Laetitia Smit

Laetitia Smit: I was born in Heidelberg Transvaal, South Africa, in 1949, I grew up in a happy, solid family environment, where I learned to love books, history and geography, to respect my fellow man, to value freedom and liberty, without discrimination of race, religion or colour. I love photography, travelling, most genre of music, but especially. Classical music, art, the beauty of nature and my family. I am a joyful, happy person, with a great sense of humour. As a teacher of English as a foreign language on a high level, I am diligent, hard-working, ambitious, and strict. I am just and fair, comprehensive, compassionate and friendly, always willing to give a helping hand, I am a proud descendant of the Huguenots, who stood firm in their quest for freedom, independence and freedom of thought and religion. I went to Hoër Gimnasium High School in Potchefstroom. My Alma Mater was Helderberg College, in Somerset West, near Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa. With its amazing campus, at the foot of the Helderberg Mountain, overlooking False Bay, with Table Mountain and the Hottentot Mountains in the distance, and the light of the lighthouse of the Cape of Good Hope, invading my bedroom on a clear night, moonless night, made a lasting impression on my mind. Many a dream, a desire and a longing for a better future invaded my soul during those formative years. It was also with proud nostalgia, that I remember that my parents met on the same campus, where I met my life companion, Carlos. The subject of the Anglo-Boer war, has always been a part of me. From an early age, I heard stories, while many puzzles and unanswered questions arose in my mind. From the age of 8, I used to read as much as possible on the subject. But there are still so much to discover, so many untold stories of bravery, suffering and hardship, of all those involved, who were directly or indirectly affected by this horrendous conflict. Warriors on both sides, showed their deepest compassionate human nature, their honourable ethics in the face of death and danger and their compassion shown for the suffering of their enemies, but there were also those, who revealed their dark, cruel, sadistic side. There were no winners in this historical conflict, except perhaps for the greedy profiteers and conspirators, who preferred to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of human beings, and animals, (never forgetting the brave horses), in their quest for bigger profits and financial gain. A shameful and sordid tale of unscrupulous behaviour. As inspiration for this book, is an original letter, which my great grandmother, Cornelia Smit, wrote to her husband, Hendrik Adolf Smit, POW No 30201, while a prisoner of war, exiled in India, with her youngest 14-year- old son, Barend, POW No 30203. When the letter arrived at the concentration prison camp, my great grandfather had unfortunately, just passed away. The British authorities dutifully returned the letter to the family.