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Grave of Pres. M.T. Steyn

Grave of Pres. M.T. Steyn and his wife “Tibbie” Steyn

There are a collection of graves inside the walls of the monument, among them President M.T. Steyn, (1857 – 1916), the last elected president of the Republic of the Orange Free State and the first chairperson of the National Women’s Memorial commission. Pres. M.T. Steyn passed away while addressing a congress of the Association of Women in the Orange Free State (Oranje Vrouevereniging). Among those present was his wife, Rachel Isabella Steyn (1865 – 1955).

General Christiaan Rudolf de Wet (1854 – 1922) is buried at the foot of the monument. General de Wet’s was born on the farm Leeuwkop, in the Smithfield district of the Orange Free State. General de Wet served in the first Anglo-Boer War of 1880 – 81 as a Field Cornet, taking part in the Battle of Majuba Mountain in which the Boers achieved a victory of the British forces under Major General Sir George Pomeroy Colley. This eventually led to the end of the war and the reinstatement of the independence of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, more commonly known as the Transvaal Republic. De Wet took part in the early battles of the Boer War of 1899 in Natal as a commandant, later serving as a general under Piet Cronjé in the west. He came to be regarded as the most formidable leader of the Boers in their guerrilla warfare.

The British writer, friend of the Boer nation and benefactor Miss Emily Hobhouse (1860 – 1926) passed away in London on 8 June 1926. As she requested, her ashes were brought to South Africa and placed in the base of the obelisk on 26 October 1926. Emily Hobhouse was a heroine of the Anglo-Boer War, working tirelessly to improve the conditions faced by Boer women and children in the concentration camps. Of her humanitarian work, she wrote:




Grave of Ds. J.D. Kestell (1854 - 1941)

Grave of Ds. J.D. Kestell (1854 – 1941)

Ds. J.D. Kestell (1854 – 1941), also known as Father Kestell, was the former army chaplain and later minister and moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Free State as well as second chairperson of the National Women’s Memorial commission from 1916 to 1936. Ds. Kestell is buried at the monument opposite General de Wet and Pres. M.T. Steyn, who he joined as part of the Boer delegation to Europe to raise funds for women and children during the Anglo-Boer war.