The Man With Two Lives

TranquilpenStarred Page By Tranquilpen, 25th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2x7irz5b/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Here is the strange story of Dawid van Schalkwyk, as told to me by his grandson Gideon van Schalkwyk who lived in Winburg in the Orange Free State, where his grand father was universally respected as an honest man.

Prologue

In the autumn of 1901, Dawid was a boer soldier, referred to as a "vryburgher" or free-national, attached to the boer General Benjamin Viljoen's division, under the command of General Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey who fought against the Imperial British forces from 22 October 1847 to 15 September 1914. "The Lion Of The West Transvaal", as he was affectionately called by his men, was regarded as being the strongest military leader of the second Anglo Boer war.

He is also regarded as the bravest of all the boer generals during the Second Boer War and as one of the leading figures of boer independence. As a guerrilla, his tactics proved extremely successful so much so, that the modern day military "commando" units of the world, apply the very same methods, having coined the name commando From the same ZAR boer commando's.

De la Rey and his supporters had opposed the war until the very last, but when he was once accused of cowardice during a Parliamentary session by President Paul Kruger, he replied that if the time for war came, he would be fighting long after Paul Kruger had given up and fled for safety. This had indeed proved to be the case...

Scorched Earth Tactics

South Africans are more or less familiar with the history of the De la Rey commando's victories particularly with the nocturnal attack on 29 December 1900 by General Ben Viljoen commanding an attachment of vryburghers in which he overwhelmed the British garrison at Helvetia. On 28 Janaury 1901 Lord Kitchener launched his first great drive, his target was the Transvaal highveld between the Delagoa Bay and Natal railway lines. Most of the commandos offered little or no resistance since they knew they were outnumbered. However they did manage to break through the British lines in smaller numbers.

Behind the lines they were relatively safe, though the destruction brought about by the "scorched earth" tactics of the advancing British soldiers brought great shortages of food. Among those who broke through the lines was General Louis Botha who attacked Major-General Smith Dorrien at Chrissiesmeer on 6 February 1901.

Loss Of Sleep Is Now An Added Torture

A brave but reckless Captain Dawid van Schalkwyk, was sent by General Botha to make his way with vital dispatches to the boer forces at Delagoa Bay, the country was swarming with British soldiers and traveling by night, he managed to conceal himself as best he could before daybreak. Several miles from Delagoa Bay,his horse had gone lame and he had to put it down and continued afoot, armed with a German Mauser rifle and carrying three days' rations in his haversack.

Towards daybreak one morning, he found a place of concealment choosing what seemed in the darkness, like a narrow, shallow canyon leading through a range of rocky hills. It contained several large boulders, detached from the slopes of the surrounding hills. Behind one of these, in a clump of elephant grass, he made his bed for the day, and soon fell asleep.

It seemed as if he had hardly closed his eyes, though in fact it was near midday, when he was awakened by the sharp report of a rifle, the bullet ricocheting off the boulder just above his head. A group of redcoats had trailed him and had him nearly surrounded;
the shot had been fired by a fellow who had caught sight of him from the ridge above. The smoke of the shooter's rifle betrayed him, and Dawid was no sooner on his feet when he stumbled, suddenly and fell to his knees then started rolling down the declivity.

Landing at the bottom, he jumped up and started running in a stooping posture, zig-zagging among the clumps of brush in a hail of bullets from invisible enemies. The rascals did not rise and pursue, which he thought rather odd, for they must have known by his trail that they were dealing with only one man. The reason for their inaction was soon made clear. He had not gone a hundred yards before abruptly reaching the limit of his run--the head of the gulch which he had mistaken for a "Longtom" canon. It terminated in a concave breast of rock, nearly vertical and without vegetation. In that cul-de-sac he was caught like fish in a barrel. Pursuit was needless; they had only to wait.

They waited for two days and nights, crouching behind a rock topped with a growth of elephant grass, and with the cliff at his back, suffering agonies of thirst and absolutely hopeless of deliverance, he fought the enemy at long range, firing occasionally at the smoke of their rifles, as they did at that of his. Of course, he did not dare to close his eyes at night, and lack of sleep was soon an added torture.

He remembered the morning of the third day, which he thought to be his last. He recalled, rather indistinctly, that in his desperation and delirium he had sprang out into the open and began firing his rifle wildly without seeing anybody to fire at. And that was all he remembered of the fight.

Naked, He Arrives At The Boer Camp

The next thing that he recollected was of him pulling himself out of a river just at nightfall. He had not a shred of clothing and knew absolutely nothing of his whereabouts, but all that night he traveled, cold and footsore, toward the east coast and the safety of the boer camp at Delagoa Bay. At daybreak he found himself at the gates of the camp at Delagoa Bay, his destination, but without his dispatches.

The first man that he met was a sergeant named Petrus Steyn, whom he knew very well. Steyn was totally shocked at seeing his friend in that condition as was Dawid, when asked who the devil he was. "Dawid van Schalkwyk". he answered;"who should I be?" he asked Steyn.''You sure look like him", Steyn replied, as he observed that Steyn was drawing a little away from him. "What's going on here?" he added.

Dawid told him what had happened to him the day before. Steyn listened intently to Dawid still staring in disbelief then said:"My dear fellow, if you are Dawid van Schalkwyk I ought to inform you that I buried you a week ago." I was out with a small scouting party and found your body, full of bullet-holes -- I'm sorry to say--right where you say you made your fight. Come to my tent and I'll show you your clothing and some letters that I took from your person; the commandant has your dispatches.'

After washing up, David put on some clothes given him by Petrus Steyn who showed Dawid van Schalkwyk the letters, which he resolutely put on top of the bullet riddled boer uniform, Putting the letters into his pocket, he recognized his own handwriting on the letters which he had hastily written to his family along the way, to mail from Delagoa Bay. Steyn made no objection, then took Dawid to the commandant, who heard his story and coldly ordered Steyn to lock van Schalkwyk up in the guardhouse.

Who Is The Real Dawid?

On the way Dawid asked; "Petrus Steyn", did you really and truly bury the dead body that you found in this uniform?" Sure,' he answered--"just as I told you. It was Captain Dawid van Schalkwyk, my close friend all right; most of us knew him well. And now, you damned impostor, you'd better tell me who the hell you are".

"A week later, Dawid escaped from the guardhouse and got out of town as fast as he could. At the end of the war, he had gone back thee times, searching for that fateful spot in the hills, but was never able find it again."

The Lion Of The West Transvaal

Watch the short inspirational De La Rey Video HERE

Post Script

SIENNER VAN RENSBURG:
Siener van Rensburg attracted large crowds with accounts of his visions in which he saw the whole world consumed by war and the end of the British Empire. On 2 August he told of a dream in which he saw General De la Rey returning home bare-headed in a carriage adorned with flowers, while a black cloud with the number 15 on it poured out blood. The excited Boers took this as a sign that De la Rey would be triumphant, but van Rensburg himself believed the dream warned of General de la Rey's own death.

On 15 September 1914 an old comrade General C.F. Beyers, Commandant-General
of the armed forces, resigned his commission and sent his car to fetch De la Rey from Johannesburg to Pretoria as he wished to consult with him. The two generals then set out that evening for Potchefstroom military camp where General JCG Kemp had also resigned. They encountered several police roadblocks but refused to stop; the roadblocks had in fact been set to capture the notorious Foster gang.

At the town of Langlaagte the police fired on the speeding car and a bullet struck De la Rey in the back, ending his life; his last words were; "Dit is raak". ('I'm hit'). He returned to his Lichtenburg farm just as van Rensburg had predicted. Many Boers were convinced he had been deliberately assassinated
Write on wikinut.com


Tags

Ghost Stories, Ghost Story, Ghostly Apparitions, Ghosts, Paranoral Acvtivity, Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Horror, Paranormal Phenomenon

Meet the author

author avatar Tranquilpen
As Andre' Hartslief, I strongly believe, that In life, there are no justified resentments.”We the old legends will become relics and fade away, while new giants emerge in our world of sobering truths.

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Comments

author avatar C.D. Moore
25th Apr 2013 (#)

An amazing tale!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Hello Cee Dee, I'm so glad you liked it my friend. I just noticed some typo's which I'm going to have to fix.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Glad you liked Cee Dee, thanks for reading.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Apr 2013 (#)

Wow! What an amazing article Andre'..A fascinating read my friend and a great Star page \0/x

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Hello Bev, Daleen sends her best, we're both well hope to hear the same from your side. Thanks for reading dear friend, I don't get much time for writing these days although it's a true passion of mine. XOXO

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Hello Bev, thank you for your words of encouragement dear friend.

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author avatar johnbee
26th Apr 2013 (#)

A Tale of two. Wow!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Hello John, Glad you liked it my friend.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Apr 2013 (#)

Amazing and profound dear TP, great post. The music and video pierced my heart. I pray that we have the wisdom to fight tooth and nail for peace to make wars history - siva

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author avatar Tranquilpen
27th Apr 2013 (#)

I could not have said it any clearer than your comment Siva. Thank you for reading.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Very interesting man and history...thanks Tranquilpen...

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author avatar Tranquilpen
29th Apr 2013 (#)

He was indeed Delicia, thank you for reading.

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author avatar Mariah
29th Apr 2013 (#)

Amazing Tale filled with intrigue
Thank you for sharing
Mariah

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author avatar Retired
4th May 2013 (#)

Awesome!

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author avatar Kingwell
7th May 2013 (#)

Amazing!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
8th May 2013 (#)

Thank you for reading it Kingwell.

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