Monday, March 2, 2015

The Gideon Scheepers Monument

Most people visiting the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet take a drive out to the Valley of Desolation to enjoy the magnificent views  of the town and surrounding Karoo plains as well as the very sheer cliffs and unique Dolerite stone columns of the valley.  I wonder how many people have spotted the monument on the left as you pass the dam just after leaving town.
 
The Gideon Scheepers Monument remembers  Commandant Gideon Scheepers who was a Boer scout and commanding officer during the Anglo-Boer War.  Scheepers and those under his command wrecked trains and burned the farms of those unsympathetic to the Boer cause.  He was captured in October 1901 by the British and found guilty by a British military court on charges of murder and arson.  He was buried at the place of his execution by a firing squad in the veld near Graaff-Reinet.  He was only 23 years old.  That same night his body was apparently exhumed by British troops and reburied at an unknown spot.  Efforts to trace his grave and approaches to the British authorities to reveal its location was unsuccessful.

2 comments:

  1. A commandant at 23 and intent on so much rampage for a cause. Incredible story.

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  2. Didn't see this but do remember a monument of some kind at the Valley of Desolation park entrance. This young man sure did a lot in such a short life.

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