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South African Memories

Lady Sarah Wilson

Book Overview: 

Lady Sarah Isabella Augusta Wilson was the aunt of Winston Spencer Churchill. In 1899 she became the first woman war correspondent when she was recruited to cover the Siege of Mafeking for the Daily Mail during the Boer War. She moved to Mafeking with her husband at the start of the war, where he was aide-de-camp to Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell asked her to leave Mafeking for her own safety after the Boers threatened to storm the British garrison. This she duly did, and set off on a madcap adventure in the company of her maid, traveling through the South African countryside until she was finally captured by the enemy and returned to the town in exchange for a horse thief being held there. Dwindling food supplies became a constant theme in the stories she sent back to the Mail and the situation seemed hopeless when the garrison was hit by an outbreak of malarial typhoid. In this weakened state the Boers managed to penetrate the outskirts of the town but the British stood firm and repelled the assault. ( Summary by Wikipedia )

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Mr. Rhodes, how desirable it would be to induce our sons and young men in general to imitate some of the characteristics which were the motive power of his life, and therefore of his success. I noticed especially the wonderful power of concentration of thought he possessed, and which he applied to any subject, no matter how trivial. The variety and scope of his many projects did not lessen his interest in any one of them. At that time he was building four railways in Rhodesia, which country was also pinning its faith to him for its development, its prosperity, and, indeed, its modus vivendi. Apart from this, Cape politics, although he then held no official position, were occupying a great deal of his time and thoughts in view of future Federation. It was, therefore, marvellous to see him putting his whole mind to such matters as his prize poultry and beasts at the home farm, to the disposing of the same in what he termed "my country," or . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Lady Sarah Wilson (1865-1929) traveled from England to South Africa in 1899 and arrived just prior to the commencement of hostilities between Great Britain and the Afrikaners of Dutch and German decent. Sarah Wilson was the youngest of eleven children born to John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of M...more

Sarah Wilson is such a spunky lady! Mere days after the Jameson Raid: "it appeared that we had chosen a very unfavourable moment for our visit [to South Africa]. We were determined, however, not to return home without seeing the Transvaal, peaceful or the reverse. The question was, how to get the...more