concentration camps have been Murder Camps.“ Afterward, a crowd followed him home and broke the windows of his house.

But the difference with Nazi-Deutschland is: individual protest there against barbarism of the state would have lead the protesters themselves into concentration camps.

The cattle-wagons remain on the track.
Kitchener’s victims need their voices to be heard as well.
Valid is the spoken word!


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