The South African War: Source 10

From Lord Kitchener to the Secretary of State for War.
(No. S 493.)
Pretoria, 12th July 1901.
Your No. 8362. Statistics in month of June –

Whites, total inmates.
Natal – men, 901; women, 1,902; children, 5,037. Deaths – men, 5; women, 15; children 84.
Cape Colony – men, 31; women, 85; children, 274. Deaths, nil.
Orange River Colony – men, 5,115; women, 9,646; children, 17,953. Deaths – men, 32; women, 75; children, 182.
Transvaal – men, 8,576; women, 16,078; children, 19,811. Deaths – men, 26; women, 48; children, 310.

Coloured, total inmates.
Natal – men 7; women, 2; children, 11. Deaths, nil.
Cape Colony – women, 4. Deaths, nil.
Orange River Colony – men, 2,076; women, 7,313; children, 11,201.
Transvaal – men, 244; women, 800; children, 1,835. Deaths, 5.

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Look at Source 10.

Telegram from Lord Kitchener to the Secretary of State for War, 12 July 1901, Catalogue ref: WO 32/8061

After some public pressure, the British Government felt the need to improve living conditions in the ‘concentration camps’ and take better care of the inmates. This included submitting monthly figures of the number of men, women, and children held, and the number of those who had died that month. The record was broken down per region and numbers of men, women, and children.

[Note: This source uses language which is of its time however is entirely unacceptable and inappropriate today].

  • What can this source tell us about the conditions faced by people held in the camps?
  • What can the figures for each camp tell us about those who were mainly held in these camps?
  • Look at the number of deaths. What does this infer about those who suffered most? Can you explain your reasons?