General Louis Botha

R 135

Product Code: 978-1-920091-08-8

The Boer race produced many remarkable men, tall keen-eyed and strong, independent, devout, honourable men who lived by the word of God. Such a man was Louis Botha, who had not only all the typical Boer qualities but good looks, charm and intelligence as well.

The combination of these attributes marked him from his early years as a born leader. At the age of twenty-one he had his first taste of fighting when he took part in the last invasion of Zululand, out of which was to come the tiny state called the New Republic. Louis was made a member of the Executive Council, and took his first step into politics. During the Boer war he showed unsuspected qualities as an outstanding soldier and eventually became Commandant-General when he was only thirty-eight. From the time of the Treaty of Vereeniging onwards, Louis, sick of war, though he was to lead his men in 1915 in the conquest of German South-West Africa, worked unceasingly for the thing which had become his ideal – a united South Africa where Briton and Boer could live peacefully together.

As Premier of the Transvaal and later of the Union of South Africa, he struggled to make his vision come true, but he did so at the expense of making many enemies amongst his own people. The Afrikaner Rebellion in 1914 broke Louis’s heart and he was to say afterwards that it was 'the saddest experience of all my life'. But when he died, worn out at the age of fifty-seven, he was mourned by his friends and enemies alike, for South Africa had lost one of her greatest leaders.

Johannes Meintjes has done full justice to his subject and has shown Louis Botha in all his strength and his weakness too. Louis’s tremendous charm shines through on every page. It was a characteristic which gained him many devoted followers, yet filled others with suspicion. But Louis Botha was a truly honourable man, utterly sincere, a good friend to Britain, and above all a man who had a vision in early life which was to make him run a course from which he never deviated.


332 pages, including 23 page index and bibliography.


Format:Downloadable PDF