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PT-Cecil_Rhodes_visiting_Fort_Rhodes-1900
Cecil Rhodes visiting “Fort Rhodes”, an important position defended by the Kenilworth Defence Force during the siege. The three men that can be identified are: James Rochfort Maguire (second from left), Rhodes (centre), and William Pickering (second from right). Three of the other four are members of the Kenilworth Defence Force.

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 28 FEBRUARY

UPDATED: 28/02/2019

28 February 1900, Kenilworth Defence Force steps down from duty after the siege.

DID YOU KNOW

The Kenilworth Defence Force, formed in early November 1899, was primarily responsible for defences within and around Kenilworth village (Kenilworth was created as a model village by Cecil John Rhodes for employees of the De Beers Mining Company in 1887).

Capt. J. Adams was the Commanding Officer based at Kenilworth Fort (Fort Rhodes) and protected the northern and eastern flank of the village. Capt. T. L. Angel and his cyclists (the “Flying Cherubs”) occupied Kenilworth Village with the primary task of protecting the western flank of Kenilworth which was in close proximity to the Boers on Dronfield and Felsteads farm.

The Kenilworth Defence Force stood down on 28 February 1900.

Pictured: Cecil Rhodes visiting “Fort Rhodes”, an important position defended by the Kenilworth Defence Force during the siege. The three men that can be identified are: James Rochfort Maguire (second from left), Rhodes (centre), and William Pickering (second from right). Three of the other four are members of the Kenilworth Defence Force.

UPDATED: 28/02/2018

28 February 1900, Kenilworth Defence Force steps down from duty after the siege.

DID YOU KNOW

With the outbreak of the smallpox epidemic in the Cape Colony in May 1882, the sanitary inspector of Kimberley became fearful that the infection would spread among the mine workers; he enlisted Dr Hans Sauer (pictured) to initiate medical examinations at the Modder River, where a quarantine depot was set up (about 30 kilometres from Kimberley). Each person arriving there from the south was examined for smallpox, and vaccinations were given to those needing them; those who refused were placed in quarantine for six weeks. Because this procedure and the vaccinations were illegal at the time, Dr Sauer was accused in court of assault. While carrying on his work at the Modder River, he spotted 14 smallpox cases and continued until no further cases were reported from Cape Town.

PT-Dr_Hans_Sauer-1884

Dr Hans Sauer

Similar controls had not been established over persons entering the Cape Colony from the north, and a group of sick Africans from what is now Mozambique nearly succeeded in entering Kimberley. Some concerned whites detained them at Felstead’s Farm (Dronfield), where a team of physicians shortly examined them (on orders from Kimberley‘s civil commissioner) and stated they were not sick with smallpox. To confirm this, the Cape Colony government recalled Dr Sauer, who diagnosed the cases as definitely being smallpox. The physicians had falsified their reports for the mining authorities, who were afraid their African workers would flee if news of the disease got out. Furthermore, many people did not want the mines closed for economic reasons, and thus they failed to report smallpox cases in the community. The epidemic escalated throughout 1884 and lasted late into 1885.

The Cape medical profession’s reputation was tarnished, and Dr Sauer became involved in questionable court proceedings and legal actions concerning libel, assault, and homicide. Nonetheless, his pressure on the government (his so-called smallpox war) brought about passage of the Public Health Act of 1883, making vaccination and notification of all infectious diseases compulsory in the Cape colony. (From Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence, Third Edition.)

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

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