Graaff-Reinet isn’t just the sixth oldest town in South Africa or the town with the most historical monuments in the country. The town and its district also have a rich history of Voortrekker history, Anglo-Boer War history and history connected to the freedom struggle. One of the monuments in town that not a lot of people get to see is the Anglo-Boer War Memorial on the corner of Donkin and Somerset Streets. It’s a pity because it’s actually a striking monument.
The memorial was erected in 1908 and commemorates the execution of eight Boer Commandos by the British for high treason and in the instance of Commandant Gideon Scheepers, for war crimes. Scheepers was executed in the dry river bed of the Sundays River in an area now covered by the Nqweba Dam while the other Commandos were executed in their home districts within the Cape Colony. The Latin inscription on the monument reads “Dulce est pro patria mori” which translates as “Sweet is it to die for your country.”