Day 29: The Scourge of the Kaiserbird

Captain von Erckert, leader of the Schutztruppe, was dead and Simon Koper, his enemy and leader of the Fransmanne, Der Fuchs aller Füchse, was still at large.

It was the year 1908 and during the following years relations between Germany and Great Britain would deteriorate. The German administration did not anticipate that Britain would allow them access to British territory. For this reason no endeavours were made to erect proper tombstones or take the remains back to Namibia. Ultimately memorial stones were erected at the Gochas cemetery and they are still there to this day.

Simon Koper settled at Kgatlwe (the same place as Lokwabe) in Bechuanaland. There he sired two sons, Little Simon and Hendrik. Simon’s wife was taken prisoner during the battle and sent to Windhoek. The name of the biological mother of the two little boys is not known.

Simon Koper’s escape was a huge embarrassment and consternation to the German colonial government. Reams of letters followed between the British High Commissioner and his German opposite number. Eventually Germany agreed to pay Simon Koper an annual pension but subject to two conditions: that he never, ever set foot in Namibia again and also that he would never know the source of the pension money. Britain had to state that it came from them.

1909 contract with Simon Kooper
A copy of the contract according to which Germany would pay Simon Koper and his retinue an annual pension.

 

Koper died on 31 January 1913, five years after the battle and was buried at Lokwabe. His descendants continued to receive the pension from Germany up to the independence of Botswana in 1966.

Wulf Haacke undertook five expeditions in an endeavour to locate the battlefield, and more lately a German group under Carsten Möhle also made attempts in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2018.

http://www.bwana.de/spezialreisen/expeditionen/erckert-expedition.html

Carsten and I have joined forces and we will depart on 11 October 2019 for hopefully the final expedition to locate the battlefield and the graves.

 

Koosbygraf
In August 2018 I attended the annual International Nama festival at Lokgwabe where Simon Koper was buried in 1913.

 

There is only one person alive today who saw the German graves at the battlefield with his own eyes and who might therefore have some idea of where they were located. This man is Elias le Riche. It was of the greatest importance that he shared this information with us. He did exactly that during our 2018 expedition.

 

This blog is about my book with the title The Scourge of the Kaiserbird and starts with Day 1, posted on 1 April 2018. That followed on “Dag 91: Die Keiservoël Oor Namaland“,  my 91 blog posts about the original Afrikaans version. In October I will be taking an expedition to locate the battlefield described in Chapter 37 of the book. My blogs are currently focusing on this great battle.

The Scourge of the Kaiserbird,” originally published in Afrikaans as “Die Keiservoël Oor Namaland,” is available from all leading bookstores in Namibia, through Namibian Book Market, and in South Africa from Upper Case, formerly Graffiti, in Menlyn Maine. Copies can also be ordered from kosiemarais@gmail.com  It is available on Kindle and worldwide in paperback from Amazon. Visit my Amazon author’s site by clicking on https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07HFTTQ2B where you can also place orders. 

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