BCCDBritish Concentration Camps
of the South African War


Kabusie was one of the camps established in the Cape Colony to take the overflow of people from the ORC camps. [For more details see East London.] Kabusie was located on the railway line, close to the Kabusie River, about 3 ½ miles from Stutterheim. Inspector Tonkin regarded the site as pleasant and healthy. Kabusie camp seems to have been started only in May 1902, with Captain W.J.W. Brackenbury as superintendent. The first arrivals came from Bethulie and were accommodated in iron huts rather than tents, although wattle and daub huts were also built. New arrivals continued to be transferred there after the end of the war, with 400 arriving there from Kroonstad early in June 1902. In total there were probably under 2,000 inmates at the peak.1

On the whole the camp appears to have been well run. It had been lavishly constructed in comparison with the ORC camps and there was little illness. Captain Brackenbury encountered some resistance when he attempted to pay the men 9d a day, less than the usual rate of 1s a day, but he was soon instructed to revert to the larger amount.2

By September the closure of the camp was underway, with the inmates returning to the ORC. By the end of October there were only 116 people left and the camp was finally closed on 2 December.3


SRC files in the Free State Archives Repository [FSAR].

1 FSAR, SRC 24/8682, 25/5/1902; SRC 24/8682, 25/5/1902; SRC 28/9759, 11/9/1902; SRC 23/8422, 2/6/1902; SRC 24/8684, 2/6/1902.

2 FSAR, SRC 27/9335.

3 FSAR, SRC 30/10100, 22/10/1902; SRC 33/10775, 23/2/1903.

Acknowledgments: The project was funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is not responsible for the contents of the database. The help of the following research assistants is gratefully acknowledged: Ryna Boshoff, Murray Gorman, Janie Grobler, Marelize Grobler, Luke Humby, Clare O’Reilly Jacomina Roose, Elsa Strydom, Mary van Blerk. Thanks also go to Peter Dennis for the design of the original database and to Dr Iain Smith, co-grantholder.