Hayward Young & Co

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By means of reconciliation, as well as considerable economic development assistance, the imperial power won the co-operation of Botha and Smuts who, far-sighted, grasped the opportunity of self-government within the Empire, and achieved it in 1910. Thus was South Africa – until then not much more than a geographical expression – created as a single nation of many peoples.

Just eight years after a bitter war, which set brother against brother, brought great suffering to civilians in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, as well as great loss of life amongst the soldiers of both sides, the British settlers and the Afrikaners living in the same land really did lay my hand in my neighbour’s hand and founded the nation which occupies the same boundaries today, more than a hundred years later.

The second extract of poetry along the walkway is from a poem called, with ironic intention, Vergewe en vergeet [2]. The destruction of their independence could never be forgotten by the Afrikaners. The strategic alliance with the British Empire which Botha and Smuts carried through, was never accepted by the hard-line Afrikaner nationalists – lesser men; narrow men; men who nursed their grievances; who would never forgive or forget:

Maar tog het daardie boompie – But yet that little thorn tree

Weer stadig reggekom, – Slowly righted itself,

Want oor sy wonde druppel – Dropping onto its wounds

Die salf van eie gom. – The salve of its own gum.

Ook het die loop van jare – And also with the passing of the years

Die wonde weggewis – The wounds were healed,

Net een plek bly ‘n teken – But one place remains, a mark

Wat onuitwisbaar is. – That cannot be removed.

by Totius

[2] Forgive and forget. From Vergewe en Vergeet by J D du Toit (Totius). The “boompie” is the Boer Republic/Afrikanerdom, which seemed to get a fatal blow from the formation of the Union of South Africa, within the British Empire, in 1910. By die monument, Nasionale Boekhandel Bpk, Cape Town.