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Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) MEREBANK Camp/Kamp

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Photo's with thanks to eGGSA

People in Camp


People who died


  • 384 15 years and younger and 87 older than 15

Merebank camp could be described as a test case, an attempt to create a camp which avoided the mistakes of the past. It was established about September 1901, mainly to reduce the numbers in the Transvaal camps and to bring down the terrible mortality which was sweeping through the camp system. In some respects it could be considered a success for deaths were considerably lower. But its history is fraught with contradictions. For instance, with about 9,000 inmates, it was the largest camp in the entire system, although it was divided into three parts, Windermere, Hazelmere and Grasmere, each section housing about 3,000 people. This device made it possible to argue that the camp was within the recommended size.

A second inconsistency was its location. Merebank camp was based on the sub-tropical Natal coast, just south of Durban, in a climate which was very different from the crisp highveld air to which the Boers were accustomed. Humidity, strong winds and summer rains all contributed their discomfort, although cooler sea breezes helped to reduce the temperature in summer. Above all, it was built on low-lying, swampy ground, with sand blowing over everything and the floors and bedding constantly wet. Conditions were so poor that, after they had visited Merebank, the Ladies Committee recommended that the camp be moved. Despite this, Merebank remained where it was. The fact that it was on a railway line, close to Durban’s main water supply, on flat land, were all advantages which, in the eyes of the authorities, outweighed the potentially unhealthiness of the site.

Accommodation was a third anomaly. Initially the families were housed in the familiar bell tents and marquees but the climate made such accommodation even less suitable for women and children than it was in the Transvaal. As a result, wood and iron huts gradually replaced the tents. Built in rows of six rooms, they were not ideal, however, for they were hot, they lacked privacy and, by April 1902, they were leaking. In this subtropical climate fleas, lice and mosquitoes abounded, adding to the discomfort of the inhabitants. In some respects the staff were worse off. The teachers, for instance, as late as March 1902, were in dilapidated marquees and their food was cooked over an open fire outside.

Names in blue- Geni profiles

Names in black - Not yet on Geni



  • Botha, Johannes Petrus (17) "Ziekte"


  • Cornelia Maria Elizabeth Coetsee nee Janse van Vuuren went to a camp close to Potchestroom and then transferred to Merebank with her 7 children
  • Dirk Jacobus Coetsee











  • Maria Elizabeth Marè, (4 months) d.o.Johannes paulus Mare and Martha Jacoba Prinsloo. Unique ID 13590
  • Farm history: Waterval, Belfast.
  • Prinsloo, Martha Jacoba (27) died on 10/12/1901 wife of Johannes Paulus Marè
  • Unique ID NO 13588
  • Farm history:Waterval, Belfast
  • Death Notice in NASA Pretoria, MHG 2396







How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was in the ABW MEREBANK Concentration Camp:

  1. Get yourself added as a collaborator
  2. Navigate to your ancestor's profile
  3. Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project"
  4. Select the ABO ===Merebank===" project

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles to projects.


  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include their Settler party and ship name and arrival date if known
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists.
  • Your ancestor's profiles should be marked as "public" and not "private".
  • All included profiles should include full identifying information including birth and death dates as well as birth and death locations. It would also be very helpful if the immediate family of your pioneer ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also.
  • Do not make public any profiles of living people.

NOTE: All POW included on this project will have their profiles editable by other collaborators of this project. The object of reproducing the list here is to see if these people can be located on Geni and perhaps develop trees from them. To take part in any project - you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

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