Margaret Bourke-White and the dedication of the Voortrekker monument 1949

Margaret Bourke-White travelled to South Africa and took photographs from 1949 to 1950.

Margaret Bourke-White - three Afrikaans men

Margaret Bourke-White - three Afrikaans men

Google has just done a deal with Time to allow access to Life archive. I am hoping that some archivist will go through and update the tags. It is obvious this is part of Margaret Bourke-White’s photo essay on the dedication of the Voortrekker monument on 16 December 1949. There are no names of the men in the photo.

Margaret Bourke-White - Afrikaans men with Paul Kruger look-a-like

Margaret Bourke-White - Afrikaans men with Paul Kruger look-a-like

It is frustrating not knowing the background story. Who was the Paul Kruger look-a-like and was he related to Oom Paul. Who was the old man who insisted on being photographed with powder horn and bullet pouch. The older men in the photograph would have lived through the Boer war and the hard times that followed.

Margaret Bourke-White - Mother and children Voortrekker monument

Margaret Bourke-White - Mother and children Voortrekker monument

WHen I started to peruse the images I realised that I was coming to appreciate the “eye” that Margaret Bourke-White had.

Margaret Bourke-White - Boere vroue en man. Farmers wives and man.

Margaret Bourke-White - Boere vroue en man. Farmers wives and man.

Classic Life photo that “tells a story.”

Margaret Bourke-White - Cooking boerewors over a fire.

Margaret Bourke-White - Cooking boerewors over a fire.

I have cooked boerwors this way.

Margaret Bourke-White - Behind the scenes staff (this is South Africa)

Margaret Bourke-White - Behind the scenes staff (this is South Africa)

Margaret missed nothing

Margaret Bourke-White - Riders for Boer republics

Margaret Bourke-White - Riders for Boer republics

This is not the Australian Light Horse but the inspiration for the uniforms of the Light Horse.

These photographs are really a testament to the skill of Margaret. They do convey some of the context in which the dedication of the Voortrekker monument was imbedded. The Afrikaans people had lost the republics to the British Empire, lost women and children in the concentration camps of the Boer war, the poverty of the aftermath of the Boer war, the First World War, the depression and finally were starting their rise as a result of the recovery and boom of the Second World War even though there had been a division in the community over whether to fight for the Germans or the British in that war. The Afrikaans had taken political power in 1948 so this was their moment to shine.

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