Robbie Cheadle’s latest book, A Ghost and his Gold, takes place during the Boer Wars, two important South African conflicts that few outside the country understand. They were between the Brits fighting for the Crown and Dutch settlers (called Boers) fighting for their way of life. The First resulted in Boer victory and the eventual independence of the South African Republic in 1884. But the discovery of gold reignited British Imperial interests and in 1899, the Second Anglo Boer War broke out. The Boer women played an important role and eventually, the British leadership realised that subduing them was the only way to a successful end to the war.
Robbie’s book takes place during the Second of these two…
The role of women in the Second Anglo Boer War
At the end of the 19th century when the Second Anglo Boer War broke out, the European world ran on a patriarchal model that viewed males as naturally superior to females. Although some important legal, educational, professional, and personal changes took place during the Victorian era with regards to the role of women, law and custom still enforced female dependency on males. This is the environment in which the women who played a role in the Second Anglo Boer War lived.
The Boer women
In 1835 the Dutch speaking colonists of the British-run Cape Colony migrated on mass into the interior of South Africa to escape British rule. From that time, the women played a significant role in shaping the decisions made by their menfolk and, consequently, the future of South Africa.
The mothers and wives of the Burghers who lived and farmed in the two Boer Republics that existed prior to the Second Anglo Boer War were extremely patriotic. Long before the Boer ultimatum and its expiry on 11 October 1899, which signalled the commencement of hostilities between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics, the Boer women were preparing for war. The women made clothing, knapsacks, and bread bags for their husbands and sons who were certain to go on commando.
Some women even accompanied their men and lived in the laagers, encampments formed by a circle of wagons, in order to prepare meals and look after their menfolk.
After war was declared, the women stepped in to supply the men with food and other supplies, thereby filling a great planning defect on the part of the governments of the two Boer Republics. The women also assisted in the hospitals looking after the wounded and ran the farms in the absence of their menfolk. The women had to attend to the flocks and herds of livestock, work in the fields, and drive ox-wagons.
The Boer women also came to the aid of the English foreigners, called Uitlanders, who were too poor to leave the Republics prior to the commencement of hostilities. These people quickly became destitute and the Boer women established depots where food and clothing were distributed, as well as soup kitchens to help feed starving Uitlanders.
The following extract from an article from The War Reporter Weekly Edition published on 18 May 1900 illustrates the behaviour and attitudes of the Boer women at that time:
“It is clear that the loyal and proud Boer women specially detest deserters. Every day we hear of cases where women have notified the Republican military authorities of the presence of deserters on their own or neighbouring farms. Some deserters’ wives threaten them that they will take up their rifles and take their places to serve in the commandos. Some women are deadly serious about the possibility of forming women’s commandos.”
I am a South African writer specialising in historical, paranormal and horror novels and short stories. I am an avid reader in these genres and my writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, the Bronte sisters, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
I was educated at the University of South Africa where I achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. I was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
I have worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and have written seven publications relating to investing in Africa. I have won several awards over my twenty year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
I have been published a number of anthologies and have two published YA books, While the Bombs Fell and Through the Nethergate. I have recently published my first adult novel called A Ghost and His Gold which is partly set in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War.
Books by Robbie
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lies in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
TSL Books (paperback)
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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.