The Great Boer War

Byron Farwell

The Great Boer War (1899 – 1902) – more properly the Great Anglo-Boer War – was one of the last romantic wars, pitting a sturdy, stubborn pioneer people fighting to establish the independence of their tiny nation against the British Empire at its peak of power and self-confidence. It was fought in the barren vastness of the South African veldt, and it produced in almost equal measure extraordinary feats of personal heroism.

The Boer War

Thomas Pakenham

Featuring previously unpublished sources, this ‘enjoyable as well as massively impressive’ bestseller is a definitive account of the Boer War (Financial Times).

The war declared by the Boers on 11 October 1899 gave the British, as Kipling said, ‘no end of a lesson’. It proved to be the longest, the costliest, the bloodiest and the most humiliating campaign that Britain fought between 1815 and 1914.

Zulu Rising

Ian Knight

The battle of Isandlwana was the single most destructive incident in the 150-year history of the British colonisation of South Africa. In one bloody day over 800 British troops, 500 of their allies and at least 2 000 Zulus were killed in a staggering defeat for the British empire. The consequences of the battle echoed brutally across the following decades as Britain took ruthless revenge on the Zulu people.

Rorke's Drift

Adrian Greaves

On 22 January 1879 a force of 20 000 Zulus overwhelmed and destroyed the British invading force at Isandlwana, killing and ritually disemboweling over 1 200 troops. That afternoon, the same Zulu force turned their attention on a small outpost at Rorke’s Drift.

The battle that ensued, one of the British Army’s great epics, has since entered into legend.

The Battle of Colenso

SB Bourquin & Gilbert Torlage

S.B. Bourquin studied the military history of KwaZulu-Natal for most of his life. In the process he built up an extensive collection of photographs and an intimate knowledge of the terrain where the events took place.

He passed away in 2004 and his extensive collections were donated to the Killie Campbell Library and kwaMuhle Museum.


Adrian Greaves

The story of the mighty imperial British army’s defeat at Isandlwana in 1879 has been much written about, but never with the detail and insight revealed by Dr Adrian Greaves’ research. In reconstructing the dramatic and fateful events, the Author draws on recently discovered letters, diaries and papers of survivors and contemporaries.

Boer War: A history

Hourly History

This book provides an introductory text to one of the most intriguing wars of modern times — a war that saw several innovations, like the use of heliography and indirect fire, and caused the complete overhaul of the great Imperial British fighting machine in its aftermath. It also tells of the first example of the brilliant use of guerrilla warfare by the people who, to this day, have never been outclassed; the Boer on commando.

Field Guide to the Battlefields of South AFrica

Nicki von der Heyde

There are two major types of battlefield terrain in South Africa: first the open plains and Savannah lands of the Highveld, a land where cavalry rules supreme. The second type is the thornbush of the Eastern Cape, a setting more suited to skirmishing rather than set-piece battles. Then, in KwaZulu-Natal, the two terrains merge to create the country’s most dramatic battlefield landscape.

Nothing Remains But To Fight

Ian Knight

A detailed and well illustrated account of the defence of Rorke’s Drift, a famous battle that took place in late January of 1879 where just over 150 British and colonial troops bravely defended their station against more than 3 000 Zulu warriors. The massive but piecemeal attacks by the Zulus on Rorke’s Drift came very close to defeating the much smaller garrison, but were repelled.

Concentration Camps

Elizabeth Van Heyningen

This is the first general history of the concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer or South African War in over 50 years, and the first to use in depth the very rich and extensive official documents in South African and British archives. It provides a fresh perspective on a topic that has understandably aroused huge emotions because of the great numbers of Afrikaners, especially women and children, who died in the camps.

War with the Boer

Adrian Musgrave 

A hard-hitting chronological account of the second Boer war, which opens with a strong criticism of the easy methods followed by some authors of writing war histories by sitting at home and compiling “fat newspaper dispatches.” In his foreword, George Clarke Musgrave argues that this prevents a true analysis and understanding of the war and shows contempt for those, on both sides, seeking to explain their conflicting views and aspirations.

Lost Souls

Jenny Haworth

Luke Macpherson is growing old and is haunted by memories of his time as a soldier in South Africa during the Boer War. As his favourite nephew, Martin, excitedly signs up to fight in World War II, Luke worries that this war will complete the destruction of his family that began after his brother, Jack, fought at Mafeking while serving under Baden-Powell.
As Martin is leaving he gives Luke diaries written by his uncle Jack at Mafeking.