When the opening shots of the South African War reverberated across the world on 12 October 1899, the small, dusty border town of Mafeking, with the adjacent Baralong settlement, was garrisoned and plunged into the privations, dangers and destruction of a siege. Although not of major military importance, the seven-month-long siege became one of the most famous episodes of the war, and the fate of the town assumed a symbolic importance for Britain and the Empire. During the ensuing century, it has aroused extreme reactions, and the conduct of the British garrison and its colourful commanding officer, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, has been both glorified and vilified.

To mark the centenary of the South African War 1899-1902, The Brenthurst Press revisited this controversial episode with a comprehensive re-examination of the Siege of Mafeking, inspired initially by a major manuscript collection in The Brenthurst Library. The archive of Baden-Powell's second-in-command, Lieutenant-Colonel Courtenay Vyvyan, whose achievements have been largely overshadowed by his famous and flamboyant superior officer, is one of the most comprehensive single archives on the siege. It has been used with innumerable other sources by the nine authors, five in Britain, four in South Africa, all authorities in their fields, as the basis for an updated review of the collective and individual experiences of the siege and the interpretation of its various aspects. New research has resulted in a richly detailed work of scholarly importance, which is at the same time highly readable and entertaining.

Against a background of lively description, a varied range of questions is considered. How severe was the siege? What truth lies between the extremes of Baden-Powell as hero or villain? What was the Boer experience of the siege? How were the black people, both local and refugee, affected? Who were the women and how did they cope? What was the influence of the war correspondents? What became of the town after the siege? How important was the siege in the context of the war as a whole? How has the siege been perceived and written about over the past century? Myth is sifted from reality, resulting in the most inclusive account of the siege to date.

Abundant illustrations illuminate the text with a wealth of original pictorial material, including photographs, artworks, diaries, maps, postcards and other siege memorabilia. This two-volume work comprises the third and fourth parts of the Third Series of limited-edition Africana to be published by The Brenthurst Press, and is an interesting companion work to the first in the series, The Jameson Raid: a Centennial Retrospective.

Academic editor: Iain R. Smith University of Warwick



Introduction Iain R. Smith
Mafeking in 1899 Iain R. Smith
The Besiegers Fransjohan Pretorius
The Besieged Thomas Pakenham
Baden-Powell at Mafeking Tim Jeal


Women under Siege Elizabeth van Heyningen
Blacks in the Siege Brian Willan
Reporting the Siege Jacqueline Beaumont
The Relief of Mafeking Steve Lunderstedt
'Mafficking' Thomas Pakenham
The Aftermath Christopher Saunders
The Siege in History Christopher Saunders


Volume 1: 264 pages; 300 mm deep x 240 mm wide;
over 300 illustrations.
Volume 2: 304 pages with bibliography and index;
300 mm deep x 240 mm wide; over 250 illustrations.
Printed on 130 g/m² Lanagrain Blanc, 25% cotton, pH neutral paper, manufactured in France for The Brenthurst Press.

The edition is limited to one thousand and twenty copies, made up as follows:

Presentation edition 20 copies in full leather (not for sale)

De luxe edition 150 copies, numbered 1 to 150, bound by Peter Carstens of Johannesburg in half leather: navy Nigerian Sokoto tanned goatskin and hand-marbled paper, top edge gilded, hand-sewn head-and-tail bands, rounded spine with five raised bands and tooled in gold, in a lined slipcase covered in navy leather and hand-marbled paper.
ISBN 0-909079-58-7 ISBN-13 978-0-909079-58-1
R5 500.00

Standard edition 850 copies, not numbered, case-bound in beige Toile Elys�es bookcloth, top edge gilded, head-and-tail bands, ribbon bookmark, and five-colour laminated dustjacket folded in at head and tail.
ISBN 0-909079-57-9 ISBN-13 978-0-909079-57-4
R1 950.00

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