Let my sparrow drawing bring you a tender story.
Written in the annals of our nation’s very diverse history is a story of a sparrow.
The background is the Anglo Boer war of 1901.
With the discovery of gold and diamonds, the British Empire came to occupy the land.
The British desperately tried to bring the pioneer Boers to submission. The Boers, fiercely resisted, fighting their enemy with guerrilla warfare, that cost the British much. Eventually a ‘scorched earth policy’ was implemented, where their farmsteads were burnt down, their fields salted so that they could not grow crops to survive. Their women and children were taken to concentration camps. But there was, overcrowding, bad hygiene, severe malnutrition, and endemic contagious diseases. Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps of the Anglo Boer war. The women in particular knew immeasurable grief as they helplessly watched their children suffer, and give them over to death.
One such woman was Anette Marais, and the story goes …
“Anette Marais sat on a log and shook the dust off her tatty clothes. Around her sit a group of women with familiar but weary faces. Just a few feet away is the high wire fence of the concentration camp.
She opens her Bible and begins to read. She had wrestled with God in the dark hours of the night, and begged Him for a message of hope for these women, for who knows how much longer……!
Anette reads the words of Matthew 10:29 .
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.
While she is busy reading these words, a small insignificant sparrow comes and sits upon her shoulder.
The group of women stare in surprise at the incident unfolding before their eyes.
And so the sparrow becomes a sign of hope in the impossible situation of the concentration camp at Bethulie.
It is fantastic to see how in the following months the sparrow of Bethulie became a beacon of faith and hope for these women. On May 1902 the Anglo Boer war ended.
Anette, on returning to her home, met a women of influence, and told her the sparrow story. She, in turn, retold the story.
In 1923 General Jan Smuts had two sparrows minted on the smallest coin of the then South African currency.”
So remember the story of the sparrow on days you may feel small, insignificant, forlorn or forgotten. May faith and hope be a beacon in our lives too.
PS In South Africa, the sparrow is known as a Mossie. I translated the story from Afrikaans. The author is unknown. More Afrikaans sparrow stories can be found in my Menu bar, just click on Random Writings and scroll down to Mossie Dag.
Reference on the background of the Anglo Boer War is from Wikipedia, should you want to know more.