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PT-Food_Rationing_Queues-_at_Kimberley_Market_Square-1899
Food rationing queues in Market Square during the siege.

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 31 OCTOBER

31 October 1883, Samuel Austen elected the first Mayor of Beaconsfield.
31 October 1899, Food rationing introduced during the siege.
31 October 1899, Boers fire first shell at Wesselton from Olifantsfontein position.
31 October 1936, Dick Beewers survives a fall into the Big Hole.
31 October 1964, New German Lutheran Church opens in Lawson Street.
31 October 1967, EE Bebington retires as Town Clerk.

DID YOU KNOW

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Food rationing queues in Market Square during the siege.

During the siege of Kimberley food rationing began on Tuesday 31 October 1899. Colonel Robert Kekewich, in overall command in Kimberley (including Cecil Rhodes), had issued regulations restricting food supply to the inhabitants of the town. Only 15 head of cattle were to be slaughtered each day with each member of a family receiving a half-pound daily, as well as flour and maize meal at one lb per member weekly. The blacks were to receive a lot less, while the Malay (Moslem) sector were very unhappy. They needed a lot more than only rice to survive, so many wrote in to the Diamond Fields Advertiser.

PT-Kimberley_Market_Square-1899

Market Square during the Siege of Kimberley

Rationing of foodstuffs was not seriously adhered to until the military authorities realized that the siege would not be lifted before Christmas 1899, and a proclamation was issued on 20 December 1899 in that all basic foodstuffs were taken over by the military. Rationing was implemented, complete with ration tickets, and by January 1900 the entire population was on fixed rations, the whites and coloureds receiving the most, then the Indians, with the Blacks receiving the least. Whites and coloureds (per person), would receive a daily allowance of 14 ounces of bread or 10 ounces of Boer meal and flour, two ounces of either mealies or corn, two ounces of rice, 2 ounces of sugar, ¼ ounce of tea, and a half ounce of coffee. Meat was a half pound per diem. Indians were allowed two ounces of mealie meal, 8 ounces of rice, and the same tea, coffee and sugar allowance as the whites. Blacks would receive six ounces of mealie meal, four ounces of corn, two ounces of samp, and tea, coffee and sugar the same as the others.

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Meat Supply Ticket

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Meat Supply Ticket

Order for Milk Ticket

Photographs are of the food rationing queues in Market Square during the siege, as well as meat supply tickets and an order for milk. Note in the photograph of the queue the original position of the Occidental Bar, the steeple of St Cyprian’s church as well as Gowie’s Corner clock tower.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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