The Jameson raid and the Old Fort

Tensions between the uitlanders and the Boer authorities escalate. The state machinery of the SAR is concerned to meet the needs of an essentially agricultural community and its tendency towards nepotism and the granting of monopolies means it is ill-equipped to meet those of a rapidly growing industrial one. The uitlander leaders draw up lists of grievances and put Kruger and his government under pressure. At the same time, Cecil John Rhodes has grandiose plans of spreading British control from the Cape in the south to Cairo in the north, while a spirit of chauvinism is developing among some parliamentarians in Great Britain.

Rhodes plans an uitlander uprising in Johannesburg, to coincide with an invasion of the SAR by Dr Leander Starr Jameson. The whole episode is a fiasco. It is now clear to Kruger that the independence of the republic is threatened and the volksraad begins to arm its citizens.

The authorities also begin the construction of the Old Fort around an existing prison for white men. When Johannesburg falls to the British in May 1900, it is the Boer leaders, however, who find themselves incarcerated in it, not the British, and several are executed.

At a later stage the Old Fort is expanded to include prisons for black men and women, and later still, it becomes a notorious place of detention for anti-apartheid activists. This precinct is now a museum and the home of the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land.

Dr leander starr jameson and cecil john rhodes

Dr Leander Starr Jameson and Cecil John Rhodes

1895 1896 jameson raid

1895 - 1896 - Jameson raid