Anglo-Boer War 2. The British Colonial Office appoints a Ladies Commission to investigate the concentration camps in South Africa.


Ten thousand inmates were kept at the concentration camp in El Agheila.

Tuesday, 16 July 1901

On 16 July 1901, the Ladies commission was appointed. The members who were considered impartial were, Mrs. Millicent G. Fawcett, Emily Hobhouse and Dr. Jane Waterson. They were appointed by the British Office to investigate the concentration camps in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War.

The camps were found to have been inadequately built and maintained, unclean, and overcrowded. These factors contributed to the spread of diseases. There was a shortage of both medical supplies and medical staff. A least 25 000 children and women died from epidemics of dysentery, measles, and enteric fever. Emily Hobhouse visited the camps to try and improve the life of the prisoners living of the concentration camps. Hobhouse was an English philanthropist and social worker who tried her best to make the British authorities aware of the plight of women and children in these inhumane conditions. Due to the publicising of what was occurring in the concentration camps international opinion turned against British, and critics were outspoken about their disdain and disgust over the situation. This led to the British General Kitchener changing and ceasing the practise of imprisoning women and children in the camps.

• HistoryWiz, ‘The Concentration Camp’, [online] Available at [Accessed: 15 July 2014]
• South African History Online, 'Women & Children in White Concentration Camps during the Anglo-Boer War, 1900-1902', [online] Available at [Accessed: 15 July 2014]
•  Anglo Boer, 'Concentration camps', [online] Available at [Accessed: 15 July 2014]

Last updated : 25-May-2015

This article was produced by South African History Online on 23-Aug-2012

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