14 October 1899
During the first week of Anglo-Boer War 2, Boer forces besieged the small town of Mafeking (now Mafikeng) in the Northern Cape (now North West Province), situated on the main railway line to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and the Bechuanaland British Protectorate (Botswana). The town was protected by a British force, comprising of both Whites and Blacks under command of Col. Robert Baden-Powell. In the fight preceding the siege two British soldiers were killed and sixteen wounded, while the Republicans suffered five wounded. The first real attack on the town was made under Field-Cornet Sarel Eloff in April 1900, though General P.A. Cronje repeatedly shelled the town in the meantime, causing only minimal damage. From January 1900 food stocks in Mafeking fell low, but Baden-Powell remedied this difficulty by withholding rations from the sizeable Baralong town adjacent to Mafeking. Sol Plaatje, well-known Black author and political publicist and at that time a court interpreter in Mafeking, was caught up in the siege. He kept a diary, the Mafeking Diary: A Black Man's View of a White Man's War, which was published more than seven decades later. The news of the relief of Mafeking 217 days later caused such scenes of unruly elation in London that the term 'to maffick' was introduced into the English language, meaning to celebrate both extravagantly and publicly.
Cloete, P.G. (2000). The Anglo-Boer War: a chronology, Pretoria: Lapa.|
Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Cape Town: NASOU, v. 7, pp. 107-8.