SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.60 número3Constitutional propriety in the 21st century índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


STRAUSS, PJ. General CF Beyers: His world view as reflected in his public statements. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2020, vol.60, n.3, pp.561-578. ISSN 2224-7912.

One of the generals of the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War (ABO) of 1899-1902, General CF Beyers, emerged from this war as a leading Afrikaner. He was elected as the chairman of the meeting of the Boer delegates - 60 representatives of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State - at Vereeniging from 15-31 May 1902. This meeting was held to discuss the conditions for peace with Britain. The delegates had a strong feeling of trust in General Beyers. Not only was he a die-hard fighter against the British and known for his courage and good judgement in difficult circumstances on the battlefield, but he would also not easily accept conditions put forward by the British. The Boers were in a difficult position in the Transvaal and the Free State in 1902. More or less 20 000 die-hard Boers still offered resistance in the form of guerilla warfare, with hit and run tactics, until the end of the ABO. This made it difficult for the majority of soldiers in the service of Britain to end the war. Beyers entered the talks at Vereeniging as someone still prepared to go on with the war. According to his world view as based on his understanding of Scripture, the Boers had a just cause and he therefore firmly believed that the blessings of the Lord would not stay out. Beyers was known for his perseverance under pressure. However, during the talks he came under the impression of Zechariah 4:6, in which it is proclaimed that man will not succeed by means of violence and earthly power, but through the spirit of God. Especially the phrase "... by my Spirit, says the Lord" contributed to Beyers ' acceptance of the conditions for peace as formulated by the British. It was as if Beyers had accepted God's guidance as something which determines man's ways without the latter having any say in it. As if Beyers saw the providence of God as a form of determinism or in a deterministic way. As a Christian who held the view that life was something to be devoted to honouring God's wishes in everything, a reformed Calvinistic approach, Beyers became the speaker of the legislative assembly of the Transvaal, or former South African Republic, in 1907. He advocated school education which would allow parents an important role in the affairs of a school. At the same time Beyers believed that schools should also be run according to scriptural principles. He was convinced that every aspect of life should be guided by the principles and message of the Bible. His world view was that of a Christian who sought God's will in everything. In 1912 Beyers became the commanding officer (commandant-general) of the South African Defence Force. This made things difficult for him when the First World War broke out on 4 August 1914. According to him he became a coerced rather than a willing British subject after the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902 when he gave his word as a Christian at Vereeniging that he would honour the King and the British flag. But to fight an offensive war in 1914 against Germany in German West Africa was, he believed, an act without any provocation on the part of the Germans, and one that was contrary to the Bible and the biblically-based traditions of the Afrikaner. Like the former South African Republic (Transvaal), which became a British colony from 1902 until 1910, South Africa became a union or a self-governing dominion under the British throne in the British Commonwealth in 1910. In 1914 it appeared that South Africa's predominantly Afrikaner government was willing to assist Britain by undertaking an offensive war against Germany in German West Africa. It reacted positively when requested by Britain to invade German West Africa (today Namibia) because of strategic aims. According to Beyers such a decision left him no choice other than to resign as the commanding officer of the South African forces. While ostensibly and publicly favouring a peaceful resistance against the government publicly, he at the same time attended protest meetings in the Free State and Transvaal, gun in hand. The Rebellion of 1914-1915 started with shots fired on 27 October 1914 at Rooiwal near Pretoria. Beyers stuck to his viewpoint of a non-violent protest, but was persecuted by the government and had to flee. On 8 December 1914 in order to remain free, he was forced to swim across the Vaal River in close proximity to a town later to become known as Makwassie. He drowned in the river which was in flood. The question remains as to why Beyers would appear to have acted in a non-violent, sometimes uncertain way in the Rebellion? The possibility that such indecisive behaviour might as well have been informed by his acceptance of the determining providence of God has to be entertained.

Palavras-chave : Christian world view covers life; biblical direction in everything; Rebellion of 1914-1915 a protest and not a well-planned action; God's providence taken as deterministic; tragic end of an Afrikaner.

        · resumo em Africaner     · texto em Africaner     · Africaner ( pdf )


Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons