Rabu, 2 Januari 2008

THE BATTLE OF BLAAUWBERG: DAY OF DESTINY

THE BATTLE OF BLAAUWBERG: DAY OF DESTINY


By Willem Steenkamp

Introduction

Soon after first light on the morning of January 8, 1806, the peaceful plain behind the Blaauwberg, just 30km from Cape Town, erupted in an orgy of controlled violence on a scale never before seen at this faraway enclave at the toe of Africa.

Artillery pieces boomed and spat lethal iron cannon-balls back and forth, muskets rattled off individual shots or roared in volleys. Wounded men and horses screamed as they wallowed in their own blood, officers and sergeants shouted orders in voices hoarse with thirst, torrents of sweat turning their powder-stained faces into devils’ masks.


Drums rattled, Highland bagpipes screeched eerily, overlaying frenzied battle-cries in Dutch, English, French, Gaelic and the local dialect Malay. Everywhere lay the dead, some in the red coats of imperial Britain, others in the dark blue of Holland’s Batavian Republic.


Two hours later it was over. General Jan Willem Janssens, commander of the Batavian forces, had withdrawn and General Sir William Baird of His Britannic Majesty’s Army was the master of the battlefield and its gory fruit. It was still to be another 10 days before a formal capitulation was signed, but for all practical purposes the Cape of Good Hope was now a British colony.

The Battle of Blaauwberg was insignificant when measured against the scale of other battles of the Napoleonic period. It involved a total of no more than about 6 000 men, and at its end, the combined dead, wounded and missing amounted to just over 500 - a mere bagatelle compared to epic battles of the period, such as Austerlitz and Waterloo.


Yet that brief clash of arms had enormous consequences, not just for the Cape but for all of Southern and Central Africa, because it drastically and permanently altered the regional architecture of power and set in motion a long train of interconnected events that is still unfolding today, almost 200 years later.


In spite of this, however, it has become little more than a footnote in our history-books. Not only is its historical significance almost forgotten, but also the array of people and personalities involved, which makes its telling read like a fascinating work of fiction rather than hard fact.

The “cast of characters” includes the generals like Janssens and Baird; the expatriate soldiers and sailors who fought on both sides: Dutch, English, Scottish, French, German, Hungarian and Austrian; and, most important of all, the small but valiant multi-racial corps of Cape-born men – white dragoons, coloured light infantrymen and Panglima’s Muslim Malay gunners, who stood their ground after many of the Batavian troops had fled, and held off the battle-hardened British till the Batavian army had managed to withdraw.

The Cape contingent at Blaauwberg was a small one, only 563 men out of a total of just under 2 000 in the Batavian forces, which consisted of the following units:

* 181 men of the Hottentot Light Infantry (these were what would today be called “coloured”; “Hottentot” was then a descriptive rather than perjorative term).

The Hottentot Light Infantry was an efficient corps of professional soldiers whose men had already acquired a fine reputation as turbulent but valiant fighting soldiers. They were raised by the Dutch East India Company as the Korps Pandoeren in 1787, and at the Battle of Muizenberg fought shoulder to shoulder with the light dragoons. They were then recruited into the British service as the Cape Corps and in 1803, after the handover of the Cape to the Batavian Republic, into the Batavian service as the Hottentot Light Infantry.

* 224 men of the volunteer “burgher cavalry”, organised as light dragoons (actually mounted infantry who fought on foot), mainly from the Swellendam district. The light dragoons were volunteers, drawn from the farming community. By 1806 they had acquired a fine track record, having fought very well at the Battle of Muizenberg during the first British invasion of 1795; when the DEIC regular troops had fled almost without firing a shot, the dragoons and the coloured soldiers of the Korps Pandoeren counter-attacked so ferociously that they drove a much larger British landing force back almost to the water’s edge, and were only forced to retreat by artillery fire.

* 54 gunners of the “Javanese artillery corps”, assisted by 104 auxiliaries such as wagon-drivers. The Panglima Malay Muslim artillerymen were also volunteer citizen-soldiers, members of a “corps of free Javanese” recruited from the “Mardykers”, the substantial community of freed slaves of Malay origin, which by that time was playing an increasingly important role in the social and economic life of the Cape.

General Janssens had established the corps in 1804, mainly to help in manning the Castle’s guns, and by the time of Blaauwberg it had gained a good reputation for zeal and efficiency. Because Blaauwberg was far beyond the range of the Castle’s gun, the “free Javanese” served on this occasion as a unit of foot artillery, the only such unit in South African military annals. The guns they fired at Blaauwberg were “lantakas”, the traditional Indonesian light cannon – again, the only time these traditional weapons were ever used in Africa, as far as is known.

The words of the oath they swore still survives. “Ik beloove en zweere by den Eenigen en Almachtige God en Zyner grooten Profeet Mohamet trouw aan de Bataafsche Republiek, dit land onzer inwoning, tegen alle vyanden van den Bataafsche Republiek te beschermen”. Freely translated from the Dutch, it reads: “I promise and swear by the One Almighty God and His great Prophet Mohamet my loyalty to the Batavian Republic, (and) to defend this land in which we live against all enemies of the Batavian Republic.” They were soon to prove that to them these were not mere words but a sacred undertaking.

Less is known about their 104 auxiliaries, but it is known that they represented a cross-section of Cape Town’s very cosmopolitan proletariat; some of them were almost certainly blacks who had come to the Cape from Mozambique and elsewhere.

The Cape men can only be described as a mixed bag. Some were Christians, some were Muslims, others animists; their skins were of every colour found in mankind. Some had been born free, others were former slaves.

Some were professional soldiers, others citizens in arms. Their professions ranged from labourer to soldier to shop-keeper to farmer, and their personal condition from prosperous to comfortable to poor.

But they had three important things in common. However, that comes later in this account.


Four seminal events in South African history

The Battle of Blaauwberg (literally "Blue Mountain" in Dutch) - at which a British expeditionary force wrested the Cape of Good Hope from the Batavian Republic – might have been insignificant when measured against the scale of other battles of the Napoleonic period, but it had enormous consequences, not just for the Cape but for all of Southern and Central Africa. It drastically and permanently altered the regional architecture of power and set in motion a long train of interconnected events that is still unfolding, almost 200 years later.

Seen against the broader tapestry of the sub-continent’s history, Blaauwberg was the third of four seminal events – the fourth being the election of 1994 - that determined the shape of things to come in an immense swathe of territory.


The first seminal event took place before recorded history, when Khoi clans from the hinterland colonised what later came to be known as the Cape of Good Hope, marginalised the original hunter-gatherers - whom they scornfully referred to as "San” or “Sanqua", meaning robbers or murderers - and set up a loose but clearly defined patchwork of independent clans and small tribes.


The clans' main preoccupations were livestock ownership and access to water and grazing; while some enjoyed peaceful co-existence through links of blood or mutual interests, there was also constant competition for resources.


The second seminal event was the arrival in April 1652 of members of the Dutch East India Company under Jan van Riebeeck, whose mission was not colonisation as such but the creation of a revictualling and repair station for DEIC ships undertaking the long haul from Europe to the spice-growing countries of the Far East, where the company had established a trading centre called Batavia in what is now Indonesia, and the equally arduous journey home.


The Cape became so important to the Dutch economy that the DEIC settled in for a long stay. No systematic colonisation per se took place (this was expressly forbidden, together with any attempt at converting the local inhabitants to Christianity or making war on them if this could be avoided, because the DEIC’s main purpose was to provide a way-station for its passing merchant fleets) but there were several unplanned consequences.


One consequence was that the outpost expanded beyond what had originally been envisaged because the Khoi were not cultivators and did not like to trade off too much of their livestock, which were a status symbol. This meant that the outpost had to grow its own grain and breed its own livestock to fulfil its purpose of re-supplying the DEIC ships.

Another consequence was that Islam was established at the tip of Africa because DEIC policy did not allow for enslaving or conscripting the local inhabitants.

As a result, slaves were imported from what is today Indonesia and its neighbouring countries, as well as India, while other inhabitants of those countries came as freemen and yet others were exiled here after clashing with the DEIC.


By far the most famous of these early Cape Malay Muslims was, of course, Tuan Guru Abdoes Qadi Salaam, R.A. of Tidore an nobleman of great influence. In 1794 Tuan Guru was banished to Robben Island.Tuan Guru as he was affectionately known wrote three Holy Qurans from memory which one is to be found in the first mosque the Auwal mosque in Dorp street in Cape Town.Also he gave sword over to his close friend Imam Achmat of Bengal to lead the Panglima’s into battle as he was very old at that time.

By all accounts the DEIC treated Tuan Guru R.A. was cruel and this evident from his diary which he kept.He had played a great role in entrenching the Islamic faith in South African soil, for which he is remembered to this day. It is important to note the status of Islam at that time, and for the next century or so. Its practice was condoned by the DEIC but, like all the other faiths at the Cape except for the strict Protestant church of the DEIC, it did not enjoy legal recognition or protection.


A third unintended consequence was that the fragile and disunited Khoi social structure could not withstand the impact of a more firmly organised, better-resourced and inevitably expansionist social machine. Its demise was hastened by lack of a common purpose - with some clans enlisting the help of the Dutch against their enemies - and a devastating epidemic of smallpox brought by ships from the Far East in 1713.


That no such epidemic had arrived at the Cape before then was very strange, seeing that trading ships of various nationalities had been calling since the 16th Century, bringing with the the world’s diseases. But in 1713 ships coming from the Far East brought smallpox with them, and it wiped out the major part of the Khoi population in what is now the Western Cape.


Within three generations most of the pre-1652 Khoi culture had crumbled away, and a new society had begun to arise at the Cape, composed of foreign and locally-born whites; the descendants of Javanese exiles, slaves and free persons; people of mixed descent; and small numbers of blacks from farther afield.


Further infusions took place as the decades passed, and as the years passed the people of the Cape became ever more cosmopolitan; at the same time they were beginning to evolve into a distinctive society with its own cultural characteristics and also its own creole language - a mixture of Dutch, Melayu, French and Khoi words and grammar which was later to be known as Afrikaans. To this day, some Melayu words are in common use in Afrikaans – such as “aia” and “baie” (a corruption of “banjak”) – and so is the practice of repeating a word to give it greater emphasis, and the double negative. The Mardyker cuisine has been maintained by the Malay community, and much of it has passed into the broader South African cuisine.


Through all these changing times, one thing remained constant: the vital importance of the Cape of Good Hope. The mighty Dutch East India Company, although a private enterprise, was the backbone of the Netherlands’ economy, since the Dutch were barred from operating in the Mediterranean Sea by the Kingdom of Spain; and it was said that while the prosperity of the Netherlands depended on the prosperity of its Indonesian outpost of Batavia, so the prosperity of Batavia depended in turn on the existence of the Cape.


The precursor to the third seminal event took place in late 1795, by which time the once-powerful Dutch East India Company was enfeebled and almost bankrupt. The decline of its parent naturally affected the Cape’s place in the scheme of things, but it was soon to assume an importance of a different kind.


Europe was in turmoil as the French Revolution spread outward to neighbouring countries; among other things there was an insurrection in the Netherlands; the Dutch ruler, Prince William V of Orange, was forced to exile himself in Britain, and the Batavian Republic was proclaimed.


The Batavian Republic (named in honour of the Batavia, a Dutch tribe which had ferociously resisted the ancient Romans) was the nearest thing to a liberal democracy that could be found in those days. Based on the French revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, it had a constitution which guaranteed various liberties such as the freedom of religion, forbade slavery and introduced a qualified non-racial franchise.


France declared war on Britain and the remaining loyalist Dutchmen, and there ensued a ferocious struggle (known not quite accurately today as the “Napoleonic Wars”) that was to continue, with occasional pauses, till 1815.


Now the Cape was strategically as well as commercially important. Like the Dutch, the British and French had been heavily involved in the Far Eastern trade since the 17th Century, and had acquired substantial colonial holdings there; possession of the only existing revictualling and ship-repair station half-way between West and East became crucial from a military as well as an economic point of view.


Sir Francis Baring, chairman of the English East India Company, put it succinctly in a January 1795 letter to the British Secretary of State for War, Henry Dundas, when he pointed out that the Cape “commands the passage to and from India as effectively as Gibraltar does the Mediterranean”. Equally trenchantly, Dundas’s Under-Secretary noted that although the Cape was “a feather in the hands of the Dutch” it would become “a sword in the hands of France”.


The British government pressured the Prince of Orange into authorising Dutch naval commanders to allow British warships to defend the Cape against the French and ordering Commissioner A J Sluysken to accommodate British troops to prevent a French invasion. It then despatched three squadrons of warships with several thousand soldiers on board.


On 11 June 1795 the first two squadrons, under Vice-Admiral G K Elphinstone, anchored in False Bay, which (unlike Table Bay) was poorly fortified, and entered into negotiations with Sluysken and his military commander, Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon. It soon became evident that, far from merely garrisoning the Cape against the French, they wanted full control over it; negotiations broke down and on 14 July the British landed soldiers at Simon’s Town and occupied it.


On 7 August a 1 600-strong force consisting of soldiers and two battalions of seaman disembarked at Muizenberg and advanced on the Dutch positions there, which were defended by 287 infantrymen and 150 artillerymen of the VOC’s regular garrison, as well as 200 white citizen-soldiers which included light dragoons from as far afield as Swellendam, and 150 coloured soldiers of the Korps Pandoeren.


To their surprise they encountered little resistance; the officer in charge, Lieutenant-Colonel C M W de Lille, had been ordered to give offer only a token resistance. However, the citizen-soldiers – all of whom supported the Batavian Republic – and the Pandoeren offered a spirited resistance. They launched a fierce flanking attack, and in spite of their small numbers forced the British to retreat, then pursued them for some distance till they were forced to desist by fire from some of the abandoned Dutch guns that the British had turned on them.

Several weeks of guerrilla warfare then followed, but on 3 September the third British squadron arrived with 2 500 soldiers arrived and the final advance on Cape Town began. On 14 September a 24-hour truce was negotiated and the following day the Cape surrendered. Thus ended a short and ignominious campaign, whose only highlight had been the heroic repelling of 1 600 British soldiers and sailors by less than 400 white and coloured soldiers, most of them either citizens in arms or barely trained recruits unproven in battle.


The invasion of the Cape was, to all intents and purposes, the death-blow for the faltering Dutch East India Company; and when the British reluctantly relinquished the Cape in December 1802 in terms of the short-lived Treaty of Amiens, they handed it over to the Batavian Republic.

It was a significant moment in South African history. For the first time the Cape had a national identity. It was no longer either a scattering of individual tribes or a commercial outpost run by the Dutch East India Company, or even a colony; it was now part of the democratic Batavian Republic and its people were Batavian citizens. Also for the first time the Cape, led by the new Governor-General, Lieutenant-General J W Janssens and, initially, Commissioner Abraham de Mist, was being governed for and by its inhabitants rather than managed as a virtual branch office of the Dutch East India Company’s headquarters in Indonesia.


Janssens and De Mist forbade the importation of slaves, preparatory abolishing slavery for good. They established a non-racial qualified franchise; they freed trade, so that the inhabitants could do business directly with any passing ship or even with Europe. Schools and agriculture were upgraded. Government finances were opened for scrutiny by the people. The Islamic faith, which had been tolerated but not officially recognised by either the Company or the British in 1795-1802, was accorded equality before the law and full legal protection.


It was an amazing transformation; within less than three years the Cape had become the only liberal democracy in Africa and, in fact, in most of the world. But Batavian rule at the Cape was destined to come to an abrupt end.


In 1805 the British decided to return, this time for good. The French had suffered a devastating naval defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar, but their maritime fighting forces remained formidable; with the Cape as a secure base and Mauritius also in British hands, the Royal Navy could dominate the southern oceans


In August 1805, as Napoleon massed forces at Boulogne to invade England, a British force sailed away on a secret mission to re-take the Cape. It consisted of 61 warships and transport vessels commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir Home Popham and 6 654 soldiers and marines under Major-General Sir David Baird. It was a formidable force indeed, and in addition Baird knew the Cape well from serving there after the first invasion.


On 4 January 1806 Janssens received definite tidings of the British arrival off the coast, and immediately began mobilising both his regular soldiers and his local forces, most of them part-time citizen-soldiers. To call in the latter, the chain of signal guns stretching inland for almost 250km began firing in sequence.


It was the very worst time for such a summons. Crops were ripening and could not be left unattended, and it was so hot that many of the outlying burghers had to travel at night or risk killing their horses.


As a result, Janssens had been able to muster only about 2 000 soldiers by the time the British arrived in Table Bay on 5 January: the mercenaries of the Regiment Waldeck, two Batavian battalions, a squadron of Batavian light dragoons, a troop of Batavian horse artillery,
240 sailors and marines from two beached French warships, the Atalante and the Napoleon, and his force of local men - the Hottentot Light infantry, some burgher commandos; the Swellendam light dragoons and the “Javaansche Malay Artillerie Corps”.


There was a howling south-easter which made conditions in Table Bay so bad that Popham concluded he would be unable to land, and diverted a portion of his force to Saldanha Bay to make landfall there and then advance on Cape Town. But then the wind and sea abated to a certain extent, and Popham decided to risk a landing.


On the morning of 6 January Popham ordered that a small merchantman be scuttled next to a sandbank at Losperds Bay (now Melkbosch) to form a breakwater, and Baird started landing his troops, although the sea was still so rough that 36 soldiers drowned when their boat capsized. There was light resistance from some skirmishers of the Swellendam light dragoons, but Janssens did not dare to muster any forces along the shoreline because of the danger that they would be bombarded by the British warships, and the invaders’ advance started without delay.


It was a race to reach the commanding heights of Blaauwberg, and the British won by a hair, although only after great suffering in dragging their artillery pieces over the dunes.


Robbed of Blaauwberg’s commanding heights, Janssens formed an extended line on the plain beneath it, with his left flank protected by the burghers and Swellendam light dragoons on an outcrop of Blaauwberg called Kleinberg. His plan was to hold the British left flank with his right, allowing him to roll up the British line with his left flank.


When his men were in position he rode up and down the line, exhorting and encouraging them. In spite of their perilous situation the soldiers cheered him, all except the Austrian and Hungarian mercenaries of the Regiment Waldeck, who maintained a sullen – and, as it transpired, ominous - silence.


Baird divined Janssens’s intentions and divided his force into two columns - the left column consisting of the Highland Brigade (the 71st and 93rd Regiments) under Brigadier-General R C Ferguson, and the right, consisting of the 24th, 59th and 83rd Regiments, under his brother, Lieutenant-Colonel John Baird. There were also between 500 and 600 sailors and marines, dragging two howitzers and six small field-guns.


The battle commenced at 5am on 8 January, with the 24th Regiment attacking the burghers on Kleinberg and finally dislodging them after a fierce fight that left a captain and at least 15 men dead, and many other British soldiers wounded. By now the Highland Brigade was advancing amid general cannon-fire from both sides, and some cannon-balls landed among the Waldeck regiment's right flank, causing great despondency. The Highlanders fired their muskets and then fixed bayonets and charged, shouting terrifying Gaelic war-cries while their bagpipes screamed their ancient battle-music.


The Waldeckers allowed the Highlanders to approach within 100 yards of their front. Then, instead of mowing them down with a volley at close range, they broke and ran. The left wing of one Batavian battalion, the 22nd Regiment of the Line, was now unsupported and also began to crumble; Janssens managed to rally it, but the momentary failure had sowed a fatal weakness in the Dutch line.


Now Janssens’s other Batavian battalion, the 9th Batavian Rifles, also started to withdraw as its flank was threatened. The Frenchmen stayed in place, although both their flanks were now unsecured, till being forced back after suffering heavy casualties. The handful of Batavian dragoons also stood fast, but Janssens eventually ordered them to withdraw as well to prevent their unnecessary annihilation.


The remainder of Janssens’s force - the burgher commandos and light dragoons, the Hottentot Light Infantry, the Muslim Malay artillerymen, and the Batavian horse artillery – did not follow suit. Although outgunned and vastly outnumbered, they doggedly stood their ground in the face of intense fire. Eventually Janssens, fearing for their very survival, ordered them to retire, which they did in good order. Only one Batavian gun was lost, due to the gun-horses being killed, and the gunners made sure to spike it so that it could not be turned on them.


Although they suffered severely for their bravery, they succeeded in delaying the British advance long enough to allow Janssens’s "tail" to escape to Rietvlei. There he regrouped his forces – all except for the Waldeckers, most of whom he sent back in disgrace to Cape Town – and withdrew to the Hottentots Holland mountains. Thus ended the Battle of Blaauwberg, the only true battle to be fought within sight of Cape Town in 400 years.


Although it was not a huge bloodletting by the standards of the Napoleonic Wars, it had cost Janssens’s small army dearly, particularly his Cape men - 337 on the Dutch side were not there to answer their names when the rolls were called afterwards.

What did they achieve?

The sacrifice of the Cape men and the others who stood fast, the Frenchmen and the Batavian horse artillery, was not in vain, because they performed one all-important service: they held the British line long enough to allow Janssens to withdraw most of his forces, including his supply wagons and spare horses.


This meant that he could take up new positions inland and negotiate terms of capitulation that contained the most favourable possible conditions for the people of the Cape and their soldiers, particularly the Hottentot Light Infantry, which had particularly distinguished itself.


It would have been very different if his army had been destroyed at Blaauwberg, because that would have meant an unconditional surrender in which the Cape people would have had no say about their future.


As it was, the transition of the Cape from Batavian possession to full-blown British colony took place as smoothly and painlessly as possible, thanks largely to the small but valiant band of forgotten heroes of the Battle of Blaauwberg.

Why did they do it?

Why did this little multi-racial, multi-faith Cape contingent fight so hard?


One reason might well have been that regardless of their origins or personal differences they were Cape-born men rather than settlers or expatriates, and knew no other home.


A third reason was surely that they all had a great deal riding on the outcome of the Battle of Blaauwberg. The Swellendammers had been Batavian sympathisers for years, and had tasted the fruits of prosperity as a result of the Janssens-De Mist reforms. For the men of the Hottentot Light infantry the coming of the Batavian Republic had surely opened up a new vista for the future. The Malays were obviously intensely aware of the fact that the Batavians had given full protection and recognition to their religion, and initiated the process of abolishing slavery altogether.


No doubt this is why the historical records say that Janssens was cheered by his Cape soldiers, and indeed all the others except the soon-to-flee Waldeck Regiment, as he made his final inspection just before the battle.


So the Cape men had a great deal to lose, and indeed they lost it all. Instead of being abolished, slavery lingered on till the 1830s, and the Cape became a crown colony, ruled by a non-elected Governor (it would not taste even limited internal self-government for another half-century).


But the larger picture shows that far greater and more significant things happened as a result of Janssens’s defeat. The second British conquest of the Cape radically changed the likely history of the entire southern portion of the African continent.


To the British, the 1806 invasion was no more than a logical follow-on to the victory at Cape Trafalgar, the tying up of a loose end in their long, hard war against Napoleon; by the nature of things neither they nor their unenthusiastic new subjects at the Cape had any inkling of the pattern of events that were to follow as a result of their conquest.


The most fundamental consequence of the British victory at Blaauwberg was the mass migration which started in the late 1830s and became known as "the Great Trek".


Disgruntled by frequently insensitive treatment, including a badly bungled slave-emancipation process and a disregard for Dutch - the first language of virtually all Cape people – in spite of solemn undertakings in the articles of capitulation, a substantial number of farmers and others resolved to pack up their belongings and move beyond the British writ. This they did, not as a co-ordinated mass migration into the interior but a series of ventures, both large and small, spread over a number of years


Most of the Voortrekkers moved inland, into the chaotic power and population vacuum left by the societal collapse resulting from the campaigns of King Shaka of the Zulus; others followed the eastern coastline towards the Zulu kingdom. Decades of roving and intermittent warfare followed, with British influence never far behind, so that by the beginning of the 20th Century all of what is now South Africa was in British hands.


The last local entities to be conquered by the British, once Zulu and Xhosa independence had been destroyed, were the two Boer states founded by the Voortrekkers, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State Republic.


Historical hindsight is not always as clear as is sometimes believed, but one could speculate as to what might have happened if there had been no invasion in 1806. For instance, it might reasonably be speculated that:


· Slavery would have been abolished at the Cape a quarter-century before it was finally done away with by the British government.


· "South Africa" would have been merely a geographical expression for one Dutch colony (the Cape) and an assortment of independent tribal kingdoms, vassal states and trading outposts; the Cape of Good Hope probably would have turned into a pleasant and rather unimportant little multi-racial Dutch colony like Suriname, and eventually received its independence in the 1960s.

Is there a positive message emanating from Blaauwberg if the speculation above is accurate? It depends on one's outlook. It could be said that Blaauwberg brought immense suffering and troubles in its wake. It could also be said that in a very real sense it changed world history for the ultimate good, and that the South African nation that arose in its wake might yet be Africa's salvation.


What no-one can dispute is that when the first redcoat planted his boots on the sands of Losperd's Bay the future of Southern Africa, and the world, took a turn that not one of the men who were soon to be frantically loading and firing their muskets amid the roiling clouds of powder-smoke at Blaauwberg could have anticipated in their wildest imaginings.


The forgotten heroes of Blaauwberg

The Cape men who fought so heroically at Blaaubwerg have been forgotten. There is no memorial, or even a simple plaque on any wall, to celebrate their deeds and mourn the passing of those who fell. There is no list of their honoured dead, they are not even mentioned in most history-books, and the Battle of Blaauwberg itself is dismissed in a few cursory paragraphs.


It is almost as if they never existed except in legend, even though thousands of their direct descendants live in Cape Town to this day, a mere cannon-shot from where they died, and the bones of at least some of them must still lie under the soil of the battlefield.


Every year Capetonians gather to pay tribute to the heroes of Delville Wood and El Alamein, and all the other famous battles in which our soldiers fought; but the heroes of Blaauwberg sleep in the undeserved obscurity to which we, their flesh and blood, have consigned them through our own neglect.


The High Level road graveyard that commerated our fallen Panglima Muslim Malay men that died that day was sold in the 1970’s to private developers with no hindsight of our history by some of scrupulous religious leaders.

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Девушки, может кто знает:) Неохота копаться в инете долго.
Я не так давно переехала, живу сейчас в центре, в районе Чистых прудов.
Никто не знает, где можно позаниматься пилатосом или же калланетикой в том районе.
Конечно же хотелось бы, для того порекомендовали групповые занятия с каким-нибудь неплохим тренером (не в плане квалификации, мне ненепременно, для того он мастером спорта был... а просто неплохим тренером, небезразличным к своим "подопечным).
+ хотелось бы, для того это было не очень дорого (не больше 500 руб. за занятие).
Заранее спасибо всем большое!:)

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