University of Botswana History Department
Boer War Pages
by Neil Parsons
The Boer War, otherwise known as the South African War or the (Second) Anglo-Boer War started at midnight on the night of Wednesday-Thursday October 11th-12th, 1899.
The first hostile act of the war was actually deep inside Botswana, when Boers sabotaged the Cape-Rhodesia telegraph line somewhere near Mahalapye in the early hours of Thursday October 12th.
On Friday the 13th the war began in earnest with a Boer attack on a British armoured train at Kraaipan south of Mafikeng.
The Boers planned to capture Mafikeng and advance through Botwana, to capture Bulawayo and Zimbabwe.
African soldiers were deeply involved in the war, particularly in and around Botswana. Barolong, Bakgatla, and Bangwato fought on the side of the British. Bahurutshe, Bagananwa and others fought on the side of the Boers.
Hence the war is usually called the South African War by historians today, to stress the fact that it was much more than just an Anglo-Boer War.
The Boer War Pages on the University of Botswana History Department Web-site tell the story of the war in Botswana.
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