True love of the everlasting kind


During the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 my great-aunt Dana Kolbe was still an 18 year old girl. Leaving her family behind, she herself moved to the front at Colesberg where she could be near her betrothed. Willie Louw was a gentle-natured young man from a well-respected family. But he had been born under the British flag. And when the tides of war changed, he found himself captured and in prison as a colonial rebel. To everyone’s astonishment he received the death sentence.


On the 23rd of November 1901 he was marched past Aunt Dana’s house where their eyes met each other one last time. It was said that it had been a clear day, but the firing squad’s shot was never heard because at that very moment thunder cleaved the blue skies. Immediately clouds formed and it started to rain, as though the very heavens were weeping for this deed of shame.


Aunt Dana returned to Wakkerstroom where she lived to the grand old age of 83. She lived like a queen and made herself impressively wealthy over the years. She did marry, but she never had any children. In fact, it was rumoured that although she and her husband shared a room they never really shared a bed.


When Aunt Dana finally died at the age of 83 and her considerable estate had to be wrapped up, an old box was discovered on top of beautiful Victorian wardrobe in her bedroom. It was tied with a red ribbon. Inside the box were chocolates – long since decayed into little piles of dust. And on top there was a small hand-written card on which was inscribed: "To Dana. With all my love. Willie.”


It was then that everything finally made sense. She never forgot the only man she ever truly loved.