5. THE COLONIAL PERIOD: SOUTH AFRICAN RULE RULE
5.1 SOUTH WEST AFRICA UNDER MILITARY RULE: 1915-1918
|1915||Captain W Surmon succeeds Captain
HV Eason as Administrator in the Caprivi Strip (until 1916).
Ovaherero soldiers under the command of South African army officers and dispatched by their leader Samuel Maharero, assist in the invasion of German SWA. As the South African forces move on deeper into SWA, Ovaherero at all levels of society desert their German employers and return to their former areas of living, seek freedom in the bushes, or find employment with the advancing South African forces.Mbukushu King Diyeve II dies. Successor is Disho I (until 1929).
|15.01.||South African troops occupy Swakopmund.|
|Beginning February||The Germans attack Kakamas in South
The Cemetery in Warmbad: Graves of German and South African
Soldiers who fell during World War One
|02.02.||South African (SA) Prime Minister Louis Botha arrives in Swakopmund and takes over command of SAs 43 000 soldiers (on 11.02.).|
|07.02.||The Pomona-Bogenfels railway line in the diamond area is destroyed by SA.|
|11.02.||The railway line between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund is substantially completed.|
|15.02.||SA troops from Lüderitz reach Garub station at the Lüderitz-Aus railway line.|
|20.02.||SA troops commence the reconstruction of the Otavi railway line from Swakopmund in the broader "Cape gauge" standard.|
|23.02.||Goanikontes on the Swakop River is conquered.|
|20.03.||The battle of
Pforte-Jakkalswater-Riet east of Swakopmund is fought with heavy German casualties. The
Germans retreat to Kubas.
View to the South into the Khan River Valley at the Station
Stingbank in the Namib Desert near Ebony: 30 km west of !Usakos: 04.09.2004 at Sunset: The
Night is approaching from the East
View to the South into the Khan River Valley at the Station
Stingbank in the Namib Desert near Ebony: 30 km west of !Usakos: 04.09.2004 at Sunset:
German Fortifications from World War One near Pforte-Jakkalswater-Riet against the from
Swakopmund invading South African Troups in March 1915
Warmbad is evacuated.
|24.03.||The post office at Kubas is closed.
Aus is evacuated under the command of Major Bauszus.
|29.03.||The first 42 km of the Otavi
railway line are reconstructed up to Rössing station.
Fiedler undertakes his last reconnaissance flight from Schakalskuppe station to the west along the Seeheim-Lüderitz railway line.
|31.03.||The post offices at Gochas, Arahoab
(present-day Aranos) and Bergland are closed.
Warmfontein: Grave of a German Soldier who was killed during
World War One in 1915 in Vellicke
|01.04.||The post offices at Aus, Bethany
and Seeheim are closed.
Franke places all railways in the colony under military command.
Reconstruction of the state railway line commences from the Rössing station in the direction of Karibib.
|03.04.||The post office at Koes is closed.|
|06.04.||The post office at Brackwasser is closed.|
|15.04.||The Basters rise against the Germans as a result of a secret meeting between Botha and Baster Captain Cornelius van Wyk on 01.04. The Basters are specifically dissatisfied that the "Baster Corps" is used to guard SA prisoners of war in Otjiwarongo. In Schlip, Pieter Mouton collects all available able-bodied Basters to proceed to Sam-Khubis. On the way they kill inter alia the German policemen Rudolf Rogge and Richard Ewald Ernst Putzier on Büllspoort. The Germans, on their way to Sam-Khubis, attack the Basters at Heuras, Uitdraai and Kabirab. Among the Basters fighting the Germans are Samuel and Johannes Beukes.|
|Middle to end April||The post offices at Ukamas, Kalkfontein Süd, Kanus, Kuibis, Berseba, Gibeon, Nauchas and Hoachanas are all closed due to the war.|
|17.04.||Seeheim is evacuated.|
||The post office at Keetmanshoop is closed. The Germans under the command of Captain von Kleist retreat from Keetmanshoop to the north. Some troops return via Maltahöhe into the Baster area, others via Stampriet and Uhlenhorst to Dordabis and Gobabis (officers: Hans von Gossler, Siegfried von Schack and Carl Jaspersen). An engagement takes place at Kabus, north of Keetmanshoop.|
|20.04.||The post office at Gründorn is closed.|
|21.04.||The South Africans occupy Berseba.
Numerous German farmers escape under the protection of Hans Merensky to the north.
The Cemetry at Berseba: Karas Region
|23.04.||The battle of Gibeon ends with
heavy losses for the Germans. Gibeon is evacuated on 25.04. The remaining escaping Germans
reach Mariental on 27.04, Kalkrand on 29.04., Tsumis on 30.04. and Rehoboth on 02.05.
The situation for the Germans is worsened by the death of the only captain of the general staff in the Schutztruppe, Rüdiger Weck. He is succeeded by Captain Georg Trainer.
|27.04.||The battle of Konub near Rehoboth
The post offices at Mariental and Kub are closed.
|29.04.||The post office at Maltahöhe is
The farm Kaltenhausen, south-west of Otjimbingwe, is reached by the South African troops (6 000 men). From there they attack Otjimbingwe which is conquered on 30.04.
|30.04.||The post offices at Klein Nauas,
Otjimbingue (Otjimbingwe), Usakos and Onguati are closed.
SA General Jan Christian Smuts and SA Railways General Manager WW Hoy arrive at Walvis Bay.
|End April||The schools close in Windhoek.|
|01.05.||Governor Seitz shifts the capital of German South West Africa to Grootfontein.|
|Beginning to middle May||The post offices at Rehoboth,
Hohewarte, Seeis, Hatsamas, Aris, Neudamm, Fahlgras (Windhoek), Groß Witvlei, Brakwater
(Windhoek), Okatjomboa, Otjosazu, Omitara and Epukiro are all closed due to the war.
Rudolf Kindt escapes to the north and establishes the last newspaper of German South West Africa in Tsumeb, the Kriegsnachrichten.
|03.05.||The post offices at Okahandja, Karibib, Waldau and Johann-Albrechtshöhe are closed.|
|04.05.||A skirmish occurs between Germans
and Basters at Garies.
The post office at Okasise is closed.
The supreme command of the Schutztruppe is evacuated to the north.
|06.05.||The post office at Osona is closed.|
|07.05.||The South Africans occupy Okahandja. The last German troops under the command of Lieutenant Georg Fritz Ferdinand von Hepke and Ernst Weiske leave Windhoek and retreat in the direction of Seeis.|
|08.05.||The battle of Sam-Khubis is fought
between the Germans and Basters. The Baster community still commemorates the battle every
year. The battle of Sam-Khubis is fought between the Germans and Basters. The Baster
community still commemorates the battle every year. The German troops travel by railway to
Bergland station (12.05.). On 13.05. they move from Hohewarte to the Waterberg.
The post office at Otjosonjati is closed.
|10.05.||The post offices at Otjihavera and Ekuja are closed.|
|11.05.||The Windhoek Post Office closes.|
|12.05.||SA troops reach Windhoek. Windhoek
Mayor Peter Müller hands over the city to the South Africans. Windhoek has approx. 3 000
"white" and 10 000 "black and coloured" inhabitants. Okombahe is
reached the same day.
The post office at Wilhelmstal is closed.
|13.05.||The post office at Neu-Heusis is closed.|
|15.05.||The post office at Otjundaura is closed.|
|18.05.||The post office at Gobabis is closed.|
|20./22.05.||Negotiations for an armistice between Botha and Governor Seitz take place at the farm Giftkuppe near Omaruru. The negotiations fail.|
|21.05.||The remaining German troops assemble between Kalkfeld and the Waterberg.|
|29.05.||The railway line from Lüderitz to Seeheim is repaired by South Africans. From here they proceed to Keetmanshoop and Windhoek to repair the railway line.|
|31.05.||The post office at Barby is closed.|
|June||The post offices at Chairos,
Otjiwarongo, Kalkfeld and Okaukwejo are closed due to the war.
The Germans, under the command of Captain von Losnitzer, repeatedly blast sections of the railway line between Okahandja and Karibib.
|19.06.||Of the approximately 69 000 SA troops in the territory (whose material resources are vastly superior to those of the German troops), 35 000 (under the command of Louis Botha and the generals Brits and Myburgh) advance to the north and reach Omaruru.|
|20.06.||The post offices at Omaruru and Okombahe are closed.|
|22.06.||The post office at the Waterberg is closed.|
|23.06.||The post office at Outjo is closed.|
|29.06.||The post office at Guchab is closed.|
|30.06.||The post office at Otavi is closed.|
|01.07.||The battle at Otavifontein is fought between 800 Germans and 8 000 South Africans.|
|04.07.||The last skirmish during World War One is fought at Ghaub (||Gaub).|
|06.07.||The post office at Grootfontein is
Namutoni and Tsumeb are reached by the South Africans.
|09.07.||The German Schutztruppe (3 497 men,
of whom 1 331 have been killed) surrender to SA troops near Khorab (situated 500 km from
Swakopmund at the Swakopmund-Tsumeb railway line).
Governor Seitz is allowed to stay at Grootfontein and moves later, until the end of World War One, to a farm in the Khomashochland. The Schutztruppe commander, Erich Victor Carl August Franke, is interned on Okawayo, northeast of Karibib.
The reservists of the Schutztruppe are allowed to go home. The active troops as well as the police are interned at Aus (1 552 soldiers and policemen who are guarded by approximately 600 South Africans). Here in a virtual no mans land east of Aus and north of the railway line to Seeheim, the prisoners-of-war construct a model camp, utilising their meagre resources. They are kept imprisoned until April 1919. When the Great Flu epidemic struck in October and November 1918 the average number of prisoners is 1 438 and the guards around 600. A total of sixty guards and sixty-five prisoners die during the epidemic.
SA imposes martial law (until 01.01.1921). SA declares the Rehoboth Gebied (District) to be the legitimate "homeland" of the Basters. The Basters claim that Botha had promised them their complete independence during his meeting with Van Wyk on 01.04. Van Wyk dies in Rehoboth on 25.04.1924. Successor is Albert Mouton (until the South African crushing of the Baster Uprising, 1925).
The British Prisoner of War Camp (1915-1919) at Aus
The Cemetry at Aus: Karas Region
Grave of a German Soldier on the "German
Cemetery" in Grootfontein: Otjozondjupa Region
|11.07.||General Beves becomes military governor.|
|19.07.||The post office at Olukonda is closed, this being the last post office of German South West Africa. From now on SWA's postal history is determined by South Africa (until 1990). The South Africans immediately introduce South African postal stamps which are used without any special marks (forerunners) because most of the German stamps were destroyed by the German authorities in Grootfontein and smaller amounts at other places. South African transitional or adapted former German cancellation marks are used. Some names are changed from the German spelling into the Dutch/English ones (Windhuk again becomes Windhoek; Kolmannskuppe becomes Kolmanskop).|
|August||Major SM Pritchard informs
Ovamboland chiefs that SWA is now under SA rule. Pritchard is accompanied by Carl Hugo
Linsingen (Cocky) Hahn (grandson of missionary Carl Hugo Hahn), who becomes the Resident
Commissioner in the north in 1921 (until 1946). He is also called "Shongola"
(Oshivambo: the whip). The first Resident Commissioner in the north is Major Charles
Manning (until 1921).
The Ovahimba Chief Muhona Katiti returns from Angola in the Kaokoveld and settles at the Omuhonga River.
|02.08.||The SA Railways Administration takes over control of the railways in SWA.|
|13.08.||The Official Gazette of South-West-Africa is established.|
|16.08.||The whole of German South West Africa is occupied by SA troops.|
|17.08.||The "Cape gauge" railway
line from Ebony reaches Karibib, thus completing the broad-gauge line from SA to Walvis
Bay. From this day until 1960 the remaining narrow-gauge line is in place from Usakos
north to Tsumeb and Grootfontein, and from 1921 a line to Outjo is constructed .
The new diversion between Kranzberg station and Usakos shortens the distance of the line by 17,3 km.
|02.09.||Pritchard agrees to protect King
Mandume ya Ndemufayo of the Uukwanyama area against further Portuguese advances from
Angola, after Mandume and his fighters fail, despite a three-day battle against Portuguese
General Pereira de Eça at Omongwa (16.08.-19.08.), to halt the Portuguese invasion into
that part of his kingdom. Consequently Mandume moves his capital from Ondjiva in Angola to
Oihole in the south, 6 km north of Odibo in present-day Angola. The Ombandja King
Shihetekela supports Mandume. He settles at Etomba. The headman Ndjukuma Shilengifa moves
from Oihole to the Omedi area. He later supports the South African forces. Vita Tom,
however, fights on the Portuguese side.
SA officials initially favour Mandume, whom they perceive as a strong leader who efficiently controls his subjects. The Administration in northern SWA after the SA takeover from Germany is very small in scale. Aside from the military expedition of 1917 aimed at removing Mandume, the colonial presence is weak for the first 15 years, and is only consolidated after the serious drought, famine and depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s.
|05.09.||Mandumes capital Ondjiva is taken by the Portuguese.|
|11.09.||An agreement that resolves the Kunene border "waterfall dispute" is reached between SA and Portugal. The disputed 11 km strip (neutral zone) will be jointly administered by the two powers. The 17°23'10" south position is the provisional "cut-line border". Namakunde becomes the place of residence of a South African and a Portuguese representative. This partitioning of the Uukwanyama area brings Mandume into an impossible situation, where he is forced to defy both the SA and Portuguese authorities.|
|September||The newspaper Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung is the first German paper to be published under South African rule.|
|30.10.||Edmund Howard Lacam Gorges becomes the first Administrator of the newly-proclaimed (28.10.) "Protectorate".|
|End 1915||After the change of colonial power
the Witbooi Nama, together with Hendrik Witboois sons Jesaias and Isaak Witbooi,
return to Gibeon. Isaak is installed by the SA authorities as "location
foreman". Protest by the "white" farmers leads to the resettlement of the
Witbooi Nama at Rietmond and from 1919 at Witbooisvlei.
Most of the deported Germans are allowed to return to SWA.