Josef Johannes "Jopie" Fourie

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Josef Johannes "Jopie" Fourie
Jopie (Josef Johannes Fourie)
Born (1878-08-27)August 27, 1878
Wildebeesthoek, Pretoria District, South Africa [1]
Died (1914-12-24)December 24, 1914
Occupation Scout, Dispatch Rider

Josef Johannes "Jopie" Fourie (August 20, 1878 – December 24, 1914), usually known as Jopie Fourie, was a scout and dispatch rider during the Boer War.[2] He was executed by firing squad during the Rebellion of 1914 - 1915 against General Louis Botha, the then Prime Minister of South Africa.

Fourie served under Piet Roos during the Jameson Raid. During the Second Boer War he was a scout and dispatch rider. He was wounded and captured north of Pretoria during that war.[2]


By the beginning of 1914 the high economic expectations of the unification of South Africa had been dashed. Three to four years of drought has devastated farms in parts of the Orange Free State. The government suppression of the 1913 and 1914 strikes on the Witwatersrand alienated Afrikaner workers. This created a fertile ground for rebellion. The trigger for the rebellion was Britain's declaration of war in 1914, which also put South Africa in a state of war. As a result of this, Britain asked the South African cabinet to seize the German colony of South West Africa.[3]

The 1914 Revolt, occurred because the men who supported the re-creation of the old Boer republics rose up against the government of the Union of South Africa as they did not want to side with the British against Germany. Many Boers had German ancestry and many members of the government were themselves former Boer military leaders who had fought with the rebels against the British in the Second Boer War. The rebellion was put down by Louis Botha and Jan Smuts, the ringleaders received fines and terms of imprisonment.[3]


Grave of Jopie Fourie in the Church Street Cemetery, Pretoria

The only death sentence was Jopie Fourie, an Active Citizens Force (ACF) officer in the Union Defence Force, who without resigning his commission, led a band of rebels that inflicted 40% of the government's casualties.[4] His commando also fired on South African security forces during a brief truce.[5] Fourie and his brother Hannes were captured at Nooitgedacht in the district of Rustenburg on 16 December 1914.[1] An Afrikaner delegation that included future prime minister D.F. Malan unsuccessfully petitioned Minister of Defence, Gen. Smuts, to extend leniency. Fourie was executed without a blindfold on 20 December 1914.[6]


The execution of Fourie was a divisive event in white politics. To many Afrikaner nationalists, Fourie was a hero and Jan Smuts a traitor. His death caused an outrage in conservative circles, and was a potent factor in the rise of the National Party.[7] Fourie was one of the martyrs and legends produced by the Rebellion which would inspire the Afrikaner right wing afterwards.[8] The Jopie Fourie Primary School in Pretoria is named after him.[9]



  1. ^ a b Wallis, Nuusdagboek
  2. ^ a b de Wet, Jopie Fourie
  3. ^ a b Giliomee, The Afrikaners, 379.
  4. ^ Murray, The doctor and the rebels
  5. ^ Oakes, Illustrated History of South Africa', 302.
  6. ^ Giliomee, The Afrikaners, 383.
  7. ^ Potgieter et al, Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, 24.
  8. ^ Schonteich et al, Volk, Faith and Fateherland, 14.
  9. ^ Jopie Fourie Primary School


  • de Wet, J.M., "Jopie Fourie: 'n Lewenskets" (1940), Voortrekkerpers.
  • Giliomee, Herman, "The Afrikaners:Biography of a People" (2003), Tafelberg. ISBN 0 624 03884 X.
  • Murray, Robert (ed.), The doctor and the rebels - The diary of Dr Charles Molteno Murray in the Boer Rebellion of 1914, South African Military History 14(3) (2008), Accessed from
  • Oakes, Dougie et al. (eds), "Illustrated History of South Africa - The real story" (1992), The Reader's Digest Association South Africa Pty. Ltd
  • Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds), "Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa" (1970), Cape Town: NASOU, vv. 5
  • Schonteich, Martin, Boshoff, Henri, "Volk, faith and fatherland. The security threat posed by the White Right", Institute for Security Studies Monographs (81) (2003, ISSN 9781920422523
  • Wallis, F., "Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar" (2000)., Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

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