oa Kronos : Journal of Cape History - Die Veldslag van Nouroegas



The Battle of Naroegas, 23 May 1901. In the battle of Naroegas, fought near Kenhardt in the Northern Cape on 23 May 1901, a Boer commando suffered a severe defeat at the hands of a force of ""brown"" people of the Northern Border Scouts. The story of this battle has been buried almost since its occurrence. Here we publish an account of this battle, as well as a commentary on its context, historiography, sources and significance. The account is by Jessie Strauss, a recovery of the story of the battle based solely on oral testimony from brown people, including his own ancestry. This originally formed part of a manuscript titled Kinders van die Gariep, on the history of brown people in the Northern Cape at the turn of the twentieth century. In the course of research in the Northern Cape, Martin Legassick met Jessie Strauss, read his manuscript, and was excited by the originality of some sections of it, including that on Naroegas. He undertook to try to discover what could be found in the archives on this forgotten battle of the South African War. His commentary, which follows Jessie Strauss's account, is based largely on the written sources. It places the battle in the context of the war in the North-West Cape, and reflects on the silences and distortions in the written accounts of this war, as well as the ""hiddenness"" of the oral records of the battle. It argues that the significance of the ""history"" of the battle lies as much in what it reveals about social relations in the area as in adding to our military knowledge of the South African War.


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