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Letters - Date: 08 February 2018
Written by: Anton van Zyl / Viewed: 455
Charles Leach, Louis Trichardt, writes:
Frank Shields, Australian journalist and film producer, is coming to the Soutpansberg to “…rectify an omission” in the book which he and Margaret Carnegie published in the late 1980s.
Like many other authors, Frank and Margaret gave very little – or no – recognition to those Boer men and boys who were gunned down by the Bushveldt Carbineers, but whose killers were never Court Martialled for their crimes.
The book, In Search of Breaker Morant Balladist and Bushveldt Carbineer, written by Frank Shields and Margaret Carnegie, is widely regarded as one of the most balanced and complete works on the Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC) by Australian authors.
Frank’s objective is to come back to the Soutpansberg and meet with - and interview - as many descendants of those victims as can be traced and to expose by publishing – or ‘airing’ – their side of the story to Australia.
Though the dates of his visit have not been finalised, Frank will most probably be here in the first week of April 2018.
Obviously we support this unique and noble cause and will give Frank all the support, assistance and backup in his search for descendants.
Of the six Boers shot and buried near Valdezia on 2 July 1901, namely JJ Vercuil (31), FGJ Potgieter (18), JC Greyling (25), JJ Geyser (65), his son PJ Geyser (12) and ? van Heerden (?), I have only managed to contact Dennis Everleigh, (descendant of JJ Vercuil) and also Gerrit Geyser and his cousin, Doppies. These men welcome the opportunity that Frank will give them to honour their ancestors by exposing the manner in which they died during the Anglo Boer War.
It is proving very difficult to trace descendants of the two Grobler boys, shot by a Bushveldt Carbineers Patrol under command of Lt. Hannam, on 5 September 1901 in the Mooketsi Valley, namely Jan Derk Grobler (14) and Jacobus Daniel Grobler (6). Fortunately, their young sister Elizabeth Maria Grobler (9), survived the rifle shot that grazed her neck.
It is possible that the Grobler family was from the Lowveldt region and not from the Soutpansberg as we know it today.
Any assistance in locating descendants will be much appreciated. The same applies to descendants of FGJ Potgieter and JC Greyling.
Frank will - hopefully - also be meeting Daniel Heese, a great-grandson of the Rev Heese who was shot on the farm Vliegenpan on 23 August 1901.
I have made contact with Prof. Madumela, descendant of Chief Madumetsa of Matshema who was shot by Capt. Taylor. Regretfully, there were never any names provided of the two Boers who were shot at Zari Pool in the Kruger Park, also by Capt. Taylor.
There were several black attendants to the Boer parties who were chased and gunned down by members of the BVC and whose names were not recorded. The only exception were two men shot at Valdezia by Capt. Taylor on 27 July, 1901, by the names of Njoba and Matungen.
Any descendants of these persons are requested to contact me. I can be reached at (015) 516 5221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Anton van Zyl has been with the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror for over 27 years. He graduated at the the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and obtained a BA Communications degree. He is a founder member of the Association of Independent Publishers.