Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 23,399 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Johanna Brandt - Poem by Gert Strydom

To me Johanna Brandt is a prime example
of such a person, who were clinging
to her integrity and bravely lived
to what she thought was right.

She was the daughter
of the well known reformed minister
Nicolaas Jacobus van Warmelo
who played a leading role
during the first Anglo-Boer war

that came to an end
with the Boer victory at Majuba hill.
Johanna had a beautiful
soprano voice and got music instruction

form a Mrs Uggla,
(a Swedish music teacher) ,
and used to sing the solo parts
at choir performances.

While living on a prime estate called
Harmonie in Pretoria, the family
were friends with President Paul Kruger,
general Piet Joubert and his wife
and dr. W.J. Leyds (the secretary of state) .

On Harmonie there was an abundance
of willow trees where it was situated
near to the Apies River
and Zuid-Afrikaansce republic
government buildings.

During the Jameson raid,
Johanna was visiting her uncle
in Florida (near to Johannesburg)
and at the time when this trouble

was at its worst
she by herself rode by horse
all the way back
to her home in Pretoria.

While studying music in Germany in 1897
Johanna fell in love
with the reformed minister Louis Ernest Brandt
whom she met in the Netherlands

who was a rowing champion of Holland
and a well build good looking man,
but Johanna returned to live in Pretoria
and was there
when the British invaded that city
living on the Harmonie estate.

Thousands of British soldiers
marched hungry and tired
into Pretoria, dressed in kaki
and were dirty from the travelling.

The British soldiers came to a halt
in front of the open square
near to the government buildings
and on command sat down on the ground

Some started eating the rations
that they were carrying along,
some immediately started sleeping
and one looked up into the face
of the young girl saying:

"Thank God, the war is over, "
but with a voice full of feeling
Johanna replied:
"Tommy Atkins, the war has only just begun! "

There were some soldiers camping
on the grounds at Harmonie,
Lord Kitchener had his headquarters
right next door

and till the end of the war
she never had a moment of peace
but this did not bother Johanna
as she and her mother

became spies for the Boer leaders
and by love letters to Louis Ernest Brandt
Johanna was sending coded messages
to President Paul Kruger in the Netherlands.

Johanna even smuggled explosives
and explosive fuses
into that part of Pretoria
which was occupied by the British
that was concealed
in a lady's hat box
and the British officer
did not even realise that the hat case
was quite heavy for such a slender girl.

A message to the paper "Review of Reviews, "
about the inhuman conditions
in the Irene concentration camp
where Johanna was working as a nurse
was smuggled in a cacao tin
all the way to Great Britain.

On her way to be married
in the Netherlands Johanna travelled by ship
and while the British people aboard
were celebrating and partying after their victory
and the peace of Vereeniging

Johanna kept to her cabin,
as she only felt the bitterness and pain
of a nation whose farms, towns
and women and children
were destroyed.

She could not shake off
the wasted children,
in the Irene concentration camp
the cruelty of the British doctors,
the cold bloodedness
of the British soldiers.

She got married to Louis Brandt in Arnhem,
convinced her new husband
to come to South Africa
where her country, and people

after war was living in poverty
and where he was a reformed minister
and eventually for about twenty years
the moderator of the reformed church.

Johanna was diagnosed
with stomach cancer
from the results of X-rays
and in 1917

the doctor wanted to do an operation,
but Johanna decided not to have the operation
and to stick to her principles
of a natural cure by eating grapes,
drinking only water and milk
and trusting in the power of God.

The doctor gave her only weeks to live
but she kept to what she did believe
and was totally cured living
another forty-seven years.

While her husband was moderator
of the Dutch reformed church
Johanna claimed to have been visited
by a angel from God
and by the Lord Jesus Christ himself,
she did believe to have had some visions
about the need of her Afrikaner people

to convert from their sinful ways,
that the second coming of Christ
was drawing closer
and that He had chosen

the Afrikaner people,
and was coming back
to establish his kingdom
right here in South Africa.

She prophesied about a coming
world wide time of great tribulation
and the Dutch reformed faith
ignored what she was saying,

publishers did not want to publish
her book called the millennium,
which she published at her own cost
and she was mocked

by the newspapers,
by the political parties
and her warnings
to the South African tribal people
which she translated
into their indigenous languishes
was totally ignored by them

and although she did not know
visionary Nicolaas Van Rensburg
while they were living
at the same time,
some of her predictions
run hand in hand to his.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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