Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of ‘Jock of the Bushveld’, is born

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Sir Percy FitzpatrickSir Percy Fitzpatrick

Thursday, 24 July 1862

On 24 July 1862 Sir Percy Fitzpatrick was born in King Williams Town. He was the eldest son of James Coleman Fitzpatrick and Jenny Fitzgerald, both of whom were originally from Ireland. James Fitzpatrick served as a Supreme Court judge in the Cape Colony and following his death Percy Fitzpatrick travelled to the Eastern Transvaal, where he worked as a journalist to support his mother and sister.

Fitzpatrick became the editor of the Gold Fields News in Barberton and in 1895 he acted as the head of the Reform Committee which attempted to overthrow the Paul Kruger government in the Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR) through the Jameson Raid.  Fitzpatrick was implicated in the Jameson Raid as the go-between of Cecil John Rhodes and Leander Jameson; he was charged with high treason and sentenced to two years imprisonment of which he only served one year.

At the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1899, Fitzpatrick acted as Official Adviser on South African Affairs to the British Government, which he was knighted for in 1902.

In 1907 his most popular work, Jock of the Bushveld, largely based on his experience in the Eastern Transvaal, was published. Fitzpatrick died at the age of 68 in Uitenhage on 24 January 1931.

References:
• Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds) (1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 4, p. 561.
•  Wessels A. ‘An Irish Gentleman in Africa: The Ambiguous Political and Cultural Identity of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’ from JSTOR [online] Available at www.jstor.org [Accessed: 20 July 2011]
•  Gerbera.org, ‘Local Characters’ [online] Available at www.gerbera.org [Accessed: 20 July 2011]
•  Kruger National Park,‘Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’ [online] Available at www.krugerpark.co.za [Accessed: 20 July 2011]

Last updated : 23-Jul-2015

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

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