Anglo-Boer Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Uitenhage, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

In recent news, April 2015, a statue seated above a drinking fountain commemorating the Boer War (1899 -1902) was set on fire by the Economic Freedom Fighters in protest against Colonial monuments. Fortunately little damage was done before the police intervened.

The drinking fountain was erected in front of the Town Hall as a memorial to 24 inhabitants of the town who lost their lives in the Anglo Boer War. Surmounted with a life size figure of a rifleman in khaki, the features of the soldier are reported to resemble an actual soldier in King William’s Town. The memorial was unveiled on 14 Feb 1904 by Mayor Cradock Parkin. Funds were raised locally with donations from the Loyal Women’s Guild and the municipality. The unveiling ceremony included a short burial service, and the placement of a wreath by Mrs. P. Thomson on behalf of the L.W.G.

The structure is seated on a square marble plinth upon which is engraved the names of the 24 fallen soldiers. Originally a pattern owned by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow, this fountain was cast by James Allan Senr & Son, Elmbank Foundry, Glasgow (the foundry stamp is visible on the fountain). The structure consists of a single column decorated with palmette and acanthus relief. Quatrefoil basins are supported by a square base. Panels above each basin are decorated with floral relief divided into sections by a compass cross. The centre circle contains a lion mascaron with self-closing tap from which water spouted. The capital supports a multi-level acroter surmounted by the statue of a rifleman in contrapposto pose with his left foot resting on a cannon bore, whilst supporting an upright rifle in his right hand.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter

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