FAR FAR AWAY considers two PLACES my grandfather, Willem Hendrik Boshoff (1880 - 1928), knew a little more than a hundred years ago when he was about twenty-one years old.
In the Anglo Boer War (1899 - 1902) he is taken prisoner and is deported to India. The series of maps takes us, in the first map, to where he looks at his home in Colesberg, the place where he grew up and had his family and friends. In the second map his spirit moves up, into the sky, and he sees the towns in his district. In successive maps he begins to see Bethulie, Springfontein, Norvalspoint and Bloemfontein, places where thousands of women and children, in fact, all the ones he knew, are suffering and dying under terrible conditions. Written around the exhibited maps are only the names of the 1,142 children who died in the Bethulie camp situated nearby Colesberg. In fact, fourteen Boshoff boys died there, two of them named Willem Boshoff, one at ten years of age and one at six months. Black children also died in the camps and because we do not know their names I wrote down their words for 'baby' and 'child'. As my grandfather moves away from the earth, he sees more and more of his country where many more 'death camps' hold women and children, where all 30,000 farmsteads are burnt to the ground and all animals are slaughtered. In the last map he is in outer space, far above a small ball which is the earth. He then comes down again, map, for map, until he finds himself in a new place called Bellary, his prisoner-of-war camp in India.