He grew up on the farm Vaalbank. His school was the veld and he had only three months' formal education, his master being one Tielman Roos.
President of ZAR 1883 - 1900, State President, ZA Republic
Religion: Gereformeede Kerk
Paul Kruger (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger (10 October 1825 – 14 July 1904), better known as Paul Kruger and affectionately known as Oom Paul (Afrikaans: "Uncle Paul") was State President of the South African Republic (Transvaal). He gained international renown as the face of Boer resistance against the British during the South African or Second Boer War (1899-1902).
Kruger was born at Bulhoek, his grandfather's farm in the Steynsburg district near the town of Cradock, and grew up on the farm Vaalbank. He received only three months of formal education, his master being one Tielman Roos, but became knowledgeable from life on the veld. Paul Kruger became proficient in hunting and horse riding. He contributed to the development of guerrilla warfare during the First Boer War. Kruger's father, Casper Kruger, joined the trek party of Hendrik Potgieter when the Great Trek started in 1836.
The trekkers crossed the Vaal River in 1838, and at first stayed in the area that is known today as Potchefstroom. Kruger's father later decided to settle in the district now known as Rustenburg. At the age of 16, Kruger was entitled to choose a farm for himself at the foot of the Magaliesberg, where he settled in 1841.
The following year he married Maria du Plessis, and they went together with Paul Kruger's father to live in the Eastern Transvaal. After the family had returned to Rustenburg, Kruger's wife and infant son died, most probably from fever. He then married his second wife Gezina du Plessis in 1847, who was his constant and devoted companion until her death in 1901. Seven daughters and nine sons were born of the marriage, some dying in infancy.
Paul Kruger was a deeply religious man. He claimed to have only read one book, the Bible, and also claimed to know most of it by heart. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk.
In time, Kruger emerged as a leader. He started as a field cornet in the commandos, eventually becoming Commandant-General of the South African Republic. He was appointed member of a commission of the Volksraad, the republican parliament that was to draw up a constitution. People began to take notice of the young man and he played a prominent part in ending the quarrel between the Transvaal leader, Stephanus Schoeman, and M.W. Pretorius. He was present at the Sand River Convention in 1852.
In 1873, Kruger resigned as Commandant-General, and for a time he held no office and retired to his farm, Boekenhoutfontein. However, in 1874 he was elected as a member of the Executive Council and shortly after became the Vice-President of the Transvaal.
Following the annexation of the Transvaal by Britain in 1877, Kruger became the leader of the resistance movement. During the same year, he visited Britain for the first time as the leader of a deputation. In 1878, he formed part of a second deputation. A highlight of his visit to Europe was when he ascended in a hot air balloon and saw Paris from the air.
The First Boer War started in 1880, and the British forces were defeated at Majuba in 1881. Once again, Kruger played an critical role in the negotiations with the British, which led to the restoration of the Transvaal's independence under British suzerainty.
On 30 December 1880, at the age of 55, Kruger was elected President of the Transvaal. One of his first goals was the revision of the Pretoria Convention of 1881; the agreement between the Boers and the British that ended the First Boer War. He again left for Britain in 1883, empowered to negotiate with Lord Derby. Kruger and his companions also visited the Continent and this became a triumph in countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain. In Germany, he attended an imperial banquet at which he was presented to the Emperor, Wilhelm I, and spoke at length with Bismarck.
In the Transvaal, things changed rapidly after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand. This discovery had far-reaching political repercussions and gave rise to the uitlander (Afrikaans: foreigner) problem, which eventually caused the fall of the Republic. Kruger acknowledged in his memoirs that General Joubert predicted the events that followed afterwards, declaring that instead of rejoicing at the discovery of gold, they should be weeping because it will "cause our land to be soaked in blood."
At the end of 1895, the failed Jameson raid took place; Jameson was forced to surrender and was taken to Pretoria to be handed over to his British countrymen for punishment.
Kruger believed that the Earth is flat; in 1897 he said to a sailor sailing round the world "You don't mean round the world, it is impossible! You mean in the world. Impossible!".
In 1898, Kruger was elected President for the fourth and last time.
On 11 October 1899, the Second Boer War broke out. On 7 May the following year, Kruger attended the last session of the Volksraad, and left Pretoria on 29 May as Lord Roberts was advancing on the town. For weeks he either stayed in a house at Waterval Onder or in his railway carriage at Machadodorp in the then Eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga. In October, he left South Africa on the Dutch warship Gelderland, sent by Wilhelmina, which had simply ignored the British naval blockade of South Africa. His wife was too ill to travel and remained in South Africa; she died on 20 July 1901.
Kruger went to Marseille and stayed for a while in The Netherlands, before moving to Clarens, Switzerland, where he died on 14 July 1904. He was buried on 16 December 1904 in the Heroes Acre of the Church Street cemetery, Pretoria.
Kruger was a large squarely built man, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. As he aged, his hair went snowy white. He wore a beard, but never a mustache. Martin Meredith cited W. Morcom's statement that had very oily hair and sunken eyes. He was most often dressed in a black frock coat with a top hat. Never far from his pipe, he was a chain smoker. The image of Kruger in his top hat and frock coat, smoking his pipe was used to great effect in the Anglo-Boer war by British cartoonists.
According to legend, he was named Mamelodi'a Tshwane (Tswana: "whistler of the Apies River") by the inhabitants of the surrounding area for his ability to whistle and imitate bird calls.
His former Pretoria residence is now the Kruger House Museum.
A statue of Paul Kruger in his characteristic formal dress stands in Church Square, Pretoria.
The Kruger National Park is named after him, as is the Krugerrand coin, which features his face on the obverse.
Pipe manufacturers still produce a style named "Oom Paul", the characteristic large-bowled full-bent shape often seen in photographs of Paul Kruger and believed to have been designed especially for him.
In 2004 he was voted 27th in the SABC3's Great South Africans poll conducted by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
The Nazis used his biography (Kruger had German ancestors) for one of their anti-British propaganda films: Ohm Krüger, shot by director Hans Steinhoff in 1940–41. The role of Kruger in this movie was played by Emil Jannings.
A street in St. Gallen, Switzerland – Krügerstrasse – is named after Kruger, most likely because he enjoyed a reputation as a freedom fighter in late 19th century Switzerland. This has since repeatedly given rise to controversy because of attention given to Kruger's racist statements (typical of his period) about indigenous Africans, and attempts have been made to rename the street.
The South African Republic
The South African Republic (Dutch: Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, or ZAR), often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African province of Transvaal. The ZAR was established in 1852, and was independent from 1856 to 1877, then again from 1881 to 1900 after the First Boer War, in which the Boers regained their independence from the British Empire.
In 1900 the ZAR was annexed by the United Kingdom during the Second Boer War although the official surrender of the territory only took place at the end of the war, on 31 May 1902. In 1910 it became the Transvaal Province of the Union of South Africa. The first president of the South African Republic was Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, elected in 1857, son of the famous Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, who commanded the Boers to Victory at the Battle of Blood River.
The capital was established at Pretoria (founded 1855), though for a brief period Potchefstroom served as the seat of government. The parliament, the Volksraad, had 24 members.
The Transvaal region was inhabited by the earliest ancestors of modern South Africans, the Khoisan, for thousands of years, and by iron-age ancestors of modern Bantu-language speaking South Africans, such as the Sotho, Swati, Tswana, Pedi, Venda and Transvaal-Ndebele peoples since the mid fourth century AD. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the area that would eventually become the South African Republic was home to thousands of human settlements, including chiefdoms, villages and substantial towns such as Dithakong, whose population was comparable in size to that of contemporary early nineteenth century Cape Town. The residents of these villages, towns and cities engaged in farming, cattle keeping, iron, copper and tin mining, metal tool making, and long distance direct and indirect trade. In 1817, the region was invaded by Mzilikazi, originally a lieutenant of Zulu King Shaka who was pushed from his own territories to the west by the Zulu armies. After a brief alliance with the Transvaal Ndebele, Mzilikazi became leader of the Ndebele people. (The people of this political and ethnic entity called themselves Ndebele or amaNdebele, but because of linguistic differences, they were called Matebele by the local Sotho-Tswana.) Mzilikazi's invasion of the Transvaal was one part of a vast series of inter-related wars, forced migrations and famines that indigenous people and later historians came to call the Difaqane or mfecane. In the Transvaal, the Difaqane severely weakened and disrupted the towns and villages of the Sotho-Tswana chiefdoms, their political systems and economies, making them very weak, and easy to colonize by the European settlers who would shortly arrive from the south.
As Ndebele moved into Transvaal, the remnants of the Bavenda retreated north to the Waterberg and Zoutpansberg, while Mzilikazi made his chief kraal north of the Magaliesberg mountains near present day Pretoria, with an important military outpost to guard trade routes to the north at Mosega, not far from the site of the modern town of Zeerust. As the Ndebele conquered the Transvaal they absorbed many members of the conquered Sotho-Tswana and other tribes and established a military despotism. From about 1827 until about 1836, Mzilikazi dominated the southwestern Transvaal. Before that time the region between the Vaal and Limpopo was scarcely known to Europeans, but in 1829, Mzilikazi was visited at Mosega by Robert Moffat, and between that date and 1836 a few British traders and explorers visited the country and made known its principal features.
In the 1830s and the 1840s, descendants of Dutch and other settlers, collectively known as Boers (farmers) or Voortrekkers (pioneers), left the British Cape Colony, in what was to be called the Great Trek. With their military technology, they overcame the local forces with relative ease, and formed several small Boer republics in areas beyond British control, without a central government.
From 1835 until 1838, Boer settlers started to cross the Vaal and they had several skirmishes with the Ndebele. On 16 October 1836, a Boer laager (or fortified circle of wagons) led by Andries Hendrik Potgieter, was attacked by an Ndebele force of about 5,000, who looted all of Potgieter's livestock, but were unable to defeat the laager. One of the Sotho-Tswana chiefs, Chief Moroko of the Barolong people, who had earlier fled the Difaqane to the south to create the settlement of Thaba Nchu, sent fresh livestock to Potgieter to draw his party's wagons back to the safety of the Rolong stronghold of Thaba Nchu, where the Sotho-Tswana chief offered the Boers food and protection. By January 1837, an alliance of 107 Boers, sixty Rolong, and forty Coloured men, organized as a commando under the leadership of Potgieter and Gert Maritz, attacked Mzilikazi's settlement at Mosega, which suffered heavy losses, and early in 1838 Mzilikazi fled north beyond the Limpopo (to current day Zimbabwe), never to return to Tranvaal. Andries Hendrik Potgieter, after the flight of the Ndebele, issued a proclamation in which he declared the country which Mzilikazi had abandoned and forfeited to the emigrant farmers, but also denying land rights to the Sotho-Tswana who had saved him and assisted in the defeat of the Mzilikazi and the Ndebele. After the Ndebele and Sotho-Tswana claims to the territory had been suppressed by the Boer political leadership, many Boer farmers trekked across the Vaal and occupied parts of the Transvaal, often near Sotho-Tswana villages, dividing the population up as forced laborers. Into these areas, still partly populated by remnants of the Ndebele and Sotho-Tswana, there was also a considerable immigration of members of the various Sotho-Tswana chiefdoms who had fled during the Difaqane.
The first permanent European settlement north of the Vaal was made by a party under Potgieter's leadership. That commandant had in March 1838 gone to Natal, and had endeavoured to avenge the massacre of Piet Retief and his comrades by the Zulus. Jealous, however, of the preference shown by the Dutch farmers in Natal to another commandant, Gert Maritz, Potgieter speedily recrossed the Drakensberg, and in November 1838 he and his followers settled by the banks of the Mooi river, founding a town named Potchefstroom in honour of Potgieter. This party instituted an elementary form of government, and in 1840 entered into a loose confederation with the Natalia Republic Boer, and also with the Boers south of the Vaal, whose headquarters were at Winburg. In 1842, however, Potgieter's party declined to go to the help of the Natal Boers, then involved in conflict with the British. Up to 1845 Potgieter continued to exercise authority over the Boer communities on both sides of the Vaal. A determination to keep clear of the British and to obtain access to the outer world through an independent channel led Potgieter and a considerable number of the Potchefstroom and Winburg burghers in 1845 to migrate towards Delagoa Bay. Potgieter settled in the Zoutpansberg, while other farmers chose as headquarters a place on the inner slopes of the Drakensberg, where they founded a village called Andries Ohrigstad. It proved fever-ridden and was abandoned, a new village being laid out on higher ground and named Lydenburg in memory of their sufferings at the abandoned settlement. Meanwhile, the southern districts abandoned by Potgieter and his comrades were occupied by other Boers. These were joined in 1848 by Andries W. J. Pretorius, who became commandant of the Potchefstroom settlers.
On 17 January 1852, the United Kingdom signed the Sand River Convention treaty with 5,000 or so of the Boer families (about 40,000 white people), recognizing their independence in the region to the north of the Vaal River, or the Transvaal. The Orange Free State, a sister Boer republic, was granted independence around the same time. But while they had obtained independence, they were far from being a united people. When Pretorius conducted the negotiations which led to the signing of the Sand River Convention he did so without consulting the volksraad, and Potgieter's party accused him of usurping power and aiming at domination over the whole country. However, the volksraad, at a meeting held at Rustenburg on 16 March 1852, ratified the convention, Potgieter and Pretorius having been publicly reconciled on the morning of the same day. Both leaders were near the end of their careers; Potgieter died in March and Pretorius in July 1853.
On the death of Andries Pretorius his son Marthinus W. Pretorius (q.v.) had been appointed his successor, and to the younger Pretorius was due the first efforts to end the discord and confusion which prevailed among the burghers - a discord heightened by ecclesiastical strife, the points at issue being questions not of faith but of church government. In 1856 a series of public meetings, summoned by Pretorius, was held at different districts in the Transvaal for the purpose of discussing and deciding whether the time had not arrived for substituting a strong central government in place of the petty district governments which had hitherto existed. The result was that a representative assembly of delegates was elected, empowered to draft a constitution.
In December 1856, the Transvaal assembly met at Potchefstroom, and for three weeks was engaged in modelling the constitution 1856 of the country. The name Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic) was adopted as the title of the state, and the new constitution made provision for a volksraad to which members were to be elected by the people for a period of two years, and in which the legislative function was vested. The administrative authority was to be vested in a president, aided by an executive council. It was stipulated that members both of the volksraad and council should be members of the Dutch Reformed Church, and of European blood. No equality of coloured people with the white inhabitants would be tolerated either in church or state. In reviewing an incident so important in the history of the Transvaal as the appointment of the Potchefstroom assembly it is of interest to note the gist of the complaint among the Boers which led to this revolution in the government of the country as it had previously existed. In his History of South Africa Theal says: "The community of Lydenburg was accused of attempting to domineer over the whole country, without any other right to pre-eminence than that of being composed of the earliest inhabitants, a right which it had forfeited by its opposition to the general weal." In later years this complaint was precisely that of the Uitlanders at Johannesburg. To conciliate the Boers of Zoutpansberg the new-born assembly at Potchefstroom appointed Stephanus Schoeman, the commandantgeneral of the Zoutpansberg district, commandant-general of the whole country. This offer was, however, declined by Schoeman, and both Zoutpansberg and Lydenburg indignantly repudiated the new assembly and its constitution. The executive council, which had been appointed by the Potchefstroom assembly, with Pretorius as president, now took up a bolder attitude: they deposed Schoeman from all authority, declared Zoutpansberg in a state of blockade, and denounced the Boers of the two northern districts as rebels.
Historical states of present-day
Cape Colony (1652–1910)
Graaff Reinet (1795–1796)
Waterboer's Land (1813–1871)
Adam Kok's Land (1825–1861)
Republic of Utrecht (1854–1858)
Lydenburg Republic (1856–1860)
Nieuw Republiek (1884–1888)
Griqualand East (1861–1879)
Griqualand West (1870)
Klein Vrystaat (1886–1891)
Natalia Republic (1839–1843)
Orange Free State (1854–1902)
South African Republic (1857–1902)
Union of South Africa (1910–1961)
Republic of South Africa (1961–present)
Further to strengthen their position, Pretorius and his party unsuccessfully endeavoured to bring about a union with the Orange Free State. Peaceful overtures having failed, Pretorius and Paul Kruger placed themselves at the head of a commando which crossed the Vaal with the object of enforcing union, but the Free State compelled their withdrawal. Within the Transvaal the forces making for union gained strength notwithstanding these events, and by 1860 Zoutpansberg and Lydenburg had become incorporated with the republic. Pretoria, newly founded, and named in honour of the elder Pretorius, was made the seat of government and capital of the country. The ecclesiastical efforts at unity had not been equally successful. The Separatist Reformed Church of Holland had sent out a young expositor of its doctrines named Postma, who, in November 1858, became minister of Rustenburg. In the following year a general church assembly endeavoured to unite all the congregations in a common government, but Postma's consistory rejected these overtures, and from that date the Separatist (or Dopper) Church has had an independent existence. Paul Kruger, who lived near Rustenburg, became a strong adherent of the new church.
Pretorius, while still president of the Transvaal, had been elected, through the efforts of his partisans, president of the Orange Free State. He thereupon (in February 1860) obtained six months' leave of absence and repaired to Bloemfontein, in the hope of peacefully bringing about a union between the two republics. He had no sooner left the Transvaal than the -old Lydenburg party, headed by Cornelis Potgieter, landdrost of Lydenburg, protested that the union would be much more beneficial to the Free State than to the people of Lydenburg, and followed this up with the contention that it was illegal for any one to be president of the South African Republic and the Free State at the same time. At the end of the six months Pretorius, after a stormy meeting of the volksraad, apparently in disgust at the whole situation, resigned the presidency of the Transvaal. J. H. Grobelaar, who had been appointed president during the temporary absence of Pretorius, was requested to remain in office. The immediate followers of Pretorius now became extremely incensed at the action of the Lydenburg party, and a mass meeting was held at Potchefstroom (October 1860), where it was resolved that: (a) the volksraad no longer enjoyed its confidence; (b) that Pretorius should remain president of the South African Republic, and have a year's leave of absence to bring about union with the Free State; (c) that Schoeman should act as president during the absence of Pretorius; (d) that before the return of Pretorius to resume his duties a new volksraad should be elected.
In 1865 an empty exchequer called for drastic measures, and the volksraad determined to endeavour to meet their liabilities and provide for further contingencies by the issue of notes. Paper money was thus introduced, and in a very short time fell to a considerable discount. In this same year the farmers of the Zoutpansberg district were driven into laagers by a native rising which they were unable to suppress. Schoemansdal, a village at the foot of the Zoutpansberg, was the most important settlement of the district, and the most advanced outpost in European occupation at that time in South Africa. It was just within the tropics, and was situated in a well-watered and beautiful country. It was used as a base by hunters and traders with the interior, and in its vicinity there gathered a number of settlers of European origin, many of them outcasts from Europe or Cape Colony. They earned the reputation of being the most lawless white inhabitants in the whole of South Africa. When called upon to go to the aid of this settlement, which in 1865–1866 was sore pressed by one of the mountain Bantu tribes known as the Baramapulana, the burghers of the southern Transvaal objected that the white inhabitants of that region were too lawless and reckless a body to merit their assistance. In 1867 Schoemansdal and a considerable portion of the district were abandoned on the advice of Commandant-general Paul Kruger, and Schoemansdal finally was burnt to ashes by a party of natives. It was not until 1869 that peace was patched up, and the settlement arrived at left the mountain tribes in practical independence. Meanwhile the public credit and finances of the Transvaal went from bad to worse. The paper notes already issued had been constituted by law legal tender for all debts, but in 1868 their power of actual purchase was only 30% compared with that of gold, and by 1870 it had fallen as low as 25%. Civil servants, who were paid in this depreciated scrip, suffered considerable distress. The revenue for 1869 was stated as £31,511; the expenditure at 30,836.
The discovery of gold at Tati led President Pretorius in April 1868 to issue a proclamation extending his territories on the west and north so as to embrace the goldfield and portion of Bechuanaland. The same proclamation extended Transvaal territory on the east so as to include part of Delagoa Bay. The eastern extension claimed by Pretorius was the sequel to endeavours made shortly before, on the initiative of a Scotsman, to develop trade along the rivers leading to Delagoa Bay. It was also in accord with the desire of the Transvaal Boers to obtain a seaport, a desire which had led them as early as 1860 to treat with the Zulus for the possession of St Lucia Bay. That effort had, however, failed. And now the proclamation of Pretorius was followed by protests on the part of the British high commissioner, Sir Philip Wodehouse, as well as on the part of the consul-general for Portugal in South Africa. The boundary on the east was settled by a treaty with Portugal in 1869, the Boers abandoning their claim to Delagoa Bay; that on the west was dealt with in 1871.
State President Paul Kruger at his fourth inauguration, Pretoria, 1898In 1877, before the 1886 Witwatersrand Gold Rush, Britain annexed the Transvaal. The Boers viewed this as an act of aggression, and protested. In 16 December 1880 the independence of the republic was proclaimed again, leading to the First Boer War. The Pretoria Convention of 1881 gave the Boers self-rule in the Transvaal, under British oversight, and the republic was restored with full independence in 1884 with the London Convention, but not for long. The Gold rush also brought an influx of non-Boer European settlers (called uitlanders, outlanders, by the Boers), leading to a destabilization of the republic.
In 1895, Cape Premier Cecil Rhodes planned to support an uitlander coup d'etat against the Transvaal government. Leander Starr Jameson carried out this plan, without British authorization, in December of that year — in the ill-fated Jameson Raid. After the failed raid, there were rumors that Germany offered protection to the Boer republic, something which alarmed the British. In 1899 British forces were gathering on the borders of the Boer Republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State and fearing Britain's imminent annexation, the Boers launched a preemptive strike against the nearby British colonies in 1899, a strike which became the Second Boer War.
The Second Boer War was a watershed for the British Army in particular and for the British Empire as a whole. It was here that the British first used concentration camps in a war setting (the first general use being by the Spanish during the Cuban insurrections of the 1890s).
By May 1902, to prevent further bloodshed the last of the Boer troops surrendered mourning the deaths of 26,000 mainly women and children who died in British internment camps. The independent Boer republic in the Transvaal was no more - the region became part of the British Empire. In 1910 the Transvaal became a province of the newly created Union of South Africa, a British Dominion.
Kruger House, Pretoria
Kruger House is the historical Pretoria residence of the Boer leader and President of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger. It was built in 1884 by architect Tom Claridge and builder Charles Clark. Milk was used, instead of water, for mixing the cement from which the house was constructed, as the cement available was of poor quality.
The house was also one of the first in Pretoria to be lit by electricity. The house contains either the original furnishings or items from the same historical period, some of the many gifts that were presented to Kruger as well as other memorabilia. Another interesting feature of the house is two stone lions on the verandah that were presented to President Kruger as a birthday gift on 10 October 1896 by the mining magnate Barney Barnato.
The Kruger House is now a house museum that tries to recreate the ambience of the period that Kruger lived in.
--------------------President of the ZAR
Paul Kruger (Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger), a Boer leader, for whom are named Kruger House
Kruger National Park
Krugersdorp - town in the Transvaal
Volgens die doopregisters van Cradock is Paul Kruger op 10 Oct 1825 gebore. Paul Kruger was die laaste president van die Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek.
gebore 1.10.1825 volgens doopregisters van Cradock
PRESIDENT STEPHANUS JOHANNES PAULUS KRUGER (1883 — 1902)
Paul Kruger is op io Oktober 1825 op die plaas Bulhoek in die distrik van die huidige Steynsburg gebore. Saam met sy ouers, wat lede van die trekgeselskap van Andries Hendrik Potgieter was, het hy die Groot Trek na Natal meegemaak. Daar was hy as twaalfjarige knaap ooggetuie van die wrede moorde op die Trekkers. Soos ander kinders van sy tyd het hy feitlik geen skoolopleiding gehad nie en het hy in die harde leerskool van die lewe grootgeword. Vroeg in sy lewe moes hy al sy vader met die boerdery help. Sommer nog as jong seun was hy al 'n onvermoeide en onverskrokke jagter, met 'n groot liggaamsbou en baie sterk. Onder meer was hy ook 'n goeie hardloper.
Betree die openbare lewe
Paul Kruger het sedert jeugdige ouderdom aan die openbare lewe deelgeneem. Hy het hom in die Rustenburgse distrik gaan vestig en was pas vyf en twintig jaar oud toe hy as veldkornet gekies is. Dit was 'n verantwoordelike arrip in die normale administrasie van die staat, maar ook 'n belangrike militêre amp. As veldkornet het hy aan verskillende veldtogte teen vyandiggesinde en oproerige Bantoestamme deelgeneem. Sy mense het soveel vertroue in hom gehad dat hulle hom in 1854 al as kommandant vir Rustenburg gekies het. Hoewel hy nie aan groot oorloë of veldslae deelgeneem het nie, het hy getoon dat hy 'n besonder moedige en dapper krygsman was en, net soos op die slagveld, onverskrokke , ja, soms selfs onverskillig.
Neem leiding in landsake
Kruger was 'n gebore leier en het al as jong man in die aangeleenthede van die staat belanggestel en daaraan deelgeneem. Hy was o.a. in 1857 een van die opstellers van die grondwet van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. In dieselfde jaar was hy die man wat burgeroorlog tussen die twee Republieke voorkom het toe M. W. Pretorius die 0. V. S. op taktlose wyse opgeëis het. In 1858 het hy die opstandige Soutpansbergers oorreed om die nuwe grondwet te aanvaar en sodoende groter eenheid in die staat te bring. In diê jaar probeer hy die O. V. S. met hul probleme help deur persoonlik met Mosjwesjwe te onderhandel. En tydens die burgeroorlog in Transvaal wat op Pretorius se aanvaarding van die presidentskap van die O. V. S. gevolg het, was dit grootliks aan Kruger se optrede te danke dat diê stryd nie ernstiger afmetings aangeneem het nie. Dit is geen wonder nie dat hy in 1864 as kommandant-generaal en dus hoof van die Transvaalse militêre mag gekies is. Hy het dit tot 1873 gebly en in die volgende jaar lid van die Uitvoerende Raad van die Repabliek geword.
Lid van die Driemanskap
Tydens pres. Burgers se ampstermyn was Paul Kruger onteenseglik die leier van die konserwatiewe burgers en in 1877, op die vooraand van die Britse anneksasie van Transvaal, is hy as eerste vise-president gekies. Gedurende die anneksasietydperk (1877 881) het Kruger aan die spits gestaan van die stryd om die onafhanklikheid van die Republiek herstel te kry en het hy vir diê doel twee keer in Londen, hoewel tevergeefs, met die Britse regering gaan onderhandel. Op 11 Desember i 88o het die burgers by Paardekraal besluit om die regering van die Republiek te herstel en hulle het 'nDriemanskap vir die doel aangewys, bestaande uit Paul Kruger, kmdt.-genl. Piet Joubert en oud-president M. W. Pretorius. In die praktyk was Kruger egter vir alle doeleindes die eintlike staatshoof.
Staatspresident van die Z.A.R.
Na die Eerste Vryheidsoorlog het Brittanje die onafhanklikheid van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek erken en in 1882 is daar besluit dat daar weer 'n president gekies moet word. Op versoek van talle burgers het Paul Kruger ingewillig om hom vir die presidentsamp verkiesbaar te stel. Die verkiesing het die volgende jaar plaasgevind en op 9 Mei 1883 is Kruger as die derde staatspresident van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in Pretoria ingesweer. Daarmee het 'n ampstermyn begin wat sowat negentien jaar sou duur en met die ondergang van die Republiek in 1902 tot 'n einde sou kom.
Stryd om onafhanklikheid van sy land
Vir pres. Paul Kruger het daar sommer groot take gewag. Die belangrikste hiervan was ongetwyfeld die stryd wat hy mOes yoer vir die handhawing van die onafhanklikheid van sy land. Die bedreiging van die onafhanklikheid het eintlik met die ontdekking van die ryk goudvelde op die Witwatersrand in 1886 saamgeval. Die goudontdekking was in baie opsigte vir die staat en sy bewoners 'n baie groot seën, want Transvaal was nog altyd baie arm. Nou kon dit op baie gebiede ontwikkel. Maar die ontdekking van goud het ook duisencle vreemdelinge en fortuinsoekers uit ander w'erelddele na Johannesburg en omstreke laat stroom en vir hierdie mense is baie gou stemreg geëis. President Kruger was bevrees dat as aan die eis vol-
doen word, die onafhanklikheid van sy land en volk in gevaar sou kom, want hierdie vreemdelinge kon so baie word dat hulle die Transvaalse burgers sou kon oorstem en sodoende die regering van die land in die hande kry.
Kruger en die Uitlanders
Aan die ander kant het die President ook besef dat die Republiek nie die stemreg aan hierdie vreemdelinge kon weier nie, veral nie toe die verteenwoordigers van die Britse regering in Suid-Afrika hulle daarmee begin bemoei het nie. Dit was baie gou duidelik dat dit nie net die stemreg was wat op die spel was nie, maar dat die Britse regering veral planne in die mou gevoer het om Transvaal sy onafhanklikheid te ontneem. Dit is ondubbelsinnig bewys deur die Jameson-inval aan die einde van 1895 en die diplomatieke stryd waarin uitlanderaangeleenthede Transvaal veral na hierdie gebeurtenis met Brittanje gedompel het.
President Kruger en lord Milner:
Die begin van die einde
President Kruger en die Volksraad was bereid om toegewings oor stemreg te doen, maar dit was deurgaans duidelik dat die Britse regering met geen aanbod tevrede sou wees nie. Die onderhandelinge het 'n hoogtepunt op 31 Mei 1899 in Bloemfontein bereik op 'n konferensie tussen pres. Kruger en die Britse Hoë Kommissaris, lord Alfred Milner, wat deur bemiddeling van president Steyn van die O. V. S. gehou is. Kruger was weer eens bereid om toegewings te doen maar het dit ook van Milner verwag. Toe Milner botweg weier, was dit vir Kruger duide-
lik dat Milner net een ding wou hê, nl. Trans-
vaal. President Kruger sê self dat hy diê nag nie geslaap het nie maar die hele nag net gehuil en gebid het. Op die duur was daar geen ander weg oop as om op I I Oktober 1899 aan Brittanje oorlog te verklaar nie. Miskien kon die onafhanklikheid nog op diê manier gered word! Dit het egter nie gebeur nie want in die AngloBoereoorlog wat tot in 1902 geduur het, het Transvaal sy onafhanklikheid verloor. En saam met Transvaal, ook die Oranje-Vrystaat.
In 1900, toe die Oorlog aan die gang was, het
Die Paul Kruger-inskrywing in die doopregister
die Transvaalse regering besluit dat president Kruger na Europa moet gaan om daar steun vir die Boeresaak te verkry. Laasgenoemde het nie werklikheid geword nie. President Kruger het in die buiteland gebly en steeds gehoop, gebid en geglo dat sy volk se onafhanklikheid behoue sou bly. Selfs toe hy van die vredesonderhandelinge verneem, wou hy nog nie glo dat dit met die vryheid en onafhanklikheid gedaan is nie. Toe hy dit uiteindelik besef, was hy ontsettend bedroef maar was dit weer eens sy geloof wat hom dit as 'n beskikking van God laat sien het en hom daarin kon laat berus. Hy het egter nog gehoop dat alles in die toekoms weer herstel sou word. In sy laaste boodskap voor sy dood sê hy aan sy volk: "Dit is waar: baie van wat opgebou is, is tans vernietig, verniel, geval. Maar met eenheid van sin en eenheid van kragte kan weer opgerig word wat tans teneer lê." En: "Daarorn: Soek in die verlede al die goeie en skone wat daarin ontdek kan word, vorm daarna u ideaal en probeer om daardie ideaal vir die toekoms te verwesenlik."
President Kruger is op 14 Julie 1904 in Switserland oorlede. Sy sterfhuis in Clarens word vandag nog as monument bewaar. Hy is op 25 Julie voorlopig in Den Haag begrawe, maar sy lyk is teen die einde van die jaar na Suid-Afrika gebring en op 16 Desember 1904 plegtig in Pretoria ter aarde bestel. In hierdie stad staan vandag die indrukwekkende Krugermonument en ook die huis waarin hierdie groot staatsman gewoon het.
'n Godsdienstige Afrikaner
As mens van president Kruger praat , moet beslis sy besonder diep godsdienstigheid vermeld
word. Daaroor alleen kan 'n boek geskrywe word. Hier is dit genoeg om te sê dat die Woord van God vir hom die enigste grondslag was vir sy hele lewe en optrede. En hy het die Bybel geken soos min. Daaruit het hy al sy krag geput. Dit het hy telkemale self verklaar en met sy lewe en optrede bewys dat dit so is.
President Paul Kruger se geboortedag
Interessante besonderhede i . v . m . pres. Paul Kruger se geboortedatum as gevolg van 'n foutiewe inskrywing in die doopsertifikaat, verskyn van die hand van Jacques Malan (hoofvakkundige beampte van die Nasionale Kultuurhistoriese Museum), in Handhaaf, November 1978 (bl. 9). Interessantheidshalwe (en verbatum) verstrek ons daardie gegewens hier onder die opskrif: "President Kruger se verjaarsdag", asook 'n faksimilee van die doopsertifikaat.
Eenmaal per jaar is die sedige huishouding in die Krugers se huis in Kerkstraat-Wes, Pretoria, deur groot bedrywigheid in beroering gebring: dit was op io Oktober as die President verjaar. Dan was dit dwarsoor die ou ZuidAfrikaansche Republiek 'n openbare vakansiedag, en in die President se huis (wat sy private eiendom was) is baie koffie geskink, baie sigare gerook en het die President se tabaksak baie dun geraak.
Van die oggend vroeg af het besoekers opgedaag om die President te kom gelukwens, en dan moes die koffie natuurlik ook reg staan. Op die middaguur is 21 saluutskote deur die Staatsartillerie ter ere van die President afgevuur.
Die diplomatieke verteenwoordigers het gewoonlik in die voormiddag opgedaag, en by die voordeur het amptenare hulle ontmoet en na die President se ontvangkamer geneem. In die laaste jare het Tjaart Kruger, Manie Bredell en Danie Faure hierdie taak vervul.
Op 10 Oktober 1896, toe die President se gewildheid weens die verydeling van Jameson se strooptog besonder hoog was, is sowat een duisend koppies koffie geskink. (Mev. Frikkie Eloff en haar dogters het gewoonlik vir die onthaal gesorg.) Diê dag het die mynmagnaat Barney Barnato ook twee marmer leeus as geskenk aan die President oorhandig en het die President ook die hoeksteen van die Gereformeerde Kërk oorkant sy huis gelê.
Selfs op io Oktober 1899, toe die ultimatum reeds aan Engeland versend was en die skaduwee van oorlog oor die hoofstad gehang het, het mense van heinde en verre gekom om oom Paul geluk te wens.
Prof. C. J. Uyslhet Paul Kruger se geboortedatum en geboorteplek betwis. Wat die datum betref, beroep hy hom op die inskrywing in die Cradockse geboorteregister, wat egter klaarblyklik 'n skryffout van die predikant is (daar is ook nog 'n skryffout soos op die foto elders duidelik gesien kan word.) Na die mening van prof. dr. D. W. Kruger, het mnr. J. van Ginkel Bekker reeds in 1937 die hele saak oortuigend uitgepluis. Verder het die President self io Oktober as sy verjaardag beskou, en volgens familie-oorlewering is hy beslis op Bulhoek gebore.
1. Uys, C. J. , Paul Kruger, Van die Wieg tot die Graf. (Kaapstad, 1955) b1. 13.
2. Kruger, D. W., Paul Kruger 1. (Johannesburg, 1961) bl. 8.
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