523 people die in the Black concentration camps of the Second Anglo Boer War

Prisoners in the concentration camp Image source

Friday, 30 May 1902

On 11 October 1899 war was officially declared between Britain and the Boers. In March 1901 Lord Kitchener, the commander of the British forces, decided to cut off the Boers supply of food. The Boers were being supported by farmers so he initiated the "scorched earth" policy. About 30 000 Boer farmhouses and more than 40 towns were destroyed and livestock was killed. Boer women and children and Black African people were put into separate concentration camps. Towards the end of the war approximately 116 000 Boer women and children were housed in concentration camps, with camps housing approximately 115 000 Black African people. These camps were overcrowded, the captives underfed and the conditions poor. There were limited medical supplies and staff. Diseases like measles, whooping cough, typhoid fever, diphtheria and dysentery resulted in the death of 1 in every 5 people.  26 370 Boer women and children died in the concentration camps and it is estimated that more than 15 000 Black African people died in segregated concentration camps. 81% of the total fatalities in the camps were children

Click here for more information on Black Concentration Camps during the Anglo-Boer War 2, 1900-1902


1. Pieter G. Cloete (2000).  The Anglo-Boer War: A chronology. ABC Press, Cape Town, p.331.

Benneyworth, G.,August 2006, The department of native refugee camps,[online],Available at www.sahistory.org.za ,[Accessed:28 May 2013]

Last updated : 30-May-2017

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

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