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Today in Kimberley's History

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 9 SEPTEMBER

UPDATED: 09/09/2019

9 September 1894, James Jenkins dies after falling from the De Beers mine headgear.
9 September 1902, Charles Sutherland fatally stabbed by Jenetta Welsch in the Malay Camp.
9 September 1980, 16 injured, and 112 students arrested by police in Galeshewe.

DID YOU KNOW

In continuing “unrest” throughout South Africa following the popular uprising of June 1976, Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 September 1980 saw several thousand Kimberley scholars from Galeshewe move into the West End suburb where they clashed with the police.

The Minister of Education and Training, Dr Ferdie Hartzenberg, was at the time busy in meetings with school committees from the various black schools in Galeshewe.

The majority of the scholars were from St Boniface School, who, early on Monday the 8th, marched from St Boniface and dumped thousands of school text books at the Abantu Batho Centre in No 2 and set alight a local baker’s delivery van. Stones were thrown at buses and the bus service was suspended at 10h00.

PT-House_damaged_in_West_End-1976

House damaged in West End.

The scholars then returned to St Boniface when the Police arrived and instructed them to disperse from the premises within ten minutes, which did not happen. The Police then used tear gas and the scholars bombshelled in all directions. Residents and scholars alike ran “helter-skelter” dodging the various police vehicles from which tear gas canisters were being thrown. A privately owned car was burnt in Montshiwa Road at this time.

A DFA reporter was taken in for questioning by the police and later released. He had been advised that Galeshewe village had been declared a “riot area” and that photographs could not be taken without police permission.

PT-Social_Workers_gathering_books_at_Abantu_Batho_Hall-1976

Social Workers gathering up books from the Abantu Batho Hall.

The scholars then moved on to Findlayson Road in the West End suburb where they entered houses, smashing windows, and toppling furniture. Police chased the scholars, many of whom were hiding behind various houses, and arrested 19.

On Tuesday 9 September the “unrest” continued when about 20 scholars entered the Galeshewe recreation hall and tried to burn it down. Petrol bombs were thrown setting alight the floor and curtains but the arrival of the fire brigade soon saw the fire extinguished.

Attempts were made to burn down the homes of two black policemen, one being successful with the house totally destroyed. A furniture delivery van was also set alight and razed, while a Northern Cape Administration Board truck was stoned and the windows smashed.

A Galeshewe beer depot was burnt and a large quantity of beer destroyed.

112 scholars – of whom 68 were girls – were arrested by police on charges of public violence. 14 scholars had been injured during the “unrest”, as had one policeman and one Galeshewe No 2 resident.

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A burnt out vehicle in Galeshewe No 2.

Those arrested were given the choice of a trial or paying a fine. All schools in Galeshewe were closed for the week, with the understanding being that if the situation continued, the schools would be closed down for the rest of the year.

Pictured are: A burnt out vehicle in Galeshewe No 2; a house damaged in West End; and social workers gathering up books from the Abantu Batho hall.

Note: The words in “quotation marks” were in use at the time and in the reports of the Diamond Fields Advertiser. All the original stories come from the DFA archival material at the Africana Library.

9 September 1902, Charles Sutherland fatally stabbed by Jenetta Welsch in the Malay Camp.

DID YOU KNOW

There has never been a murder case quite like it, even though alcohol has played a major part in many a killing. Under the influence of alcohol, Charles Sutherland had insisted he be stabbed, so he was and later died. Two young ladies were arrested, but only one was indicted for the crime – the wrong one – and she was acquitted. How could this have happened?

One of the largest crowds ever seen in the Malay Camp, gathered on Brett Street at the scene of the fatal stabbing on Tuesday afternoon, 9 September 1902. Brett Street was merely a plot of ground with two dilapidated huts, one of corrugated iron and the other made of mud (where Pick ‘n Pay supermarket now stands). A Mr and Mrs Cole resided in the mud hut, while the “tin” hut was the property of a Mr and Mrs Sutherland, both of whom were out of Kimberley at the time. In their absence, Mrs Cole’s father Erasmus, and Charles Sutherland, the owner’s brother, had taken up residence. The interior of the hut was partitioned by a piece of canvas, one half being the sleeping quarters and the other being for general purposes. In this section were a table, a sewing machine and a box.

It was here that Charles Sutherland earned his living as a tailor. Aged 28, short and of slender build, he was a quiet reserved man respected by his neighbours, and although not born in Kimberley, had been raised and educated here. On Tuesday morning two acquaintances visited Sutherland, and they adjourned to a nearby public bar. Many hours later that day Sutherland returned, very much under the influence of alcohol, visited the Cole family next door for a few minutes, left them and went home where he commenced playing an accordion.

While he was playing the instrument, a certain woman named Jenetta Welsch arrived at the Coles’ residence next door, and she too was under the influence of alcohol. She was 26 years old, well built and of a prepossessing nature, and came from a respected Kimberley family. She had married a much older man early in life but subsequently divorced him, and was now living an intemperate lifestyle. In fact, it was said “…that when under the influence of liquor she behaved like a lunatic.” Her relationship with the Coles, Erasmus family and the Sutherlands must be explained. After her divorce, she moved into a house at 19 Selby Street in the Malay Camp, and she sub-let a room to a Mrs Erasmus, Mrs Elizabeth Cole’s mother and wife of the Erasmus then staying with Charles Sutherland. Through her friendship with Mrs Erasmus she became friendly with the Coles and the Sutherlands and visited their houses regularly, but shortly before the death of Charles she had been refused admission to the Sutherland residence because of her bad behaviour.

On that day Jenetta was ordered away from the Coles residence – because she was drunk and using vile and abusive language – she immediately went next door to the Sutherland hut. She pushed open the door to enter, but Charles told her she was not welcome, and they traded some harsh words. At this stage Elizabeth Cole arrived on the scene and was attempting to calm matters, but Jenetta, enraged at Sutherland’s refusal to let her enter, pulled out a large knife that was hidden in her dress and threatened to stab him.

Sutherland, who was also drunk, did not help much by sitting on the table, taking off his shirt and baring his chest, all the while encouraging Jenetta to stab him, saying “Stab away, I am not afraid.” This provoked Jenetta so much that despite being held back by Mrs Cole she still managed to plunge the knife into Sutherland’s chest at the same time nearly cutting off the little finger on Mrs Cole’s hand.

Mrs Cole ran out of the hut to look for assistance, followed by a subdued Jenetta, but it was too late for Sutherland who was removed by the police to hospital where he died from his wound some twelve hours later in a delirious state early on Wednesday morning 10 September.

Jenetta Welsch, after stabbing Sutherland, immediately returned to her home in Selby Street covered in blood, and was being washed by Mrs Erasmus’ daughter Bertha when the police arrived to arrest her. She refused to talk about the incident and when she appeared in court on the charge of murder on the 11th, was still suffering from the effects of her alcoholic binge.

The police later arrested Bertha Erasmus, who had been busy cleaning the blood off Jenetta when the latter was arrested, and both women were committed for trial and charged with the murder of Charles Sutherland. Bertha was the sister of the chief witness, Elizabeth Cole. The Crown prosecutor declined to press charges against Jenetta Welsch, and instead proceeded with the case against Bertha Erasmus, believing the story put forward by Jenetta. The trial lasted but one day, and the jury, after a mere ten minutes perusal of the facts, returned a verdict of not guilty and Bertha Erasmus was released.

Jenetta Welsch, unquestionably guilty of stabbing Charles Sutherland had indeed got away with murder. She was never arrested.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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