Sarie Marais

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Sarie Marais (also known as My Sarie Marais) is a traditional Afrikaans folk song, created during either the First Anglo-Boer War (ca. 1880) or the Second Anglo-Boer War (ca. 1900). The tune was taken from a song called Ellie Rhee dating from the American Civil War, (itself probably a version of the traditional folk song The Foggy Dew,) and the words translated into Afrikaans. The title is pronounced "May SAH-ree mah-REH".

In English, the song begins "My Sarie Marais is so far from my heart, but I hope to see her again. She lived near the Mooi River before this war began..." and the chorus goes "O take me back to the old Transvaal, where my Sarie lives, Down among the maize fields near the green thorn tree, there lives my Sarie Marais". It continues about the fear of being removed far, "over the sea" (as the Boer men were, by the ruling British.

The melody was adopted in 1953 as the official march of the United Kingdom's Royal Marines Commandos and is played after the Regimental March on ceremonial occasions. The French Foreign Legion also sings the song, in its French translation.

The song has also been sung by Jim Reeves and Kenneth McKellar in Afrikaans.


The true origins of the song is unclear, one account of the story states that the American folk song Ellie Rhee was included in a book The Cavendish Song Album. When Ella de Wet, wife of General Louis Botha's military attaché Nicolaas Jacobus de Wet came to the battle...
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