1860-1899 | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | South Africa | Wounded killed

Battle of Kambula – ‘terrible execution’ as ‘no quarter was shown.’

29 March 1879 On 29 March 1879, British cavalry and troops massacred hundreds of fleeing and wounded Zulu warriors after the Battle of Kambula. The Zulus had been fighting to defend their homeland from a British invasion and despite facing an enemy who was far better equipped, they launched a desperate frontal assault up a…

1900-1919 | Famine | Racism | South Africa

Africans starved to save the white garrison of Mafeking

[ 17 May 1900 ] On 17 May 1900, a British army relieved the besieged city of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. It led to street celebrations across Britain and the commander of the besieged garrison, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, became a national hero.  B-P had ruthlessly maintained food stocks for British troops and European…

1900-1919 | Concentration camps

Lord Kitchener deceives South African Boers with empty promises

20 December 1900 On 20 December 1900, General Lord Kitchener issued a propaganda proclamation in which he promised South African Boer insurgents, who surrendered voluntarily, that they would be allowed to live in government run camps along with their families ‘until such time as the guerrilla warfare now being carried on will admit of their…

1860-1899 | Battlefield butchery | Burning crops | Burning villages | Civilians slaughtered | Collective punishments | Livestock targeted

Colonial troops slaughter hundreds in Natal

14 December 1873 On 14 December 1873, John Colenso, the Bishop of Natal, wrote a letter to Frederick Chesson, the secretary of the London Aborigines Protection Society. He informed him that colonial troops had killed ‘hundreds of (Hlubi) men’ and that ‘hundreds of women and children’ had been taken prisoner, adding that a proclamation had…

1980-1989 | Backing Apartheid

Thatcher insists she can’t meet the ‘terrorist’ A.N.C.

17 October 1987 On 17 October 1987, at a press conference at the Vancouver Commonwealth Summit, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the African National Congress ‘a typical terrorist organisation,’ adding that she would have ‘nothing to do with any organisation that practices violence. I have never seen anyone from the ANC or the PLO or…

1900-1919 | Backing Apartheid | Racism

South Africa Act 1909 creates the legal foundation of Apartheid

20 September 1909 On 20 September 1909, the British parliament passed the South Africa Act, which laid the legal foundation for apartheid South Africa. Section 35 restricted voting rights in three of the four provinces in the newly created Union of South Africa to white males. Only in Cape Colony were black men to be…

1900-1919 | Deportation | Executions | Prisoners murdered

Minister – sanctioning the shooting of Boer prisoners would be ‘awkward’

21 June 1900 On 21 June 1900, opposition was voiced by a minister in Cabinet to General’s kitchener’s ruthless war against Boer insurgents in South Africa, including the destruction of entire villages and the shooting of prisoners on sight. It was not on a point of principle but rather over concern as to how public…

1900-1919 | Burning crops | Burning villages | Collective punishments | Detention without trial | Livestock targeted | Punitive operations

Field Marshal Roberts – Detain Boer civilians and burn their homes

16 June 1900 In October 1899, Boer settlers in the Transvaal and Orange Free, faced with a tightening circle of British troops advancing from Cape Colony and Natal, had declared a war against Britain. It was a desperate act of rebellion. The British were confident it could be crushed within a few days, but they…

1980-1989 | Backing Apartheid | Backing repressive regimes

Thatcher welcomes Apartheid leader P.W. Botha

2 June 1984 On 2 June 1984, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher greeted the apartheid leader of South Africa, P.W. Both, at her official country estate at Chequers.  An estimated 40,000 protesters, furious at the government’s implicit endorsement of the regime, took to the streets of central London. Contrary to subsequent assertions, there is absolutely no…

1970-1979 | Arms exports | Backing Apartheid

Cabinet – Uranium more important than ending Apartheid

15 May 1975 Throughout 1975, Harold Wilson’s Labour government supplied Apartheid South Africa with ammunition, military spares and other critical equipment for their armed forces. Britain’s backing helped the South African army enforce internal repression and prevent anti-imperialist insurgencies across southern Africa, as the regime increasingly resorted to extreme means to pacify the region. In…