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Cecil John Rhodes

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 26 MARCH

UPDATED: 26/03/2019

26 March 1902, Cecil Rhodes dies in Muizenburg, aged 49 years.
26 March 1930, First “Talkie” movie in Kimberley.
26 March 1969, Kimberley’s main public swimming pool, named after Karen Muir.

(Pictured is DBCM Head Office on Stockdale Street with flag at half mast in respect for Rhodes).

Cecil Rhodes was struggling immensely with his breathing in the heady atmosphere of Groote Schuur, and on Dr Jameson’s instructions they moved him to around the mountain to his cottage at Muizenburg, even breaking a hole in the one wall to allow whatever breeze there was to pass through. On the one night in Rhodes’ last few weeks he wanted Johnny Grimmer to sleep in the same bedroom as him and in Grimmer’s presence instructed Tony de la Cruz to make up a bed. Accordingly, Tony brought in a stretcher and mattress and then brought some sheets. “What have you there?” asked Rhodes of Tony. “Sheets, Sir, for Mr Grimmer’s bed,” Tony replied. “Sheets! Sheets! Why, the boy does not know what sheets are!” exclaimed Rhodes, “He has been accustomed to sleep under a ‘wacht-een-beetje’ (wait-a-bit) bush all his life.”

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Cecil John Rhodes

He had commented about death while at the funeral of Sir Thomas Upington in September 1898: “There’s nothing in it! There’s nothing in it!” “Nothing in what?” was the reply from his puzzled neighbour. “Why, in this!” “Oh, Upington?” came the reply. “Yes! I’ve got to go through it, you’ve got to go through it, we’ve all got to go through it!” Several months before his death, he remarked on life itself, knowing that he had not long to live. “…the great fault of life is its shortness. Just as one is beginning to know the game, one has to stop.”

Cecil Rhodes’ game stopped at Muizenburg at 5.57 pm on 26 March 1902, and was both expected and unexpected. On the morning of his last day Grimmer said to him that he was looking a lot healthier, but Rhodes only replied quite weakly, “No, my boy, this is my last day.”

Family and close friends witnessed his death at the cottage in Muizenburg. Present were: his brother, Major Elmhirst Rhodes; Dr Leander Starr Jameson; Dr Smartt; Dr E.S Stevenson; Sir Charles Metcalfe; Mr Walton, Mr Le Sueur, Johnny ‘Jack’ Grimmer, and Mr Jourdan. Two other brothers, Colonel Frank Rhodes and Arthur Rhodes arrived on the Walmer Castle, too late for Cecil’s death, but in time for the funeral.

The cause of death was given as “extreme weakness resulting from two attacks of heart failure during the day – one of them slight, the other very severe.”

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DBCM Head Office on Stockdale Street with flag at half mast in respect for Rhodes.

His last words, according to Dr Jameson, were “So much to do, so little done”, whereas Sir Lewis Michell states that he murmured those very words, sang softly to himself, and then called out for Jameson. He was restless and was tossing and turning. Jack ‘Johnny’ Grimmer, his personal secretary who died on 5 June 1902, a mere two months after Rhodes from Blackwater fever, said that his last words were “Turn me over, Jack”. Others present stated that he said “Goodbye. God bless you.”

Charles Rudd, who had fallen out with Rhodes after the Jameson Raid, mourned the fact that Rhodes had died just at the time when he was needed most in South Africa: “We lose his unrivalled knowledge and experience of everything South African. We lose his dominating will and great personal magnetism, and we lose his broad loyalty to the Empire and the Race.”

UPDATED: 26/03/2018

26 March 1902, Cecil Rhodes dies in Muizenburg, aged 49 years.
26 March 1930, First “Talkie” movie in Kimberley.
26 March 1969, Kimberley’s main public swimming pool, named after Karen Muir.

DID YOU KNOW

Cecil Rhodes’ heart stopped beating at his cottage in Muizenburg at 5.57 pm on 26 March 1902, and was both expected and unexpected. On the morning of his last day Johnny Grimmer said to him that he was looking a lot healthier, but Rhodes only replied quite weakly, “No, my boy, this is my last day.”

Family and close friends witnessed his death at the cottage in Muizenburg. Present were: his brother, Major Elmhirst Rhodes; Dr Leander Starr Jameson; Dr Smartt; Dr E.S Stevenson; Sir Charles Metcalfe; Mr Walton, Mr Le Sueur, Johnny ‘Jack’ Grimmer, and Mr Jourdan. Two other brothers, Colonel Frank Rhodes and Arthur Rhodes arrived on the Walmer Castle, too late for Cecil’s death, but in time for the funeral.

The cause of death was given as “extreme weakness resulting from two attacks of heart failure during the day – one of them slight, the other very severe.”

His last words, according to Dr Jameson, were “So much to do, so little done”, whereas Sir Lewis Michell states that he murmured those very words, sang softly to himself, and then called out for Jameson. He was restless and was tossing and turning. Jack ‘Johnny’ Grimmer, his personal secretary who died on 5 June 1902, a mere two months after Rhodes from Blackwater fever, said that his last words were “Turn me over, Jack”. Others present stated that he said “Goodbye. God bless you.”

Charles Rudd, who had fallen out with Rhodes after the Jameson Raid, mourned the fact that Rhodes had died just at the time when he was needed most in South Africa: “We lose his unrivalled knowledge and experience of everything South African. We lose his dominating will and great personal magnetism, and we lose his broad loyalty to the Empire and the Race.”

A coincidence was that a mere two weeks later, on 8 April 1902, the Earl of Kimberley, after whom the city is named, died in England. A 14-day period had seen the diamond capital of the world lose its most famous son, as well as the person after whom it was named.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

 

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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