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.