In 1979, a memorial was erected to honour the 781 Boers who were killed in Natal during the South African War 1899 – 1902. The monument consists of seven stylised hands reaching up to the sky.
Each hand represents a battle of the Natal campaign in the Ladysmith area; Talana, Elandslaagte, Nicholsen’s Nek, Colenso, Spioenkop, Vaalkrans and Pieters/Wagon Hill.
On the ‘wrist’ of each hand is a plaque listing the names of those burghers who fell at each battle.
The hands form a circle around a giant grave where the remains of 310 Boers were re-interred. Several of the men’s headstones can be seen embedded in the wall around the monument.
The mountain ridge consisting of Platrand and Wagon Hill was occupied by the British forces during the siege of Ladysmith. Boer forces held positions to the east and the north of the town. Several skirmishes took place as the two armies tried to attack the other’s positions.
On 6 January 1900 the Boers mounted an attack on the British at Platrand and Wagon Hill. The first shots were fired at 2.30 am and the battle continued through a thunder storm the following afternoon and into the evening. The British managed to hold their positions but at a cost – 424 men killed to the Boers 50.
There are several monuments to the various regiments that took part in the battle along the ridge overlooking the town.