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

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  • Photo’s from the website of eGGSA link above

People in this camp


People who died in this camp


Apart from the ‘authorised’ camps which produced regular monthly reports and statistics, there were a number of informal sites where refugees congregated at military posts and were rationed by the British army. Some such groups, like those at Warrenton or Ladybrand, were eventually transferred to formal camps. The one exception was Vryburg, where the white camp was eventually absorbed into the main Transvaal system as an ‘authorised’ camp. At what point Vryburg camp came into being is not clear. The first reference to its existence appeared in April 1901. The inmates were then listed as 100 whites, 40 ‘undesirables’ and 1,061 blacks; at the end of June 1901 there were still only 201 white inmates. Vryburg was. therefore, primarily a black camp, although it is mainly the whites whose history is recorded. There is no trace of Vryburg in the black camp statistics and the fate of these people is unclear. Charles van Onselen, however, records that, when Holpan farm near Schweizer-Reineke was burnt by the British, the black residents were taken to Vryburg and installed in a makeshift camp in the location. Much later they were probably moved to an official black camp.1
Vryburg was located just south of Mafekingin the Cape Colony, on the sparsely-populated Cape-Transvaal border. Like Kimberley, its inmates included colonial rebels as well as Transvalers. These‘Bechuanalanders’, as they were known, were regarded with deep suspicion by the British, who were often harsh in their treatment of the renegade families, giving them inferior rations and no fuel. Vryburg had been ‘a great rebel centre’ the Ladies Committee explained, and the camp had been started to house ‘undesirables, Colonial rebels and their wives and families, and other irreconcilables and evil doers’, as Dr Kendal Franks phrased it. The men and boys constantly escaped from the camp to give information to the enemy.2
The presence of the colonial rebels called into question the rationale of the entire camp system. Unlike the republicans, they were often recalcitrant, reluctant to work (although the evidence on this was contradictory), resistant to discipline and a number of the men absconded. In December 1901 the local British commandant responded with a heavy hand, demanding that all the men in the camp be confined to a prison enclosure at night. Later he suggested that the colonial rebels should not be paid for their work. Both Superintendent Pritchard and Inspector Scholtz objected strongly to this interference in the management of the camp. But Pritchard put his finger on the real problem – were the camps prisons or havens of shelter? ‘If a man is a rebel let him be punished to the utmost rigour of the law, but until he is arrested, tried and found guilty, well he ought to be treated at any rate as well as another in the same Camp. It is well known that forced labour is not in many ways equal to labour performed by men being paid and who take an interest in the work. This has been the case in this Camp. I have had no trouble to get the men to work at the rates laid down by myself. They have taken an interest in all they have done. I think it would be a great pity if any alterations were made.

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They died in this Camp



How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was in the ABW Vryburg 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 Vryburg" 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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