general louis botha
general louis botha

General Louis Botha

(Photo : Boer War) 


Hashim Amla’s outstanding knock of 129 in Dominica, West Indies, yesterday was not the only a century not out South Africans have woken up to this morning.

On the 31st May 1910, the Union of South Africa came into being, anointing a man with close ties to Summerhill and Hartford, as Prime Minister. That this farm is steeped in old history is well known, but it’s a lesser known fact that Louis Botha, the second Anglo Boer War’s most successful general, took command of the Boer forces at the foot of this farm.

Besides, apart from the Lord Chief Justice, Lord de Villiers, the only one man to emerge from the Union talks (which brought about the Act of Union) with a knighthood, was Sir Frederick Moor, who together with his brother, Senator John Moor were the founders of what we know as Hartford House today. Of course, Hartford has been through many changes in its life, and today it celebrates the fact that it ranks as the only world-class hotel on a world-class stud farm in the world, as well as being home to one of the nation’s top restaurants.

Aside from these two gentlemen, Summerhill itself was home to Sir Frederick’s deputy (when he was Prime Minister of the Colony of Natal), Colonel George Richards, which means that for the last years of its existence as a colony, Natal was ruled from these two farms.

Happy birthday South Africa.