President Paul Kruger

Voortrekker, Commando and Conservationist

by Dr. Peter Hammond

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10 October used to be celebrated as Kruger’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, which marked the birth of this great founding father of our nation.

001 Groot Trek Oom Paul was born on his grandfather’s farm at Bulhoek, 10 October 1825. Paul’s parents were Casper Kruger and Elsie Steyn. Drought, locusts and migrating herds of buck forced them to lead a nomadic existence in the Karoo. He was hardened by nature and schooled by the Bible. He received only three months of formal education, mostly being home schooled. He read the Bible daily.

Voortrekker

His father, Casper Kruger, joined the Trek party of Hendrik Potgieter in one of the very first of the expeditions, 1835. As a young boy of 10-years-old, Paul Kruger set out on the Great Trek under Hendrik Potgieter.

Battle of Vegkop

At age 11, Paul Kruger was one of the "men" who successfully defeated the previously unbeaten Matabele Impies of Mzilikazi at the Battle of Vegkop.

002 Vegkop Fighter

He had a rough upbringing on the trail and, in the wilderness, became proficient in horse riding and hunting. After his baptism of fire at the Battle of Vegkop, he served in numerous campaigns against raiding tribes, including the Makapan in 1854 and Mapela in 1858. He led the Republican forces in the First Anglo Boer War of 1880-1881.

Farmer

Paul Kruger’s father first settled close to what is today Potchefstroom, and later moved to what is now Rustenberg. At age 16, Paul Kruger carved his own farm out of the wilderness at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountains. He later made this farm available to Missionaries from Andrew Murray’s Africa Institute to establish the first Reformed Mission station in the Transvaal.

Father

At age 17 he married Anna Marie Etresai du Plessis (1826-1846). His wife and child died January, 1846. He then married again in 1847, Gezina Suzanna du Plessis (1831-1901). Together they were blessed with 7 daughters and 9 sons. Before the end of his life he had over 144 grandchildren.

003 Paul Kruger Statue Reformed Christian

Paul Kruger was a deeply devout believer who studied the Scriptures daily. He memorised most of the Bible by heart. He was a founding member of the Gereformeerde Kerk, which was formed in Rustenberg in 1859. The Doppers, as the Gereformeerde Kerk members were known, separated from the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk 004 Rustenburg Church over a new Hymnbook, which they believed contradicted some of the principals of their foundational documents, the Synod of Dort, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession. The Gereformeerde Kerk founded the Potchefstroom University College for Higher Christian Education. The Gereformeerde Kerk uses only Hymns from the Bible, mainly the Psalms, and other Skrifberymings directly drawn from the Bible. His first involvement in politics began at age 25, when he represented the Transvaal at the Sand River Convention, 1852.

005 Volksraad Leader

Paul Kruger was a Field Cornet in the Commandos and eventually became Commandant General of the South African Republic. He was appointed member of a Commission of the Volksraad to draw up the Constitution for the Transvaal Republic. He was present at the Sand River Convention of 1852, in which the British government recognised the independence of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. In 1875, he was elected as a member of the Executive Council and shortly after that became Vice President of the Transvaal. When President T.F. Burgers came to power in 1872, Paul Kruger could not support his liberal policies and resigned in early 1873. It was the declining popularity of Burgers that led Lord Shepstone to seize the Transvaal Republic and annex it to the British Empire. So unpopular was Burgers and his policies that not one Boer responded to his call for the Commandos to defend their independence.

However as the British began to tax the farmers, Paul Kruger became the most vocal leader of the Resistance to foreign rule. At a historic gathering at Paardekraal, in December 1880, the citizens restored the Republic, electing Paul Kruger, Piet Joubert and M.W. Pretorius to form a Triumvirate to lead their Republic.

006 Majuba Resistance

After the Transvaal was annexed by Britain in 1877, Paul Kruger led the resistance movement, visiting Britain as the leader of a deputation protesting the violation of the Sand River Convention and demanding the restoration of Transvaal independence. After the Boer victory at the Battle of Majuba in 1881, Paul Kruger played a vital role in the negotiations with the British which led to the restoration of the Transvaal independence.

President

On 30 December 1880, at age 55, Paul Kruger was elected President of the Transvaal. He visited Europe on a number of occasions and was received with great honour in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. In the elections of 1883, 1888, 1893 and 1898, Paul Kruger was victorious, each time defeating his main rival, Piet Joubert.

007 Gold Gold and the Uitlanders

The discovery of gold, on the Witwatersrand in 1884, had far-reaching political repercussions as Uitlanders poured into the Transvaal, dramatically changing the demographics and threatening to overwhelm the independence of the Boer Republic. In his Memoirs, Paul Kruger declared that instead of rejoicing at the discovery of gold, they should have wept, because of how it would cause their land to be soaked in blood.

008 Kruger Park Nature Conservation

Paul Kruger was far-sighted in his concern for nature conservation and he is credited with the establishment of the initial Sabi Reserve in the Eastern Transvaal which has grown into the greatest game reserve on earth: The Kruger National Park.

The Jameson Raid

Paul Kruger displayed tremendous wisdom and restraint in how he handled the treachery of some prominent miners in their attempt to foment revolution, and the failed Jameson Raid, led by Cecil John Rhodes’ most trusted leader, Leander Starr Jameson, in 1895. Instead of hanging the plotters, and imprisoning the invaders, as his own people demanded, he handed them over to the British government to deal with.

Paris Fashions

There are numerous amusing stories of Oom Paul on state visits overseas. On one occasion he walked into a French banquet hall only to immediately turn around and walk out, declaring: "I am sorry, I was not aware that your women were not yet dressed!" as a protest against the immoral fashions prevalent in Paris.

Half the Bible

When President Kruger announced that any church could receive an acre free for them to build their House of Worship on, he was approached by a Jewish Rabbi, who requested an acre. Oom Paul thought for a moment and then responded that he could have half an acre, as the Jews only believed half the Bible!

009 Pretoria Synagogue Dedicating a Synagogue to Christ

When the Rabbi invited the President to dedicate the Pretoria Synagogue, Oom Paul solemnly removed his hat and declared: "In the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I dedicate this Synagogue to the Glory of God." It may be the only Synagogue dedicated in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Uitlander Dilemma

With the radical economic and political challenges that followed the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, President Kruger was concerned that the miners would soon out-vote the farmers. To counter this possibility, he made the conditions of naturalisation more demanding. In 1890, the government restricted the Uitlander franchise for presidential and Volksraad elections to naturalised citizens who had been in the country for at least 14 years. A second Volksraad was created to represent Uitlander interests, to be elected by naturalised citizens of at least two years.

010 Anglo-Boer War Anglo Boer War

Sir Alfred Milner, the British High Commissioner in South Africa, was an ardent imperialist and committed to agitating Uitlander dissent and opposition to Kruger’s government in the Transvaal and the absorption of both the Transvaal and the Orange Free State into a British South Africa. As the British invaded the Transvaal, May 1899, President Kruger was sent overseas to raise support for the Boer cause. He withdrew through Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). There he boarded the Dutch Warship, Gelderland, sent by the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, which defied the British naval blockade to transport him safely to Europe.

011 Queen Wilhelmina Mobilising Opposition to Britain

In Europe he was greatly honoured as the principled leader of a courageous people who had been most unjustly invaded and abused by the British Empire. Visitors to Kruger House in Church Street, Pretoria, can see many of the trophies and awards granted by the Russian Tsar, the Emperor of Austria, Kaiser Willem II of Germany, from the Dutch, French, Italians and Swiss.

Honoured Hero

Oom Paul died in exile in Clarens, Switzerland, 14 July 1904. On 16 December 1904 his remains were reburied in Heroes Acre in Church Street Cemetery, Pretoria. A statue of Paul Kruger in his characteristic formal dress, stands in the centre of Church Square, Pretoria. The Kruger Rand gold coin is named in his honour and features his face. A Street in St. Gallen, Switzerland, Krügerstrasse was named after him. His greatest monument is the Kruger National Park.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” ~ Proverbs 9:10

KRUGER HOUSE

Pretoria is also home to Kruger House, the historic residence of the President of the South Africa Republic, Paul Kruger. Built in 1884, by architect Tom Claridge, this house was the first in Pretoria to be lit by electricity. The two stone lions on the veranda were presented to President Kruger as a birthday gift on 10 October 1896, by mining magnet, Barney Barnato.

Oom Paul, as the president was often referred to, used to receive citizens on the stoep to discuss their concerns over coffee and koeksisters.

Kruger House now houses a Museum with many fascinating artefacts and furnishings from Paul Kruger and the tumultuous times in which he lived. Paul Kruger and his family lived in this house on Church Street from 1884 to 1900. The museum includes the president’s state coach and ox-wagon and many of the awards received during his exile in Europe, the presidential railway coach he travelled on for official business and artefacts from the Anglo Boer War.

Dr. Peter Hammond

Reformation Society
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Email:
mission@frontline.org.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.frontlinemissionsa.org

This article was adapted from a chapter of Sketches from South African History. And the full lecture on audio CD, as delivered at the Reformation Society are both available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358 Howard Place 7450 Cape Town South Africa Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: admin@christianlibertybooks.co.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

See also:

The Great Trek and the Battle of Blood River

The First Anglo-Boer War

Copyright © 2018 Reformation Society. All Rights Reserved.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Friend of Africa

Dr David Livingstone in 1864 Born 19 March 1813 Blantyre, Scotland

Died 1 May 1873 (aged 60) Chief Chitambo’s Village, Kingdom of Kazembe (today Zambia)

Cause of death Malaria and internal bleeding due to dysentery

Resting place Westminster Abbey 51°29′58″N 0°07′39″W

Known for Spreading the Gospel and Exploration of Africa

Spouse(s) Mary (née Moffat; m. 1845 – 27 April 1862; her death); 6 children

— OOO —

The FAMILY, FAITH and UPBRINGING of DAVID LIVINGSTONE

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19 March 1813 marked the birth of Scottish Missionary David Livingstone.

The Fighting Missionary
The hero of the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, described Dr. David Livingstone as "The fighting parson."

The Friend of Africa
Jacob Wainwright, who had been rescued from slavery by Dr. Livingstone, described him as: "The friend of the African."

Practical Christianity
American journalist and explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, described Dr. Livingstone as: "A truly pious man, a man deeply imbued with real religious instincts. His religion… is of the true, practical kind, never losing a chance to manifest itself in a quiet, practical way, never demonstrative or loud. It is always at work, if not in deed, by shining example."

An Example of Excellence
Stanley described his attitude when he first arrived in Africa: "as prejudiced against religion as the worst infidel…" However, the example of David Livingstone, who had truly left all to follow Christ, converted Stanley. It is not so much what you say, but what you do that counts. Action is eloquence. David Livingstone said what he meant. He meant what he said and he did all he promised. He was true to his word.

Inspiring
David Livingstone was hailed in his lifetime as the greatest missionary explorer of all time. As one contemporary journalist described it: "the Christian’s Faith in God is strengthened by the author’s very survival of every imaginable danger. The abolitionist is inspired by the prospect of stopping the slave trade. Medical men are intrigued by Livingstone’s approach to disease and the value of his treatment for fever…" The incredible courage and sacrifices of David Livingstone inspired multiplied hundreds of men and women to dedicate their lives to Missions in Africa. What can we learn about the family and upbringing of David Livingstone, to understand his Faith, courage and vision?

David Livingstone preaching to Africans Born in Blantyre
David Livingstone was born 19 March 1813, in the industrial town of Blantyre, 8 miles from Glasgow. Today the largest city in Malawi is called Blantyre, in honour of the birthplace of David Livingstone.

The Father
His Father, Neil Livingstone, was a dedicated Christian who had met his future wife, Agnes, when he was apprenticed to a local tailor. He won the hand of the tailor’s daughter and became a tea salesman so that he could travel and preach the Gospel, distributing Evangelistic tracts to his customers door-to-door. Neil also taught at Sunday school and was a zealous member of a local Missionary Society, persistently promoting prayer meetings and Missionary causes. David Livingstone later wrote concerning his Father: "He deserved my lasting gratitude and homage for presenting me from infancy with a continuously consistent pious example."

Strict Standards
Neil Livingstone was also a strict disciplinarian who sought to bring up David in the fear of the Lord. At age 9, David was challenged to learn the longest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 119 (all 176 verses) off by heart in order to receive a copy of the New Testament. Because Neil had seen the ravaging effects of alcoholism, he was a teetotaller and persuaded his son to follow his example in abstaining from alcohol, for life.

The Mother
David’s mother, Agnes, was a gentle, small and delicate woman whose compassionate kindness and loving nature served as a counter-balance to her husband’s strict and austere rule. It was said that her son, David, inherited her remarkably bright eyes. Agnes instilled in her family, a scrupulous concern for cleanliness and immaculate appearance. Later, Henry Morton Stanley commented on the immaculate standards of David Livingstone to his men as they began their epic 999 day expedition across the Congo: "Dr. Livingstone shaved every day of the 4 months, I was with him in the field and you will shave every day!"

The Napoleonic Wars
David was born during the last years of the ruinous Napoleonic wars which devastated Europe. The economic impact of the 25 years of French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars had left many unemployed in Britain and an economically depressed environment.

The Family
The Livingstone’s’ lived a very frugal lifestyle on a miniscule budget. The Livingstone family lived in a single room, ten feet by fourteen feet. Two baby boys had died in their infancy, David had one older surviving brother, John. Another brother, Charles, and two sisters, Janet and Agnes were born after David.

The Home
There was neither hot nor cold running water in the Tenement building and David had to walk many times a day down the tightly curved, brick staircase to fetch water from the pump in the yard, and heave it back up the stairs and along the corridor of the 3rd floor to their room. The Livingstone’s shared their Tenement with 24 other families. At night mattresses were pulled out from under the parents bed which was set into a recess in the wall. Privacy was non-existent and the family cooked, ate, sewed, studied and slept in that single room.

A Passion for Reading
David Livingstone borrowed extensively from the local library, particularly books on travel and science. William Wilberforce’s Practical Christianity had a major impact on his life and clearly influenced his life-long crusade against the slave trade. Sitting by the banks of the River Clyde, engrossed in a book, young David was startled to hear the desperate cries of a young girl and her baby brother drifting in a boat towards the weir of the old Mill. David immediately plunged into the icy waters and rescued them from disaster.

The Cotton Mill
At age 10, David began his full-time employment, 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, for the next 10 years at the Monteith and Company Cotton Spinning Factory. He was to be a piercer, to repair broken threads in spinning frames. David’s day began at 5:30am every morning as the bell was rung. Work would begin at 6am and continue until 8pm. The workers in the cotton mill had to work in tremendous heat and humidity. Steamed temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit were considered ideal for the production of thread.

Physical Training
Every day David would have to walk an average of 34km, much of this in a crawling or stooping position, amongst and under the machinery, or balancing over it. One can imagine what tremendous physical training this was for his later transcontinental expeditions throughout Africa. Piercers received constant beatings from their supervisors to keep them moving through such long shifts, despite fatigue and exhaustion.

Hunger for Knowledge
Yet, David used his first week’s wages to purchase Ruddiman’s Rudiments of Latin. David managed to read in the factory by balancing his book on a portion of the spinning jenny so that he could catch sentence after sentence as he rushed by at his work. In this way he maintained fairly constant study undisturbed by the roar of the machinery. Less than 10% of the children who worked in the Cotton Mills ever learned to read or write. David not only learned to read and write, he taught himself Latin, Greek and Hebrew. After work, he would attend a night school, 8pm to 10pm. Then he returned home to study, often until midnight. His mother frequently had to take his books away before he would go to sleep.

Dr. Livingston Conversion
At age 12, David Livingstone came under intense conviction of sin and experienced a radical conversion to Christ. He wrote: "In the glow of love that Christianity inspired, I resolved to devote my life to the alleviation of human misery." He wrote: "That the Salvation of men ought to be the chief desire and aim of every Christian." He made a resolution that he would give to the cause of Missions all that he might earn beyond what was required for his subsistence.

Perseverance
At age 13, he attended an extra Latin class. When all the other students gave up, he alone remained in the class and the school teacher cancelled the lessons, not seeing the overzealous son of a tea merchant as worthy of his attention. David continued to learn Latin on his own.

The Grandfather
David’s grandfather, Neil Livingstone Senior, also had an impact on the upbringing of David. He had been a tenant farmer on the island of Ulva, off the West coast of Scotland. He was evicted by the English to open up the area for a vast sheep farm. He passed on what he had heard from his grandfather: "I have searched most carefully through all the traditions of our family, and I never could discover that there was a dishonest man among your forefathers. If therefore any of you, or any of your children, should take to dishonest ways, it will not be because it runs in our blood… I leave this precept with you; be honest!"

Thomas Burke
Another man who influenced David Livingstone was Thomas Burke, an old soldier who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars who would ring his bell to shatter the peace and quiet of Blantyre every Sunday morning to rouse the people to attend his early morning Prayer meeting. Burke was abrupt, direct and challenging. The Livingstone family faithfully supported him.

David Hogg
Another man who impressed David Livingstone was David Hogg, who from his deathbed challenged the young boy: "Now lad! Make religion the everyday business of your life and not a thing of fits and starts; for if you do not, temptation and other things will get the better of you!"

The Free Church
1832 was a special watershed year for the Livingstone family. Neil Livingstone, dissatisfied with the spiritual life of the Church of Scotland, changed his church membership to the Free Church. This required the Livingstones to walk to Hamilton, a nearby village for their Sunday worship services. Although they received many invitations to dine with families of the congregation, they chose to carry their own food and not impose upon the limited resources of the other families of the congregation, which they knew were also struggling financially. After Sunday lunch, the Livingstone family were treated to their one luxury, a barley sweet each. The Livingstones never accepted any hand-outs. They worked for everything they had.

Setting the Captives Free
The Free Church in Hamilton were strong supporters of Missions. In 1833, William Wilberforce’s lifelong crusade against slavery was successful. Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire, by an act of Parliament. This inspired ever greater vision for Missions. Those who had been freed from physical slavery, now needed to be freed from spiritual slavery. Missionaries were needed to go to the ends of the earth!

Revival Fires
Books and tracts from the Revival movement sweeping America reached Scotland and created much excitement and deepening of spiritual life and vision. David Livingstone received a pamphlet written by Karl Gutzlaff, of the Netherlands Missionary Society. In it Gutzlaff appealed for medical missionaries to go to China. David was inspired at how a medical missionary could be much more effective in converting the lost. He had learned enough Latin to be able to understand most medical terms. He was remarkably well read and easily would pass the University entrance requirements. His chief obstacle would be lack of finances.

Dr. Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689-4480
Email:
mission@frontline.org.za
Website: www.frontline.org.za

See also:
The Challenge of Livingstone Today
Making Disciples of All Nations

Soli Deo Gloria

365 Years Ago Today . . .

24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: ~ Acts 17:24-27

Today is the 365th Anniversary (6th April 1652 – 6th April 2017)since Commander Johan “Jan” van Riebeeck from the V.O.C. (Dutch East Indies Company) landed at the Kaap de Goede Hoop (the Cape of Good Hoop) which is present day Cape Town. A God fearing man of Dutch Reformed Christianity, came to the fairest Cape and brought with him and his fellow Dutchmen the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the original Resolution prayer in Dutch for the work that lay ahead in establishing the refreshment post at the Cape:

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These historical documents are from the Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope – December, 1651 to December, 1653 – of Riebeeck’s Journal translated into English and stored in typed text by H. C. V. Leibrandt, Keeper of the Archives, 1897. The following extracts are a log of events as the Drommedaris sailed southwards from Texel in Holland to the Cape.

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Further readings of this historical day in South African History, can be read at these blog links:

Ten Grand Tract

Soli Deo Gloria

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