Silas Juno's Statement

After the shooting of Rev. Heese, another missionary, Rev. O. Krause obtained a statement from a native who lived at his mission, Silas Juno (Some sources name him Silas Sono). Silas was the unnamed native witness in The Times report of the Heese trial. Rev. Krause sent Silas’ statement to Colonel Hall at Pietersburg.

Source: Closed File, Kit Denton, RigbyPublishers, Adelaide, 1983, pp110-112

I send Silas’s statement re Mr Heese death what you have been asking me for the other day. I tried to repeat it in the same sentences Silas gave it to me, You may consider it to be a true translation of what Silas spoke to me in his language. Should you wish to have any explanation about the one or the other event reported in it, I will give same.
Yours Faithfully,
O. Krause.
Pietersburg 9 September 1901.’

‘Silas reports:
I was in Spelonken and left there on the morning of the 23rd in order to return home. Soon after midday I was overtaken at Mailaskop by Mr Heese. He was sitting in his spider and reading a book. A while later it came to my mind that I could after all ask whether Mynheer would permit me to sit with him on his waggon in order to get home more quickly. The thought was followed by action and I ran after the waggon. Mr Heese was already well ahead.

While I was thus hurrying along, a rider came galloping behind me, going in the same direction. He wore khaki clothing such as the soldiers wore, a light-coloured hat with a cloth of motley colours (red, blue, white, and black), and had stripes like a corporal. He was a young, stocky man; his face was shaved except for the moustache that he wore. He wore two cartridge-belts crossways over his shoulders and his breast pockets were filled with cartridges. His horse was of a bay colour, had a long tail and was not particularly well-conditioned. I greeted him and he replied with closed lips, “Mmm”. From the back I recognised that the horse was shod.

A while later I came to a spot from which one has an unhindered view to the next rise. It was there that the rider had dismounted, leading the horse by the bridle, had turned off into the bush. At the same time I noticed a waggon come down from the rise lying ahead of me. A little lower down in the hollow stood Mr Heese’s spider, unharnessed. When the waggon reached the spider, the owner (Van Rooyen) alighted and had a conversation, not very long, with Mr Heese; then he took his leave and followed on foot after his waggon which had driven ahead. Van Rooyen was still walking on foot when I met him; he addressed me and asked me about “Where from?” and “Where to?” and whether the road towards Mailaskop was safe. I told him that I saw nothing and also that there was nothing to fear. Through this conversation I had lost a little time. Mr Heese had in the meantime harnessed up and drove on up the rise. I hurried after him and had come within a distance of 300 yards from the spider (the distances were measured off later) but could not see the vehicle on account of a bend in the road, when a shot was fired, immediately afterwards a second, a third, a fourth.

I asked myself what that might mean, but did not think anything bad. In the period from the first to the fourth shot I had only progressed 16 yards because I had slowed down my steps; however since I could hear nothing further I went on, always on the lookout whether I would discover something. Then I see to the right of the road a vehicle – the spider of Mr Heese – standing, the pole however not in the direction of Pietersburg, but turned around towards Spelonken, from where he had come. I did not see the mules in front of the spider; the grass indeed was rather long (3 to 5 feet high) nevertheless I would have had to see the animals. They were not there. Behind the spider stood a horse, bridled and saddled, with the reins lying on it; and the horse was the same one that I had seen shortly before, the bay horse of the rider who, galloping past me, had overtaken me this side of Mailaskop.

The spider stood only about 50 yards off the side of the road but I could see neither anyone in the spider nor anyone in the vicinity of it. But the inkling rose up in me that the shots, the empty waggon and the saddled horse had to have a sinister connection; and fear crept into my soul. While I moved hesitatingly forward with my eyes turned sideways and took little notice of the road I caught sight of the lifeless body of a Coloured. I was so scared that I cried out loudly: What is that? – here a person has been murdered – who has murdered him? And I recognise this dead person. I recognised his face and recognised his clothing; I had seen him at Elim and seen him near Mailaskop when the spider drove past – it was Mr Heese’s driver. A gunshot in the forehead had torn away the scalp and brains came forth. I laid my hand on the body and felt that it was quite warm. Such a terror came over me that I could think of nothing else than to run home and report.’