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Joubert Reitz

Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Death: August 12, 1919 (38)
Potchefstroom, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Regter Francis William Reitz, President of the OFS and Blanca Reitz
Husband of Anastasia Reitz
Father of Blanca Elfrida Reitz
Brother of Francis William Reitz; Hjalmar Reitz; Alfhild Reitz; Deneys Reitz; Arend Leonardt Reitz and 2 others
Half brother of Elizabeth Maria Van Zyl; Prof Henry Loch Reitz; Rolf Reitz; Francis William Reitz; Frederik Benedictus Reitz and 2 others

Managed by: Brendan Swemmer
Last Updated:

About Joubert Reitz

Joubert Reitz was born in Bloemfontein on February 27, 1881 and died in Potchefstroom on August 12, 1919. Born on Majuba Day, he was christened after his godfather, Commandant General Piet Joubert, commander of Boer forces at the Battle of Majuba. He was educated at Grey College, Bloemfontein, and at the Government Gymnasium in Pretoria, two of the most prominent schools for secondary education at that time. On the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War (October 11, 1899) he immediately joined the Boer commandoes and took part in operations in Natal, was later captured by Australians in Eastern Transvaal, and exiled to Bermuda.

After the treaty of Vereeniging on May 31, 1902, he spent some time in the U.S.A. before returning to South Africa and qualifying as an attorney. He settled in Potchefstroom where he maintained a practice until his death.

During the Rebellion of 1914 Joubert sided with the Government troops and was taken prisoner by General S.G. Maritz at Upington in January 1915. Under General J.L. van Deventer he later participated in Operations in East Africa, but after an attack of malaria was sent back to South Africa, where he continued his practice as an attorney at Potchefstroom.

Joubert Reitz's significance lies in the cultural-historical field for his contribution to the early literary works in Afrikaans at the beginning of this century. Less well known than Eugene Marais and Jan F.E. Celliers, he nevertheless made his particular contribution, for although his poetry is, in fact, that of a beginner and often unpolished in form, it expresses the distress of war and some of his verses opened a new world of feeling. Among the unevenness of his work there are flashes of pure poetry, and this pointed to the beginning of a new literature, as is evident from his poem "The Searchlight". This is of importance to Afrikaans Literature because an Afrikaans translationby Gustav Preller appeared in the "Inleiding" to Jan F.E. Celliers' "Die vlakte en ander gedigte" (1908).

The first lines are still awkward, but then the emotional intensification becomes apparent in a note never before heard in Afrikaans:

....en dan breek daar of't 'n hart is, snikkend deur my sielepyn - as die soeklig van die wagskip in die naguur op my tentdoek skyn!

The original poem was included in the anthology "Oorlogs en ander gedichten" by F.W. Reitz (1910). Other published poems of his are: "Kamppraatjies" (included in De dochter van den handsupper, Amsterdam, 1903 by H. Reitz), "Ons taal" (De Goede Hoop, September 1, 1913), "Lam en die wolf" (Die Huisgenoot, April 1920). He also wrote, among others, the following stories: "Die baljuw", a serial with the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), as background (Die Brandwag, May-June 1910), "Bang Bramie" (Die Brandwag, May 31, 1910), "Ambisie" (Die Brandwag, December 1, 1912). Three of his novels were published: "Die dolosgooier" (1916), one of the first Afrikaans, which ran into three editions, "Beproewing" (1918), "Wraak" (1927). Joubert's early death at the age of thirty eight was caused by an attack of Spanish influenza.

Joubert Reitz overlijdt op 12 augustus 1919 in Potchefstroom, 38 jaar oud.


  1. From 'A concise history of Port Beaufort & White Sands (also known as Witsand) including Family Trees White Sands & Port Beaufort' written by John McGregor - no ISBN
  2. Doop -
  3. Kloek Genealogie -
  4. Sterfkennis (TAB MHG 42578/1919) -
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Joubert Reitz's Timeline

December 27, 1880
Bloemfontein, South Africa
April 3, 1881
Bloemfontein, South Africa
October 17, 1910
August 12, 1919
Age 38
Potchefstroom, South Africa