n English in Africa - Four unknown prison poems by H. C. Bosman

Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Just after midnight on Sunday, 18 July 1926, merely hours before he was due to return to the Marico after a mid-year break, Herman Charles Bosman killed his stepbrother David Russell at the family home at 19 Isipingo Street, Bellevue East, Johannesburg. Using a hunting rifle that he had brought back from the bushveld, he shot the 23-year-old Russell in the bedroom shared by the two men. The consequence of this act for the young schoolteacher was what he later called "a somewhat lengthy sojourn in prison" (Bosman 1949, unnumbered dedication page). He escaped the gallows, had his sentence commuted to 10 years with hard labour, and emerged on parole on 14 September 1930, having served just over four years of this sentence (Gray 2005, 131).

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