Tale of a revolutionary-spirited young Irish woman in the Anglo Boer War makes for riveting reading. (Review by Caroline Smart)
The Anglo Boer war has been a subject of intense interest and fascination throughout most of author Neville Herrington’s life. His maternal grandfather and great grandfather were both Boer fighters, the latter spent time as a prisoner-of-war at Diyatilawa camp in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), while his paternal grandfather and his brother rode with the Cape colonial mounted regiment, Nesbitt's Horse.
During the Anglo Boer war, his maternal grandmother, Gezina McKenny (nee Groenewald), was incarcerated in a British concentration camp at the age of 15 together with her mother and siblings.
A former senior lecturer at the University of Natal (now UKZN), Herrington has drawn on this background to produce several documentaries on the Anglo Boer war for broadcast television channels nationally and internationally as well as a number of books.
The Irish Boer Woman is the second volume of his Brigid O'Meara trilogy – the first being England Wants Your Gold - which follows the life of an adventurous young Irish music hall singer who is drawn into the intrigues and violence of the Jameson Raid of 1895.
In The Irish Boer Woman, Herrington moves on to the Anglo Boer War and the events that befall the revolutionary-spirited Brigid O’Meara who gets caught up in a clash of cultures and worldviews. She becomes engaged to a British Uitlander who is facing charges of high treason for smuggling weapons into the Transvaal Republic.
Herrington vividly describes the conditions in the camps and the hostilities on both warring sides as well as Kitchener’s Scorched Earth Policy which sees the devastation of the burning of farms of Boer supporters and destruction of their livestock.
The Irish Boer Woman would make for a very dramatic movie. As Herrington says, his grandmother “would have wanted the thousands of women and children who died in those camps to be remembered.”
Published by Tekweni Productions, The Irish Boer Woman is exceeding all expectations of sales in bookshops throughout the country, including Exclusive Books outlets at two international airports. ISBN/EAN13: 1533494622 / 9781533494627
Both England Wants Your Gold and The Irish Boer Woman are available in bookshops around the country including Adams, Musgrave and Exclusive Books. They are also available on Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle.
Herrington’s latest book Growing up in White South Africa is described as a romping journey through the adventures of post-war youth searching for self-identity in a rapidly changing world and can be read on Amazon Kindle. – Caroline Smart