Afrikaners and members of other communities who supported the Boer republics were stigmatised as "Cape Rebels" by the British and others of the same persuasion. In later years this abusive term became a title of honour among the Boers for the more than 16 000 men who joined the Boer commando’s and by taking up arms, ran the risk of being killed in action, hung for high treason or shot, or losing their farms and all their possessions.


The Cape Colony was under the authority of Great Britain, at the time the mightiest nation on earth. Nevertheless many citizens, especially women, protested peacefully in public in various towns. They also provided the combatants and sufferers with moral support, accommodation, food, clothing, medicine and horses.