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Insidente in Paul Kruger se lewe
1.  "Seek all that is to be found good and fair in the past, shape your

ideal accordingly and try to realize that ideal in the future"

Paul Kruger het kort voor sy dood op 14 Julie 1904 in Switserland 'n laaste
boodskap aan sy volk gerig.  Die boodskap is opgestel deur Dr. W.J. Leyds
maar in die woorde van Johannes Meintjies, soos dit voorkom in sy biografie
van Kruger: ". the old man read and approved the letter, signed for the last
time, and knew that he had released a political sentiment which would
endure."

Meintjies se vertaling van 'n deel van die boodskap lees as volg: "He who
wishes to create a future must not loose track of the past. Thus; Seek all
that is to be found good and fair in the past, shape your ideal accordingly
and try to realize that ideal in the future.[1]"  Die bekende uitdrukking:
"Neem uit die verlede wat goed is en bou die toekoms daarop" het waarskynlik
sy oorsprong by hierdie laaste boodskap van Paul Kruger.

2. "It was a kind of conversion from which he emerged as if he
     had walked through fire, purged and cast into shape."

Johannes Meintjes verwys in sy boek President Paul Kruger  'n voorval wat
skynbaar plaasgevind net na sy terugkoms van 'n veldtog teen ene Mahura in
ca 1858: "Kruger was relieved to be back at Waterkloof and to have some
rest. He was both physically and mentally exhausted, for he was going
through  a kind of spiritual crises, a geloofstryd as the Boers called it.
It was only at the age of thirty-two to thirty-three that Paul Kruger was
what he considered adult, and it came about with intense soul-searching in
establishing his relationship with his personal Saviour. In the mountains at
Waterkloof he did battle with God, like Jacob, and for three days went
without water or food, to the concern of his family and friends. It was a
kind of conversion from which he emerged as if he had walked through fire,
purged and cast into shape. From statements made at various times one can
guess at some of the things that bothered him: pride, arrogance,
aggressiveness, insubordination, intolerance, self-aggrandizement. From now
on he could know selfrespect only in prostration before God, action only by
the guidance of God. Never again was his faith to be shaken, a faith which
struck some of his comtemparies as being childlike in simplicity."[2]

3. "He used to sit in his very large, comfortable easy chair beside a biggish
table on which was placed nothing else but a big Bible."


Landdros G.G. Munnik wat heelwat tyd saam met Paul Kruger deurgebring het,
vertel die volgende: "President Kruger was a man of most regular habits, and
he never allowed anyone or anything to interfere with those habits. He used
to get up about five p'clock every morning, summer or winter, when he would
have family prayers interlarded with the singing of several psalms - he was
a Dopper by religion and that sect never sang hymns.  While the President's
religious devotions were proceeding, the two Staats Artillerymen, who did
sentry-go before his house day and night, would march up to the front door
and prevent anyone from entering the house.  About six o'clock the President
would go to his reception room - a large one - and the sentries would move
away from the front door, when visitors were allowed in to see the President
without any ceremony of introduction.  He used to sit in his very large,
comfortable easy chair beside a biggish table on which was placed nothing
else but a big Bible."[3]

4. Hy kon nie die gedagte "verdra dat daar enige swart mense sou wees wat
nie dieselfde Heiland ken en liefhet wat hy liefhet nie."

In Dr. M.W. Retief se Herlewings in ons Geskiedenis, Kaapstad, 1951. Dit is
'n aanhaling in 'n brief wat Andrew Murray in 1862 aan sy kinders geskryf
het terwyl hy op 'n sendingreis na die ZAR was. Hy verwys na 'n ontmoeting
met Paul Kruger - op daardie stadium nog so 37 jaar oud en uiteraard nog nie
President van die ZAR nie (hy is ook eers in 1863 tot Kommandant-Generaal
verkies - aldus die SA Biogarfiese Woordeboek): 'Ons het Rustenburg die
Woensdagmôre verlaat en die plaas van Mnr. Kruger Donderdagaand bereik. Hy
is 'n goeie en vrome man. Miskien het Moeder vir julle vertel dat sommige
van die witmense hier dit nie graag wil hê dat aan swartes iets omtrent
Jesus geleer sal word nie. Dit is omdat hulle Hom self nog nie liefhet nie.
Maar Mnr. Kruger sê dat toe God hom 'n nuwe hart gegee het, dit vir hom was
asof hy aan elkeen van die liefde van Jesus wou vertel, en asof hy gewens
het dat die voëls en die bome en alle dinge hom sou help om die Heiland te
loof: en daarom kon hy die gedagte nie verdra dat daar enige swart mense sou
wees wat nie dieselfde Heiland ken en liefhet wat hy liefhet nie. ' "[4]

5.  ". omdat ek 't nie oor my hart kon kry om die arme skepsels daar so
verskriklik te laat ly en deur 'n gestadigde dood laat omkom nie"

Gustav Preller vertel in sy boek Oorlogsoormag en ander Sketse en Verhale,
hoe Paul Kruger tydens die beleg van die Makapansgrotte in die 1850's sonder
toestemming van die bevelvoerder een nag - nadat baie van Makapan se
volgelinge al dood was van die honger en dors - in die grot ingegaan het om
die oorlewendes met 'n slenterslag te probeer oorreed om oor te gee. Omdat
dit so donker was en hy hulle taal so goed kon praat het hulle aanvanklik
nie agtergekom dat hy een van hulle vyande was nie. Hy het toe aan hulle
voorgestel dat hulle moet oorgee omdat die blankes nie meer die grot se
ingang bewaak nie. Hulle het egter op 'n stadium agtergekom dat hy een van
die vyand was en toe uit die grot gevlug. Paul Kruger het later jare oor die
insident gesê dat hy "nie in die spelonk gekruip't om 'n kordaatsruk uit te
haal nie, maar alleen omdat ek 't nie oor my hart kon kry om die arme
skepsels daar so verskriklik te laat ly en deur 'n gestadigde dood laat
omkom nie. - Maar ek het byna klop gekry van my kommandant-generaal, daar hy
gemeen 't dat ek my lewe nodeloos en te veel gewaag't."

6.   "Do you observe the custom of our forefathers by holding morning and evening services?"

Na die Jameson-inval is aan elke burger 'n geweer en 30 patrone uitgereik.
Van die boere het van die koeëls gebruik om te jag en moes vir die koeëls
betaal. 'n Sekere kommandant het sy ontevredenheid met die toedrag van sake
teenoor Paul Kruger gaan uitspreek: Hy was nie tevrede met die president se
antwoord nie en dreig toe om te bedank. Paul Kruger het dadelik sy bedanking
aanvaar waarna die Kommandant toe begin terugrabbel.  Landdros G.G. Munnik
wat teenwoordig was, vertel verder: "..the President would here nothing, and
admonished him severely, winding up by asking, 'Do you observe the custom of
our forefathers by holding morning and evening services?' 'Yes, certainly,
President,' replied the Commandant, now in a very piano tone. The President
pulled the big Bible towards him, and turning over some leaves, said, 'Well,
the next time you exhort the family and servants, take for your text this
verse which I will now read to you, and you will see how necessary it is for
you as a high official to study the wishes of those in authority over you.'
"[5]

7. ".he had singular power of persuasion and argument."

Alhoewel hy nie bang was om te veg indien die situasie dit vereis nie - daar
is dikwels na hom verwys as die "bravest of the brave" -, was Paul Kruger 'n
man vir vrede. Hy het talle kere daarin geslaag om strydende partye te
versoen. Johannes Meintjies maak o.a. die volgende opmerkings in die
verband: "Paul Kruger's service for land and people can be dated from 2 June
1857 with the signing of the treaty between the Transvaal and Orange Free
State.  His name had already become a familiar one in the interior, and the
stories about his skills, strength and fearlessness had begun. Nobody
questioned his abilities as a warrior, but now it was noted that he also
remained loyal even in opposition, that he had singular power of persuasion
and argument, and that he had the ability to lead men and command their
respect. In all kinds of tricky situations and emergencies, as in the case
of President Pretorius, reliance was put on Paul Kruger to find a solution.
Whether one liked him or not, there was comfort in having him nearby."[6]

8.  "I can't take away other people's property"

Paul Kruger en Rhodes het per geleentheid ontmoet. Johannes Meintjies sê die
volgende oor die ontmoeting: "Dr Schowalter gives an anecdote of Rhodes
calling on Kruger in Pretoria on his way from Cape Town to Beira. 'We must
work together,' Rhodes said. 'I know the Republic wants a seaport; you must
have Delagoa Bay.' Kruger was amazed. 'How can we work together there? The
harbour belongs to the Portuguese, and they wo'nt hand it over.' Rhodes
smiled. 'Then we must simply take it.' Kruger was horrified. 'I can't take
away other people's property. If the Portuguese won't sell the harbour, I
would'nt take it even if you gave it to me; for ill-gotten goods are
accursed.'[7]

9.  "May God have mercy on his soul"

Ook die volgende aanhaling kom uit Johannes Meintjies se biografie: "The
death of Queen Victoria early in 1901 affected Kruger less than that of
Rhodes in March 1902. 'May God have mercy on his soul,' Kruger murmured,
'for he clung so much to wordly things..."[8]

10. The good old Christian said, 'The Bible tells us that we must forgive
our enemies.'

Ag van Paul Kruger se kleinkinders is na hulle moeder se afsterwe in die
Krugersdorp Konsentrasiekamp na hulle ouma, Gesina Kruger,  in Pretoria
geneem. Binne nege dae na hulle aankoms sterf vyf van die kinders weens
masels en wanvoeding.  Binne twee weke sterf ook Gesina Kruger.  Johannes
Meintjies noem dat haar dood verhaas is weens die trauma wat sy beleef het
met die afsterwe van haar kleinkinders[9].

H. Reitz, seun van oud-president FW Reitz van die OVS, haal sy pa so aan in
sy boek The Conversion of a South African Nationalist: "As to Sir Alfred
Milner I still have and shall always have the greatest contempt  for the
part he played in South Africa. When, after signing the formal document in
which we relinquished our Independence, we left the hall of the house of Mr.
Hays where this deed was done and Lord Milner shook hands with all the
delegates, I evaded him.  As we went out through the front door Lord
Kitchener said to each of us 'Good friends, I hope?'  All who preceded me
answered 'Yes'. When it came to my turn I noticed Milner standing next to
him and replied to the British Commander-in-Chief's friendly question, 'Yes,
Sir, with you.'  About two months later I met President Kruger in
Scheveningen and told him all about it, adding that I blamed Chamberlain and
Milner for all our woes. The good old Christian said, 'The Bible tells us
that we must forgive our enemies.' To which I replied, 'Yes, President, but
it makes the condition that they must first repent."[10]

Slotopmerking

Nie dat ek met bostaande aanhalings die indruk probeer skep dat Kruger nie
ook swak punte gehad het nie. Ek sal graag nog baie meer oor hom wil lees voordat ek my
finale opinie oor hom vorm. Ek vermoed egter dat hy nie veel swak punte gehad het nie en is wat my
betref een van die mees merkwaardige mense waarvan ek weet.

Naskrif:

Ek lees voortdurend nuwe boeke oor Paul Kruger en het bv. onlangs in L.E.
van Niekerk: Kruger se Regterhand, Biografie van
Dr. W.J.Leyds, J.L. van Schaik, 1985 die volgende gelees: "Volgens Leyds het
niemand minder nie as die "Yster-kanselier"
 van Duitsland, die beroemde staatsman, Otto von Bismarck, aan Leyds vertel
dat hy na 'n persoonlike ontmoeting met die
Transvaalse President in 1884 "Kruger aanvoelde als iets geweldigs" (ek sal
nog graag meer oor Bismarck wil lees want as
ek luister na wat my een seun vertel oor hoe hy te werk gegaan het om
Duitsland te verenig - hulle doen die geskiedenis nou op skool -
is ek nie so seker of hy ook een van my "helde" sal wees nie!!)

Bibliografie

Meintjies, J.:               President Paul Kruger. Cassell & Company, 1974.

Munnik, G.G.:             Memoirs of Senator The Hon. G.G. Munnik, Maskew,
Miller, n.d.

Preller, G:                   Oorlogsoormag en ander Sketse en Verhale,
Nasionale Pers, 1931.

Reitz, H.:                     The Conversion of a South African
Nationalist, Unie-Volkspers, 1946.

Retief:, M.W.:             Herlewings in ons Geskiedenis, Kaapstad, 1951

Opgestel deur Daniel Jacobs - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

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