A pall of fear hung over the prosperous copper-mining fields of Namaqualand in early 1902. A Boer army under General Jan Smuts relentlessly advanced into Namaqualand from the south. Scattered and stretched over the vast expanse of South Africa, the British Army had no hope of stopping them.
The British feared reprisals from the Boers for the plundering and destruction of Boer farms in the republican territories of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The majority ‘coloured’ population were terrified by the way the Boers had massacred coloureds at the Leliefontein mission station, ruthlessly shooting anyone whom they suspected of working for the British.
The coloured population of the mining village of Concordia was in danger, because the menfolk, who in everyday life were mine labourers, had willingly joined a ‘dad’s army’ type of Town Guard raised by the British under martial law. Under orders to march the 15 kilometres to the stronghold of O’okiep when the Boers approached, these men mutinied and stayed in the town to protect their families.