Jacobus Albertus van Zyl was born in 1864 and studied at Stellenbosch as a Minister, became a teacher at Kuruman and later start farming in the District of Christiana.
He joined the commando of General Da la Rey and fought at Kimberley and Schweizer-Renecke were he kept a big women lager from falling in British hands.
In July 1900 he escaped with General De Wet at Slabbertsnek and on 7 March 1901 he charged Lord Methuen at Tweebos near Hartsriver. He was the one that wounded Methuen.
When General De la Rey re-organised the boer forces he was promotrd to General and placed in charge of the Griekwalander commandos
After the wat he visited Europa and write a book about his experiences