21 June 2008

A loney Karoo monument

In the Karoo, along the road from Middelburg towards Richmond, you'll find a sign-post saying "Stoel Monument". The tall, black dolerite structure stands next to a peppercorn tree near the roadside. In front of the structure is a polished granite slab engraved with the picture of a riempie chair. The inscription says that Commandant Johannes Cornelius Jacobus (Hans) Lotter and his adjutant Lieutenant Petrus Jacobus Wolfaardt were executed by firing squad there in October 1901. In the town's small museum you can read the story of the two men and see photographs and a copy of the death warrant and letters admitting officials to attend the execution. The two Boer officers were captured at Bouwer's Hoek by Colonel Henry Scobell. The inhabitants of Middelburg were ordered by the Town Guard to assemble in the Church Square to hear the death sentence being read. The two were taken to the spot where the monument now stands, tied to chairs and shot.