Centurion-Verwoerdburg – Rooihuiskraal

Insiggewend dat daar so baie grondeise soos paddastoele herrys na 1994, terwyl daar net in die vorige eeu oorlog gevoer is in die gebiede, wat deur Britse soldate geannekseer is.  En wie is al hierdie “eisers” is hulle regtig Suid-Afrikaners soos hulle maak hulle is.  Hoe kan iemand op ‘n plaas of huis werksaam wees en nou skielik daardie huis en plaas inpalm want dis hulle sin.  As iemand 30 jaar vir ‘n Stadsraad gewerk het, mag hulle ook nou 6 kantore en raadsaal opeis as hulle sin?  Hier was selfs konsentrasiekampe waarheen vroue en kinders geforseer is nadat die Britte hul plaashuise en voedsel op lande afgebrand het.   En dan spog Brittanje daarmee hulle het dit nooit gedoen nie, maar dit was vir ons voorouers se “oorlewing” of wat ookal hulle dit mag noem.   Van mening dat iemand besig is om ons Boere republieke se geskiedenis te vernietig met hul kastige “vals” eise.

battle of rooihuiskraal

Rooihuiskraal Historical Site

The battle of Rooihuiskraal (Red House Kraal), which took place neat the Rooihuiskraal Historical site in 1881, is viewed as one of the most crucial battles of the First Anglo Boer War. In spite of this only one British soldier was killed and 15 wounded. One of the wounded was Lieutenant Colonel Gildea, or that “Damned Colonel” or “Blasted Colonel” as he was called by the Boers.

By the end of 1880 the Transvaal Boer Forces, has surrounded important towns, which had been occupied by the British, in order to prevent the soldiers in these towns joining General George Pomeroy Colley’s troops in Natal. The British Garrison in Pretoria were also surrounded in Pretoria and their efforts to escape were checked twice before they decided on a large exodus through Rooihuiskraal.

The Boers under the leadership of DJ Erasmus Jr, got wind of this and took up positions behind the stone wall of the farms massive kraal. When the British arrived in large numbers the Boers started to shoot, causing great consternation. Colonel Gildea who was the commanding officer of the Pretoria garrison stood upright in his stirrups to motivate his men and was hit in the buttocks. The Boer’s victory at Rooihuiskraal had a demoralizing effect on the British. They could not join the Natal troops of General George Pomeroy Colley in Natal and after these troops were conquered at Amajuba, the Transvaal regained its independence.

The old stone kraal (animal stockade) at Rooihuiskraal serves as a reminder of the historical victory and was declared a national monument.

Irene Concentration Camp Cemetery and Remeberance Garden

This heritage site is situated on 11 Stopford Rd, Irene. A peaceful place to go chill out and even have a picnic. If you wanna hang with some mates on the weekend when low on cash, pack some foodsies and drinksies and head on over there, well worth it.


Centurion (previously known as Verwoerdburg, after Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd in 1967, is an area with 279,430 inhabitants in Gauteng Province of South Africa, located between Pretoria and Midrand Johannesburg). Formerly an independent municipality, with its own town council, it is now part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. It is located at the intersection of the N1 and N14 highways. The R21 also passes through Centurion.   The Waterkloof Air Force Base, as well as the Swartkop Air Force Base (which includes the South African Air Force Museum) are located in Centurion.   Verwoerdburg became Centurion in 1995.

19th Century

From 1825 to 1826 the Matabele peoples defeated the Bakwena tribe and settled along the banks of the Magalies River under the leadership of Mzilikazi.

In 1841 the Erasmus family arrived and settled in the area that would much later (circa 1995) become Centurion. Daniel Jacobus Erasmus settled on the farm Zwartkop, Daniel Elardus Erasmus on the farm Doornkloof and Rasmus Elardus Erasmus developed the farm Brakfontein. Several of the suburbs like Erasmia, Elardus Park, Zwartkop and Doornkloof were named after these 19th century owners of the land and their properties.

In 1849 Rev Andrew Murray visited the farm Doornkloof and christened 129 babies, heard the confession of their faith of 29 new members of the Reformed Church and the next day, 29 December 1849, celebrated communion.

In 1889 Alois Hugo Nelmapius bought the northern and north-eastern portions of the farm Doornkloof and named it after his daughter Irene (who died 1961).

First Anglo-Boer War

As part of the First Boer War, the battle for Rooihuiskraal (Afrikaans for “Red House Kraal”) took place in 1881 here.

A Boer commando under the leadership of D.J. Erasmus Jr defeated Colonel Gildea, or “The Blasted Colonel” as they called him, the British Officer Commanding of the Pretoria Garrison. After the cornered British garrison tried to escape to Natal to join General George Pomeroy Colley, the Boers entrenched themselves behind a stone wall surrounding the animal stockade, and wounded the colonel in the backside, who was standing upright in his stirrups.

Second Anglo-Boer War

During the Second Boer War the Irene Concentration Camp was established in 1901 on the farm Doornkloof, as part of the British scorched earth policy, where Boer women and children were housed under extremely poor conditions. At its peak the camp had 5,500 inhabitants, mostly women and children. Between February 1901 and the end of the war in 1902, 1249 lost their lives here, about 1000 of them children. The Irene Camp Cemetery is well preserved and contains 576 of the original slate tombstones that was carved by hand in the camp.
Image result for Rooihuiskraal Historical Terrain photo

20th Century

The town of Irene was established in 1902 when 337 plots were laid out on the farm Doornkloof. Jan Smuts later owned this farm, and died there in 1950. The original Smuts House is a museum today, and regularly hosts open air fleamarkets on its grounds.

During the Anglo-South African War the Irene Concentration Camp was established in 1901 on the farm Doornkloof, north of the Hennops River. The Irene Primary School was also established in the camp. The town of Irene was established in 1902 when Van der Bijl laid out 337 erven on the farm. Dr E G Jansen, later Governor General of South Africa, bought the house in which he lived. The farm also has a close relationship with a former Prime Minister of South Africa, Gen. J C Smuts.
Centurion developed from the initial Lyttelton Township that was marked out on the farm Droogegrond in 1904. Lyttelton Manor Extension 1 was established in 1942. These two townships initially resorted under the Peri Urban Board in Pretoria. They acquired a Health Committee consisting of six members in 1950 and in 1955 a town committee was elected. City Council status was awarded to the town in 1962 and this council had control over an area of 777 ha.  After the inclusion of a number of townships and farming areas, the area over which the city council exerted legal control grew to 6 220 ha and in 1973 this area was enlarged to 20 000 ha.


Centurion developed from the initial Lyttelton Township that was marked out on the farm Droogegrond in 1904. Lyttelton Manor Extension 1 was established in 1942. These two townships initially resorted under the Peri Urban Board in Pretoria.

Centurion was granted City Council status in 1962 as Lyttelton. It was formed by combining the areas of Doornkloof, Irene and Lyttelton.

In 2000, the Centurion local government became part of the newly-created City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, which also includes Pretoria, and the town ceased to have its own Town Council.

Name Changes

Lyttelton was renamed Verwoerdburg in 1967, after Hendrik Verwoerd.. The surrounding areas, as they grew, came under the same name and Lyttelton became known as one of the suburbs of Verwoerdburg. Others included Clubview, Eldoraigne, Wierdapark, Zwartkop and their extensions.

The political neutral name Centurion has no significance, and was chosen by residents in 1995, soon after the end of apartheid, to match the name of the Centurion Park (now called SuperSport Park) cricket ground which is located in the area. Following the end of apartheid, the Indian township of Laudium and surrounding suburbs including Erasmia and Claudius, which were formerly a part of Pretoria, were made part of Centurion. A black township, called Olievenhoutbosch, was created in Centurion at around the same time



Rooihuiskraal Historical Terrain
The battle of Rooihuiskraal in 1881 is considered to be one of the most significant battles of the First War of Freedom. Only one British soldier died here and 15 were wounded during the battle. One of the wounded was Lt. Col. Gildea, or as die Boers called him, the “Blasted Colonel”.

The battle started after the Boer forces cornered he British Garrison in Pretoria. The British decided to escape via Rooihuiskraal to join forces with Gen George Colley in Natal. The Boers heard of this and entrenched themselves behind the stone wall surrounding the animal stockade. Col. Gildea encouraged his men by standing upright in his stirrups. A bullet from the Boers hit Gildea in the backside and thus dealt the British morale a serious blow.

The ruins of the stone wall around the stockade still exist as a reminder of this historic battle. Rooihuiskraal was declared a National Monument. This site was declared a national monument in 1981. The original farmstead dated back to the 1880s. It was the location of two battles during the Anglo-Boer war.



Irene village is named after Irene Nellmapius, whose father owned the Irene Estate.

Irene Primary School was officially opened on 17 May 1901 during the Anglo Boer War. Irene was at that time a concentration camp for Boer women and children. The camp commander saw the need for a school for the children in the camp and so he started Irene Camp School, with two hundred and sixty learners and six educators. The first principal was Mr Liebbrandt.

A Burghers’ Refugee camp (Concentration Camp) of about 3,700 people (April 1901) was sited at Irene on both sides of the river.

Irene Camp May 1902

Camp school teachers at the Irene Burghers’ Camp.

“Miss Scott, Miss Taylor, Marie and me” i.e. Ethel Martin

(Ethel Martin is in front, kneeling)

Irene August 1902


The claim affects developed and densely populated areas such as The Reeds, Rooihuiskraal, Olievenhoutbosch, Zwartkop and Heuweloord   
Landclaim : Centurion – Pretoria Oos


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