South African Military History Society

News-sheet No. 92. DURBAN BRANCH March 1981


Centenary of the Battle of Majuba. Eleven Durban members linked up with two busloads of Transvaal members on the evening of February 26th, 1981, to participate in commemorating the battle of Majuba, which took place on 27 February l88l. Four of our members, Dr. Jack Hickman, and Messrs Barry Stephenson, Midge Carter, Ken Gillings and Martin Donaldson, participated in the re-enaction of Colley's night-march, which had been organised by the Johannesburg Branch. On the 27th and 28th the sites of the battles of Laing's Nek, Schuinshoogte (Ingogo) and Majuba were visited under the able guidance of Col Duxbury from the War Museum.

Monthly Get-together. The February meeting was addressed by fellow. member Cmdt Justin Hulme on the subject of "Loot Cattle". What, at first glance, appeared as a somewhat specialised and circumscribed subject emerged as a wide and facinating study of a feature of South African life over two and a half centuries. Having indicated the importance of livestock - cattle, horses, sheep and goats - right from the first settlement of the Cape as a victualling station in 1652, the speaker painted an absorbing picture of the vicissitudes to which this all-important commodity was subjected over the years. Not only did the posssession of livestock, and the importance it played in the socio-economic life of white, brown, and black communities, lead to cattle rustling and stockthefts and the re-capture of animals in peacetime, but the capture and re-capture of livestock by all parties involved became a basic feature of all wars and war-like actions waged in South Africa over that period. Sad stories alternated with humorous incidents, and were interspersed with mind-boggling statistics, such as over 43 000 head of cattle, over 100 000 sheep and over 1 000 horses which forcibly changed hands during one of the frontier wars.

Barry Stephenson thanked the speaker on behalf of the meeting and gave him credit for an extremely well-researched, and most entertainingly presented talk.


Sunday 22 March, 1981.
At the abovementioned get-together it was announced that the Ladysmith Historical Society, to which this Branch is affiliated, intends to visit the Spionkop Exhibition at the Parks Board Museum at Spionkop Dam Holiday Resort. This Exhibition has been produced by Mr. Gilbert Torlage, Ranger Historian, Natal Parks Board.

On Sunday, 22 March, participants will assemble on the district road below Mount Alice at l0h00. First, Mr. Torlage will give a talk on the Battle of Spionkop from Mount Alice. After the talk participants will go to the Museum, and then gather far a braai and picnic near the Dam. (Anyone wanting further information may phone our own Chairman, 'SB', at 857607.)

Saturday, 25th April, 1981. Field Day to Fort Eshowe (kwaMondi)

Members are invited to assist in adding some final touches to the improvements undertaken at Fort Eshowe. These will involve affixing aluminium plaques, bearing various imscriptions as markers, to cement bases (bearers); digging shallow holes to place the precast cement bases in position in the ground. A caretaker has been appointed by the Natal Regional Committee, National Monuments Council, so the site should be fairly clear, but some exotic tree's round the site might still have to be removed. Further details will be announced later; but members who are interested to participate are requested to keep this date free, and to indicate their intention to Chairman 'SB' or the undersigned.

Monthly Get-together.

April 9th Fellow-member RON MELROSE will talk on "GENGHIS KHAN".

The venue will be the Lecture Room, 'SB' Bourquin Building (Port Natal Administration Board's Head Office) on the corner of Jan Smuts Highway and Buro Crescent, Mayville, (at the foot of Mayville Hill) on the second Thursday in April, commencing at 8 P.M. SHARP. Glasses and ice will be supplied so please bring your own bottled or canned refreshments. FRIENDS AND INTERESTED PERSONS ARE WELCOME TO COME ALONG.


The Pinetown Bays' High School has just joined the Society and any senior boys who may be interested in attending our meetings and outings will always be most welcome.

(Mrs) Tania van der Watt,
Secretary, Durban Branch,
S.A. Military History Society,
Box 870, HILLCREST, 3650.
Telephone 742970

* NOTE* Fast mirror and backup site      BOOKMARK FOR REFERENCE     Main site * NOTE*

South African Military History Society /