S.J.P. Kruger, four times president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), played a central role in the Afrikaners' struggle for independence both in the 19th and 20th centuries. His significance as a leader also becomes apparent when considering the plethora of literature written on him both during his lifetime and after. Not only is his own life story intertwined with the history and development of the ZAR and rise of Afrikanerdom, but as a leading figure he was also subject to much criticism. This was particularly evident in the years leading up to and during the South African War (1899-1902) when the ZAR forces clashed with Britain. Against this dualistic background a stereotypical and binary portrayal of Kruger emerged. Some of these have been perpetuated into the literature of the 21st century. However, despite the array of works published on Kruger, it remains remarkable why his involvement in the South African War has not received extensive scrutiny, principally his "behind-the-scenes" contribution. It is to this prominent event in the life of Kruger that this study turns with particular reference to the year 1900 which has been identified as a so-called "crisis period". Using the War telegrams dispatched by Kruger during the said period, this study endeavours to not only investigate Kruger's War-time contribution and motives, but also to reassess his character in the context hereof. Although much of the evidence suggests that the Kruger persona is somewhat entrenched, the War telegrams however point to additional representations of Kruger and call thus for further reappraisal.
Dissertation (MHCS)--University of Pretoria, 2016.