The Prisoner of War Camp at Umbilo during the Anglo-Boer War

Johan Wassermann, Annette Wohlberg


This article is in part motivated by the lack of knowledge and understanding of the Umbilo POW Camp, deficiencies it will attempt to address by presenting a concise institutional biography of the establishment. It was also motivated by the fact that the institutional culture of the Umbilo Camp was atypical of all the other Boer POW camps, and dissimilar, too, from POW camps of more contemporary conflicts. Furthermore, the Umbilo Camp formed part of an extensive camp system created in and around Durban during the Anglo-Boer War. Approximately 25,000 Boer civilians were incarcerated in concentration camps at Merebank, Wentworth, Jacobs and Pinetown, while refugees, especially from the Transvaal, were housed in camps at Lord’s Ground and Victoria Park.10 While the concentration camps are underpinned by a rich and diverse historiography,11 this is not the case with POW camps, which are completely overshadowed by what has been written about the former.

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