On March 8 2004 then president Thabo Mbeki delivered a speech at the opening of the Garden of Remembrance at Freedom Park in Pretoria, a site commemorating those who fought for “justice and liberties” in SA’s history. Mbeki quoted the British peace activist Emily Hobhouse. He cited the 1913 speech she wrote for the unveiling of the Vrouemonument (Women’s Monument) in Bloemfontein to the memory of Boer women and children who had died in the concentration camps of the 1899-1902 SA War.  He pointed to her lesson for history: “The justice and liberties that Emily Hobhouse said the Afrikaner people loved have now become the common heritage of all our people.”

War Without Glamour, a new exhibition opening at the Free State Arts Festival on July 1, gives prominence to the politics of Emily Hobhouse’s peace activism and confronts her legacy.  After her death in 1926 Hobbouse was interred at the Vrouemonument and celebrated as a heroine of the Afrikaner nation.  In the 1970s she was po...

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