Herman Charles Bosman guilty of murder

222

Abolishing scales

Monday, 15 November 1926

When South African author Herman Charles Bosman visited his parents in Johannesburg during the June school holidays, his visit ended in tragedy in the house of his mother and stepfather. Bosman, who was then teaching in the Marico district of North-Western Transvaal, became involved in a quarrel with his stepbrother and on impulse fired a hunting rifle at his stepbrother and killed him. He was found guilty of murdering his stepbrother and sentenced to death at the age of 21. Later, a reprieve was granted and his sentence was mitigated to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour, of which he served four and a half years before he was released.

His prison experiences provided the background for the moving and wryly humorous stories in Cold Stone Jug and it was while he was in prison that he wrote his first Oom Schalk Lourens stories. After his release on parole in 1930, he turned journalist, but continued his series of humerous short stories. He published five books and two volumes of poems in the early 1930s, using the pseudonym of 'Herman Malan'. Mafeking Road, a collection of short stories published in 1947, won him recognition as a master of the short story. He was the first serio-humorist in South African English literature.

Sources:

References:
• Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 2, p. 431-2.  

Last updated : 14-Nov-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011