22 June 2008


Routes and Roots will no longer be updated. I have created another blog, Bygones and Byways, which includes the same type of content.

21 June 2008

Cape Town's old defender revived

A gun battery that defended Cape Town's western flank from enemy ships 270 years ago has been restored and opened to the public. The Chavonnes Battery, the oldest coastal gun battery built in the Cape since the Castle, was re-opened earlier this year. The battery safeguarded Cape Town's western flank from 1726 to 1861, until Queen Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, tipped the first load of rocks into the sea for a new breakwater. Large parts of the battery were demolished and the rubble and rock were used for the new construction. What remained was further destroyed when coal bunkers and later a fish factory were built over it. Cape Town's Table Bay anchorage was well-protected by the Castle built by the Dutch East India Company in 1666; but the station set up in 1652 for the benefit of ships travelling to and from the Far East was vulnerable to attack on its western side by its arch-rivals, the English and French East India Companies. In 1710 a rocky outcrop on the beach below Lion's Head was chosen to build a new battery. Work was only completed in 1726 due to a shortage of lime and masons. The Chavonnes Battery was named after its originator, Governor Maurits Pasque de Chavonnes. Ships could not pass after nightfall. If they tried, three warning shots were fired and the culprits were forced to retreat and drop anchor for the night. This continued until the British decided in 1856 to build the new harbour and breakwater near the battery. Archaeological excavations began at the Concentra fish factory in 1999. 18th and 19th century paintings indicated this was where the battery must have been. The BoE financial services group was planning a new office block on the site and adapted the plans to accommodate the ruins in the basement of the new building. Excavations revealed old stone walls and paving under the concrete floor, the remains of the 3.3m high sea wall and the supporting stone buttresses on the inside. A well was also found. 18th century Dutch artefacts and a four pounder Dutch cannon were also found. Now visitors can walk on suspended walkways among the old stone ruins where, centuries ago, the sea lashed against the walls and cannons stood. The Chavonnes Battery is at the Clock Tower Precinct, V&A Waterfront.

Graves should be cared for

The graves of about 25 000 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Anglo-Boer War were supposed to be renovated and maintained in terms of a memorandum of understanding signed in Pretoria in June 2005. The deal provided £800 000 over the four years, paid by the British government and private sponsors, for the renovation of Commonwealth graves at over 200 cemeteries countrywide. A further £150 000 would be made available annually thereafter for maintenance. Graves in another 130 inaccessible cemeteries would be commemorated through joint memorials. The memorandum was signed at the Heroes' Acre Cemetery in Pretoria by Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan and British High Commissioner Paul Boateng. Representatives from Australia, Canada and New Zealand were also present. Repair and maintenance of the graves had been the responsibility of the SA Heritage Resource Agency.

Count Natale Labia legacy fading without care

Count Natale Labia wants the government to give back the house his father built. The 20-room Italianate mansion overlooks the sea in Muizenberg. Count Natale Labia senior was Italy's consul in South Africa. He built The Fort, as it was named, in the style of 18th century Venice, the city of his ancestors. The furniture and fittings were all Venetian. After his death in 1936, the house was leased first to the Canadians and the Argentinians for use as an embassy. In 1985 Count Natale Labia (Luccio), the son, donated The Fort and all its contents, including many valuable paintings, to the government, on condition it was run as a museum for the benefit of the community. F.W. de Klerk, then Minister of Education, officially opened it. It became a venue for exhibitions, lectures, musical recitals and art classes, and had its own restaurant. In 2005 the Department of Arts and Culture closed it and stopped financial support. Since then the government has hired it out for film and photographic shoots. The Fort is not well-cared for. A caretaker is employed by Count Labia to live on the property he no longer owns, to try and give some kind of protection. The laminated windows have become opaque because of water seepage. Inside walls are peeling and mouldy, vases are cracked, the crystal chandeliers are grime encrusted, hinges are broken, brass fittings are missing, carpets are stained, there are cigarette burns in antique chairs, and a R450 000 painting by James Stark has disappeared. Count Natale Labia believes the government has breached the conditions of the donation and he is trying to recover the house and its contents.

A loney Karoo monument

In the Karoo, along the road from Middelburg towards Richmond, you'll find a sign-post saying "Stoel Monument". The tall, black dolerite structure stands next to a peppercorn tree near the roadside. In front of the structure is a polished granite slab engraved with the picture of a riempie chair. The inscription says that Commandant Johannes Cornelius Jacobus (Hans) Lotter and his adjutant Lieutenant Petrus Jacobus Wolfaardt were executed by firing squad there in October 1901. In the town's small museum you can read the story of the two men and see photographs and a copy of the death warrant and letters admitting officials to attend the execution. The two Boer officers were captured at Bouwer's Hoek by Colonel Henry Scobell. The inhabitants of Middelburg were ordered by the Town Guard to assemble in the Church Square to hear the death sentence being read. The two were taken to the spot where the monument now stands, tied to chairs and shot.

Paarl windmill to be remembered

Paarl's most famous windmill is going to be remembered in a new security estate near Paarl named Waterpoel de Windmeul, developed by Chianti Civil Construction. The development is situated next to Rheebokskloof wine estate in Windmeul, Agter-Paarl. The most famous of the 27 windmills that once stood in the Paarl countryside was the one that stood in Windmeul. Farmers would come from all over the Agter-Paarl and Perdeberg districts to mill their grain there, and to buy whatever they needed from the adjoining shops. The production of flour stopped during the Anglo-Boer War and recession, and the windmill was taken down in 1927. Windmeul Wynkelders, established in 1944, was named after it. The old windmill will be rebuilt during the second phase.

Historic Carnarvon Farm for sale

Historic Eastern Cape family farms are being sold off, some for hefty price tags. The 3650 ha Carnarvon Farm, 50km from Queenstown, is on the market with a price tage of R35 million. The National Heritage site is one of the most highly conserved, historically significant game and cattle farms in South Africa. Archaeologists recently discovered a 120 000-year-old stone-age workshop site and San paintings. It also includes one of the oldest landing strips in South Africa, two hunting lodges, a lucrative water source which supplies Sterkstroom and a 1880 farmhouse. The owners are reluctant to sell. Robin Halse (75) is not in good health, and his wife Bertha (64) has taken over the management of the farm with the help of his daughter and son-in-law, who also live on the property. The Halse family has owned Carnarvon since 1854. Robin's father and grandfather watched from the porch as the Anglo-Boer War Battle of the Stormberg on the farm's border in 1902. Now none of the couple's daughters is keen to take it over.

Tourist attraction planned around June 16

The six routes followed by school students during the 1976 Soweto Riots from their schools to Kumalo South Street in Orlando West, will be marked as a tourist attraction. The June 16 Foundation announced that the 29 km route would be marked with red-painted bricks. Seth Mazibuko (48), director of the foundation, was deputy-chairman of the student organisation back then. Titi Mthenjane (53), also one of the 1976 organisers, said the foundation had adopted eight local schools, including Morris Isaacson High School, as part of the tourist plan. The schools will be renovated and financial assistance given to train teachers.

Stone Age in Pretoria

Waterkloof House Preparatory School in Muckleneuk, Pretoria, is building a new swimming pool. Recent digging work has unveiled ancient objects. Pretoria is rich in early and mid Stone Age objects. In the 1950s, the late Tony Brink, an archaeologist, discovered Stone Age objects at the school. Dr. Francis Thackeray, a WHPS Old Boy, is the current director of the Transvaal Museum. He is an expert on the Stone Age in the Pretoria area. He was eight years old when, together with a WHPS teacher, Tony Brink, he found his first objects. The school will display the latest objects in a collection to be named in honour of Tony Brink.

14 June 2008

St. Mark's Anglican Church in District Six needs funds

Restoration work at St. Mark's Anglican Church in District Six, Cape Town, should be completed by September, if the church can raise enough funds. Mrs. Juliet Gosling-Brown, a Londoner, is a voluntary fund-raiser for the church. She came to Cape Town two years ago to work on the project. Earlier this year she married Douglas Brown, a former parishioner at St. Mark's. The church was built in 1887 using sandstone from Table Mountain. It is one of the oldest remaining buildings in the old District Six section, yet the government offered the church money if it agreed to being demolished. The church refused. Two years ago, the restoration work was estimated to be R1,8-million. The parishioners raised R470 000 and an anonymous benefactor donated R1-million. Today the church still needs to raise about R350 000. There are almost 300 parishioners, many of whom used to live in District Six. The caretaker, Claude Arries, has been a parishioner for more than 50 years. He was baptised and married at St. Mark's.

Anglo-Boer War fort disappearing

The Daspoortrand Fort in Pretoria is disappearing piece by piece, as thieves steal the iron that was used in the construction of the fort more than 100 years ago. The political party, VF+, has asked the Tshwane Metro Council and SAHRA to take action to prevent further damage. The fort is one of four that was built to protect Pretoria during the Anglo-Boer War. Two of the forts, Skanskop and Klapperkop, are well-looked after. Wonderboompoort Fort is not in a good condition.

Floors High School turns 50

Floors High School in Kimberley celebrated its 50th anniversary recently. Past pupils include many doctors (Dr Krishan Moodaley, Dr Diane Towell, Dr Wendy Crawford, Dr Emile De Koker and Dr Mandy-Lue Jones). There are also a number of attorneys in its past pupils (Allan Hannie, Claude Towell, Ricky Ishmail and Inez Moodaley); engineers (Angus Towell, George Wareley and Henrico White); award-winning author Eustance Sookdien; and Theodore van Wyk, CEO of Coke.

De Aar Rotarians

The Rotary Club in De Aar celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Rotary was originally founded in 1905 in Chicago by a lawyer. The De Aar branch was founded on 14 May 1958.

Upington rugby centenary

Upington Town Rugby Club celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The club was founded in 1908. In the early days, a week-long rugby knock-out tournament was held in Kenhardt and contested by Upington, Keimoes, Kakamas and Kenhardt. The Kenhardt Merchants Cup was sponsored by local businesses. From 1955 to 1970 the club faced several financial crises, but thanks to the efforts of Jack Horn, a member of the club and a bank manager, the club survived.

06 June 2008

Pretoria East Cemetery vandalised

The Pretoria East cemetery has been vandalised again. Copper lettering and photo frames were ripped and stolen. As it is the municipality's duty to look after cemeteries, some of the deceased's families are planning to sue the municipality.

Money for libraries and museums

Community libraries country-wide have been allocated R338 million for the current financial year in an effort to promote a culture of reading. Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan announced that the National Library will receive R65.3 million while national museums will receive R409.9 million.

The minister also allocated R1 million towards the building of a library in Timbuktu, Mali, a donation which follows the signing of a Bi-National Agreement between South Africa and Mali. He said this stipulates commitment to fund-raising and providing assistance toward the construction of a new library and archive for the Ahmed Baba Institute. Other aims are to assist in marketing the heritage value of the Timbuktu Manuscripts. The Timbuktu Manuscripts are the first New Partnership for Africa's Development [NEPAD] Cultural Project which requires the support of government departments. Timbuktu is the historic city in Mali where ancient manuscripts dating back to the early 13th century were found. After visiting Mali in 2001, President Thabo Mbeki pledged to assist with the restoration and conservation of the ancient manuscripts in Timbuktu, which were in poor conditions. An inter-governmental agreement between South Africa and Mali was signed in 2002 and the project to restore the Timbuktu manuscripts was officially launched in 2003. The project has since been declared an official South African Presidential Project and has also been endorsed by the NEPAD as its first cultural project.

Family reunions

Gloria Emslie is organising a reunion of the descendants of Robert Emslie. This will take place in September 2010, in Grahamstown. For more info contact Millicent: hughe@isat.co.za

Marielle Ford is organising a reunion of the descendants of Isaac Wiggill, 1820 Settler. This will take place in Grahamstown on 20 September 2008. For more info contact Marielle: marielle@intekom.co.za

For The Sake Of Silence

For The Sake Of Silence, by Michael Cawood Green, published by Umuzi.
Michael Cawood Green was born and raised in Pinetown. He heads the School of Literary Studies, Media and Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This book traces the founding of the Trappist monastery at Mariannhill, near Pinetown, as well as the religious career of Franz Pfanner, its founder and abbot. The Trappists, mostly from German-speaking areas of Europe, landed at Port Elizabeth on 28 July 1880. In 1881, after disagreements with the Catholic bishop, they moved to Durban. Mariannhill become one of the largest Trappist monasteries in the world.

Graveyard discovery halts fire station

The construction of a new fire station at Sir Lowry's Pass in Somerset West has been delayed by the discovery of a pauper's graveyard on the proposed site. An archaeological assessment must now be completed before construction can begin. Farm 820 was apparently used as a graveyard in 1952-1954.

17 May 2008

Anglo-Boer War cannon in Ottawa

The Battle of Witkloof (aka the Battle of Leliefontein), south-east of Belfast, took place on 07 November 1900, during the Anglo-Boer War. In 1951 it was still remembered with an annual service and parade - in Ottawa, Canada - on 07 November. A memorial service was also held at Witkloof each year until 07 November 1964.

On the morning of 24 January 1900, Cmdt. Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo, led the small Carolina Commando to the top of Spioenkop. During the defence along the Tugela River, this small mounted united was of vital importance. Prinsloo and his 11 year old son supplied fresh horses for the unit. In November 1900 the unit focused on the important Delagoa Bay railway line. Gen.-Maj. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was tasked with stopping them. He referred to them as "brave risk takers who tested us like Cossacks". On 06 November the General and his 1400 men and six cannons were on their way to Carolina. Gen. J.C. Fourie and Cmdt. Prinsloo were top riders, but that morning both their horses were difficult to handle. The two forces clashed at Witkloof. In the final advance, Fourie and Prinsloo decided to take the cannons. Three Canadians risked their lives to save the cannons. Fourie and Prinsloo were killed, and Gen. Grobler was wounded. Of the 95 Colonial troops lost, 31 were Canadian. The day after the battle, Ou Mei, Prinsloo's faithful musket bearer (agterryer), took a letter from Smith-Dorrien dated 07 November (written before the battle), and Prinsloo's bush hat back to Mrs. Prinsloo. The battle took place within sight of Prinsloo's farmhouse, where his wife and children were. The Canadians won three Victoria Crosses and one D.S.O. in this battle. After the war, Smith-Dorrien collected money in London and built a memorial for the two Boer officers.

Cmdt. Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo was a descendant of a Slagtersnek Rebel. He was born in 1861 near Kroonstad and given his father's names. As a child, he moved to the Lydenburg area with his parents. He started his military career in 1880-1881 when he took part in the first Anglo-Boer War. Two years later, he risked his life during the Mapog War, when he rescued a wounded comrade. In 1896 he was made a Firld Cornet in the Carolina Commando.

Nature reserve in Johannesburg

The Melville Koppies, in Johannesburg, are popular with walkers and hikers. The nature reserve, split in two by Beyers Naudé Avenue, compromises 50 ha and has a number of routes. For those who are interested in the area's history, there are guided tours led by knowledgeable guides. The Melville Koppies has the remains of an19th century kraal, as well as an iron smelter. Parking is available at the Mark’s Park Sports Grounds, and the reserve is patrolled by security guards. Join a Cross Koppies guided walked on Saturday 24 May, starting at 08:00 at the entrance opposite Mark’s Park in Judith Road, Emmarentia. For more info contact Wendy at 011 482 4797.

St Cyprian’s Cathedral centenary

St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley concluded its centenary celebrations this month. The Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, the Rt Rev. Oswald Swartz, unveiled a centenary plaque to mark the occasion. The cathedral’s centenary was launched last year when Bishop Crowther visited forty years after his deportation from Kimberley in 1967. Bishop Tom Stanage unveiled a plaque marking the century since the laying of the foundation stone. A new Garden of Remembrance was dedicated by the Dean of Kimberley, the Very Rev. Fr Brian Beck. Two longer-term centenary projects are under way. One is the installation of a ring of bells in the tower to be dedicated to the memory of victims of HIV/Aids. The other looks back to the historical role of St Cyprian’s in establishing some of Kimberley’s earliest schools in the late 19th century.

Mpumalanga needs help

The Mpumalanga Provincial Government is taking steps to record, preserve and present the province’s rich history. Premier Thabang Makwetla’s office is looking for private companies to implement and co-ordinate the province’s flagship programme - the Heritage, Greening Mpumalanga and Tourism Programme. The Heritage, Greening and Tourism Programme required expertise in various fields such as heritage preservation and management, environmental conservation, waste and pollution management and tourism development. Successful service providers would be appointed for three years. The heritage component involves identifying, recording, preserving and representing the province’s heritage sites and other resources. Last year, the provincial government published a book called Mpumalanga History and Heritage to raise awareness about Mpumalanga’s rich history and heritage.

Jail time for cutting old trees

Three family members from Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal have been sentenced by the circuit High Court for stealing a yellowwood forest. Another three members of the Malenge Tribal Authority were also sentenced for their involvement in the crime, which conservationists estimate caused damage worth R8-million to the State forest. The trees were between 300 and 400 years old. Victor Terblanche, his sons Pierre and Morne, and three members of the Malenge Tribal Authority ­ Nkosi Wilson Ntlabathi, Eric Sithole and S.P. Satywa ­ were convicted of cutting down 89 yellowwood trees in the Umzimkhulu area. They were arrested in 2001. The Terblanche family members and the Tribal Authority members each received an eight-year prison sentence, of which three years were suspended for five years, while the Terblanches received an additional three years in prison. The Tribal Authority members also received two-year suspended prison sentences. The men were charged with various crimes relating to the illegal cutting, possession, sale and transportation of forest products from the Gonqogonqo State Forest. Rod Potter, a KwaZulu-Natal wildlife investigator, conducted the investigation, the first court case of this magnitude heard by a high court in South Africa. The State indicated it would appeal against some of the sentences, which it felt were too lenient.

Bush theatre

Danie Niehaus has opened a bush theatre in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains. He lived in Bloubergstrand for 30 years, but moved to Hoekwil where together with Elmi and Willem Smith, previous owners of Big Blue Cafe in Melkbosstrand, they've set up home. They created a natural amphitheatre behind their old farmhouse. There is a terrace with wooden tables where guests can have picnics while listening to concerts, à la Kirstenbosch. There is space available for 1000 people.

Vredefort Dome under threat

The Vredefort Dome World Heritage site is under threat. It is believed that southern Africa is the cradle of mankind, and that this site is probably where life started. A meteorite slammed into the ground near what is now Vredefort in the Free State, leaving a crater 90 kilometres wide and 20 kilometres deep. Two thousand million years later, the Vredefort Dome Conservancy is relatively unknown as a tourist spot. It is the oldest of the three largest sites where a meteorite struck the earth. The other two sites are in Mexico and Canada. Vredefort is the best preserved site and draws scientists from all over the world. The Dome Conservancy houses a finely balanced ecosystem with diversity in habitats such as open plains, bushveld and riverine bush. At least 99 plant species have been identified, including the world’s largest olive wood tree forest. It is also an important birding area with over 450 bird species identified. Recently a new archaeological find was made when the remains of a young woman were uncovered at the Askoppies ­ refuse dumps created by Iron Age settlements. Kraal foundations have been uncovered, as well as the remains of huts. Archaeological excavations are still underway.

Landowners in the area have joined the Dome Conservation Trust, started six years ago to save the Vredefort Dome area from mining activities, and getting it declaring a World Heritage Site. Now this unique site is again under threat. Illegal development was taking place. Raw sewerage was being pumped into the Vaal River, threatening the ecosystem. Three golfing estates were being built in the heart of the dome. An Australian mining company, Orbitx, wants to prospect for gold and coal in the area.

Fitzsimons Snake Park to be demolished

The Fitzsimons Snake Park, a landmark in Durban since 1938 and the second oldest reptile park in southern Africa, is a major tourist attraction, yet it faces closure any day now. That means moving the more than 250 snakes and 3000 other animals in a few days. eThekwini city manager Mike Sutcliffe gave the park notice that they had to move as demolishing the snake park was part of the city's Golden Mile regeneration programme. As soon as the building is vacated, the city plans to demolish the structure and extend the promenade. Although the park focuses on South African snakes, snakes from other parts of the world, as well as crocodiles, spiders, lizards, tortoises, turtles, and scorpions where on view. Fitzsimons Snake Park staff planned a demonstration to save the 70-year-old institution. The current owner is Belinda Quirk.

27 April 2008

South African painting fetch high prices

Irma Stern's paintiog, Pondo woman, which she painted in 1929, and Maggie Laubser's Woman in a blue kopdoek, were recently sold at an art auction in Johannesburg for more than R5 milllion. Stern's painting went for R2,82 million, while Laubser's went for R2,42 million - way more than the expected R1,5 million and R1 million respectively. The Stern painting came from the private collection of a collector in Israel. Stern was born in South Africa in 1894. After the Anglo-Boer War, she left for Germany with her parents. In the 1920s she returned to South Africa but her work was criticised negatively. It was only in the 1940s that South Africans started appreciating her work. She died in Cape Town in 1966.

From harbour master's house to luxury hotel

The Dock House Hotel opened its doors recently. The luxurious hotel is in a renovated historic building which was built in 1863 and once was the home of the harbour engineer. It was also one of the last remaining heritage sites at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. All the rooms feature relics from the past, with some being adapted to function in the modern designs. The building has Victorian architectural details, thick walls, and the landmark Timeball Tower, which at one time guided vessels at sea. The property is perched on a cliff above the waterfront. The hotel belongs to the Ambassador Group, headed by the Markovitz and Swersky families. Neil Markovitz, son of the late Leon Markovitz, a former Cape Town mayor and property developer, runs the company. Abe Swersky is a divorce lawyer and racehorse owner.

Audio-visual guide for tourists

South Africa's first multi-lingual audio-visual guide for cellphones is ready for tourists. Mobiguide is a virtual travel guide and provides tourists with information about popular attractions. It is downloaded to a cellphone or personal media player. Mobiguide was created by Canadian Dan Seidman and South African Amanda Forsythe, who spent three years developing it. It was launched in Cape Town last month. Mobiguide delivers information in English, French, German and Mandarin. It will soon include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Xhosa and Zulu.

Baakens River Valley under threat

Another of South Africa's green lungs, the Baakens River Valley in Port Elizabeth, is under threat as developers exploit a legal loophole to build high-rise buildings on the edge of the once pristine valley. Ecologists claim developers are killing off local fauna and flora, while environmentalists claim developers are illegally connecting storm-water drains to an already-overloaded sewerage system. Despite a municipal ban on buildings higher than 8,2 metres on the Walmer side of the valley, there is no current height restriction for buildings on the Central side. In March 1997, the municipality adopted the Walmer Policy Plan to ensure the protection of the Baakens River Valley by restricting the heights of buildings. This was after an outcry after the construction of The Knysna, a luxury apartment block at the end of First Avenue. Already an eight-storey block of luxury apartments, Eco Edge, is being completed behind Greenwood Primary School. Another six storey-plus block on the adjoining erf, The Birkin, already has ground cleared for development. Another 11-storey luxury development is planned for the plot at the end of Jutland Crescent.

Albany Club headed by female

One of the oldest gentlemen's clubs in South Africa, the 113-year-old Albany Club at 114 High Street in Grahamstown, was saved by the woman who now heads the club. Club members include judges, advocates, attorneys, doctors, teachers, academics, farmers and business people. Eleanor Louw was recently elected as the first female president of Grahamstown‘s Albany Club. She is the financial manager of Kenrich Motors and a former national president of women‘s service organisation Soroptimist. Women were first admitted to the Albany Club in 1992. Before that women could only sit in the lounge and wait for their husbands. It was through the efforts of Port Elizabeth businesswoman Jenny Hartle, who settled in Grahamstown in the early 1990s and worked for Standard Bank, that women gained admittance. She was a member of the Port Elizabeth Club and had reciprocal rights, except at the Albany Club. Before Jenny could become a member, she was transferred and Eleanor became a member. In the mid- to late-1990s, the club was declining. Eleanor's husband, Neville, is an honorary life member and was on the club committee. She decided to help him and started started looking after the club‘s financial and administrative systems. The membership eventually grew to 250. The club‘s decor, much of it dating back to the 1890s, has been restored and the complex repainted. Membership costs R550 and is through a proposal system, followed by an approval period.

Deelkraal land claim

The farm Deelkraal in the Potchefstroom-Fochville-Carletonville area was subdivided a few years ago and the present owners are still waiting to hear whether their farms will be appropriated. Farmers believe the land claim is not valid, yet they cannot go on with developments or investments on their land until the Land Claims Court makes a decision. There are graves dating to 1865 belonging to Afrikaans people who lived there. According to research done by Dr. Sonja van Eeden of the North West University, the area was given to farmers on 03 June 1839. By 1839 a Harmse family was living on the present-day Buffelsdoorn farm in the Gatsrand. The farm Deelkraal was granted to W. Meintjies on 12 October 1839. The Land Claims Court can only look at the period after September 1913.

World's largest national flag

The Magaliesberg area recently saw the biggest national flag in the world displayed on Silkaatsnek. The replica ZAR flag is 18 250 m², weighs more than 3,5 ton and covers more than 1,8 ha. It took more than two hours to spread the flag out over Sikaatsnek. The flag was a Guinness world record attempt, organised by Edwin Leemans and the Brits community.

Memorial at Abrahamskraal

On 28 January 1902 there was a fierce battle between the British Royal Sussex Regiment and Boer commandos at Abrahamskraal in the Free State. Seven British and two Boers, including the farm owner, were killed on the battlefield that day. Three wounded British soldiers later died of their wounds. Last week a remembrance ceremony was held on a hill above Kalkfontein Dam, where Abrahamskraal used to be in the early days. A memorial plaque was unveiled, in honour of those who fell and the the 139 soldiers of the Royal Sussex Regiment who lost their lives during the Anglo-Boer War. The ceremony was attended by Brig. Andrew Mantell, the British military attaché in South Africa, and Maj. Charles Wilmot of the Royal Sussex Regiment Association.

Moffat Mission Station

The Moffat Mission Station in Kuruman should be declared a heritage site, according to Miss Dipuo Peters, the Northern Cape Premier, speaking at a recent plaque ceremony at the site. The Scottisih missionary, Robert Moffat, lived there from 1820 to 1870, and built the Moffat Church which was completed in 1838. The first Tswana Bible was also translated and printed there.

Khoisan have oldest genetics?

The Khoisan have, on their maternal side (mitochondrial DNS or mDNS), the oldest surviving branches of the human genetic family tree. They are said to have separated from the rest of the population about 90 000 and 150 000 years ago, and over a period of thousands of years, migrated to southern Africa where they lived in genetic isolation until 40 000 years ago. This is according to the Genographic Project and its initial findings published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Researchers travelled the world to collect the mDNS of 624 indigenous people. According to Dr. Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project, the Khoisan's long isolation gave them a unique appearance.

Prestwich Place bones find a final resting place

The remains of about 2500 people, including slaves and Khoisan, uncovered during building operations in Prestwich Street, Green Point, in 2004 were given a final resting place in a newly-built ossuary at St Andrew's Square. Prestwich Place (corner of Prestwich and Alfred Streets) is one of the few known and identifiable burial places of the time, which served the city's poor. Bones were also found underneath the Grand Parade in 1960 when the Post Office tunnel was dug. A few years later, a Vredehoek resident also found bones when building a new driveway on his property. Bones have also been found in Mechau Street, Chiappini Street, Buitengracht, Adderley Street and Milnerton beach. Last year bones were found where the new Greenpoint Stadium is being built. The Prestwich Place discovery led to emotional scenes. Dr. Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture, made a decision that the bones could not be scientifically studied as it would upset some communities. After the discovery, archaeologists from UCT determined that the bones dated back to the 1800s and the site was declared a heritage site. After the bones were carefully recovered, they were locked up in the Woodstock Hospital's Mortuary. Tim Hart, one of the project co-ordinators and co-director of archaeology contracts for the University of Cape Town (UCT), said that after initial observations, the bones could be the remains of slaves because some had dental formations uncommon to the Cape and some were not buried in coffins, and instead huddled together in shallow holes. The Prestwich Place Project Committee appealed decisions by the South African Heritage Resources Agency to continue with excavation, but failed to stop the digging until all of the bones were removed.

19 April 2008

The Old Rectory in Plettenberg Bay to be developed

The Old Rectory, at the corner of Bull and Meeding Streets in Plettenberg Bay, might be developed as a boutique hotel. An application and basic assessment report for the development of the buildings has been submitted to the Bitou council by Domenico Property Developments of Plettenberg Bay. The Bitou council tabled a resolution stating that permission had been granted for rezoning of the area, subject to certain conditions. The complex was originally two separate structures linked by a yard with a cookhouse. The buildings were constructed in 1789 by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) as barracks for troops stationed in Plettenberg Bay. In the early 1900s the barracks, cookhouse and yard were combined to create a single, large T-shaped building. Close by is a rough outbuilding, the School House, and the Old Timber Shed built for the VOC by Johann Jerling in 1788. These buildings, together with the replica of the processional stone erected by Baron Van Plettenberg, form the historic heart of Plettenberg Bay. The buildings are in a neglected state. Domenico‘s plan allows for restoration of the existing buildings and the construction of new buildings for a boutique hotel with 22 rooms. The Van Plettenberg Historical Society said that they understand that the upgrading and redevelopment of the site would include a historical library that would display old photographs and historical memorabilia.

Glen Dirk Estate in Constantia to be rezoned

The historical landmark in Constantia, the Glen Dirk Estate, will be partially subdivided into residential properties if the current application for rezoning and subdivision is approved. Owned by the Menell Family Trust since 1948, Glen Dirk Estate is a 55 ha property, off Klaasens Road in Constantia. The two large houses on the property were designed by Sir Herbert Baker. About 60% of the estate is under vines. The application is complicated by the fact that the Constantia Valley is earmarked as a possible World Heritage Site. According to the Constantia Valley Association, the Cape winelands, including the Constantia Valley, was one of the nine candidates for World Heritage Site status that South Africa submitted to UNESCO in 2001. A Notification of Intent to Develop (NID) must be submitted to Heritage Western Cape before any changes to the status of a property such as Glen Dirk Estate can be made. This will enable Heritage Western Cape to decide whether a Heritage Impact Assessment will be required. He declined to comment on the possible World Heritage Site status of the estate. The Menell Family Trust said the motivation behind subdividing the property was to generate funds to manage the farm. The application is open to inspection at the City of Cape Town, South Peninsula region, in Victoria Road, Plumstead. Objections must be lodged in writing at the office on or before 28 April.

Molteno hand-over of village

Molteno Brothers (Pty) Ltd, one of Elgin's oldest farming operations dating back to 1903, through its Molteno Brothers Trust, has given an entire farm village to farmworkers. The Oaks Village, comprising 106 houses and including a school, a crèche, a library, sports fields, swimming pools, a clubhouse, a church, and a retirement home, was handed over to the families who have worked on the fruit farm for up to four generations. This gave the village's 720-odd residents ownership of their homes. The deal made use of the government's R16 000 housing subsidy. The Oaks Village is now managed by a body corporate. The farm paid a monthly subsidy of R250 to residents employed by the farm and to its pensioners, to help pay electricity and other costs. The farm also paid for the teachers at the crèche. Residents will be entitled to sell their properties. To encourage residents to keep their homes, clauses stipulate that they will only personally take 100 percent of any profits after eight years, increasing on a sliding scale starting at 12,5 percent after the first year. The remainder of any profits would accrue to the body corporate, for the benefit of the community. The houses were last upgraded in 1992, all are either two- or three-bedroomed units with garages.

Bethlehem's sandstone heritage buildings damaged

Professor Deon Knobel, a former resident of Bethlehem in the Free State, has protested about the heritage destruction in Bethlehem.Various sandstone buildings have already beeen damaged or lost in the name of "development". Prof. Knobel, now living in Cape Town, cites the example of Dr. Jannie Loubser's old house which was demolished a few years ago, with the then mayor of Bethlehem's approval. Despite pleas by the community, the house could not be saved and today the site stands empty and neglected without an development. The old Royal Hotel and the old Standard Bank building have been damaged. Now a new development in Pres. Boshoff Street has the old Bungalow building in its sights. This building was one of those around the NG Church in Bethlehem that were built of sandstone. Pleas to the heritage agencies have fallen on deaf ears. In the case of the Bungalow building, the architect was not aware of the heritage laws in place that protect historic buildings older than 60 years.

Old technology museum

Malcolm Anderson's private museum is for anyone who loves technology - machinery, equipment, engines. Anderson (62) lives on a property overlooking the Byrne Valley in KwaZulu-Natal. He's been collecting old things for about 50 years. The museum is open to the public and is situated on Minerva private nature reserve. He has several business interests in Richmond. There are several thousand items on display, including a jaw harp, an iron lung and a Morse code machine. The museum houses a collection of old vehicles, petrol bowsers, woodworking equipment, dentistry equipment, water pumps, steam-driven machinery, household items like typewriters, irons, fans, lights, kitchen equipment, telephones and valve radios, agricultural machinery, including a rare Rollo tractor built in Scotland, a winnower and a potato sorter, both built in the 1800s. Anderson and a friend, Chris Tilbury, work with a team of artisans to restore engines before they are put on display. His collecting tris have taken him to Mozambique, Namibia, the Western Cape, the Karoo and the Eastern Cape. In Prince Alfred he found an old washing machine with a hand-operated mangle. In the Karoo he found an engine used to pump water from a borehole when there was no wind to drive the windmill. It was built in Australia in 1917. In a Richmond attic he found an automatic soda water machine built by Flugel and Company of London. The iron lung, built by the German company Lubeck, was found in Umkomaas. To safeguard the future of the collection, Anderson has created a trust. He and Tilbury are members of the Natal Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club. The museum has a pub housed in a converted railway cattle car that includes the original “hole in the floor” toilet. There is a self-catering guest house on the 3 500-hectare nature reserve.

Rhino horn stolen from museums

Thieves recently stole two horns from a mounted white rhinoceros at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town. The theft is the latest in a series targeting rhino horn at museums. The thieves smashed a reinforced glass cabinet and ripped the horns off one specimen, but could not remove those from another, even though the museum had 24-hour security. The two rhinos on display were historical specimens, dating back to the late 19th century. In 2002 a thief stole an 80cm horn off a specimen of white rhino in the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria. Two years ago thieves broke into the Reinet House Museum in Graaff-Reinet and made off with the horn of a rhino shot in the area 120 years ago. A group of armed men had also stolen horn from the King William's Town Museum.

The Apple Express - steam train memories

A 1904 narrow-gauge railway coach has been restored to its former glory. Coach NG59, an 18-seat, four- compartment carriage with its own toilet, was built by the Bristol Carriage & Wagon Company in the UK. The restoration team included coachbuilders Clive Nel and Pieter van Rooyen, undercarriage builder Willie Schaap, steam fitter Nico Bezuidenhout, process worker Manie Mampen, and Vuyani Dakuse, Theo Drinkrow and Lindi Ndyambo. The restoration work was unveiled recently in Humewood, painted in the green-and-white colour scheme of the Apple Express. n its early years, the coach was used to transport fruit pickers along the Langkloof between Twee Riviere and Misgund. The restoration team has another eight coaches to restore. The Apple Express is seeking sponsors for its heritage coaches. Sponsorship of R5000 per coach will be acknowledged by a brass plaque inside the coach as well as the sponsors having exclusive use of the coach on one trip per year. The Apple Express currently has 22 heritage coaches. The Apple Express is only one of two narrow gauge steam trains still operational in southern Africa. It also runs across the highest narrow gauge bridge in the world – the Van Stadens Bridge, approximately 77 metres (250 ft) – and has one of the longest working narrow gauge tracks. The Van Stadens Bridge was built in 1904 and remains operational for train excursion purposes.

Santarama Miniland

Santarama Miniland, on the banks of Wemmer Pan in Johannesburg's southern suburbs, was opened in 1973 as a fund-raising venture for the South African National Tuberculosis Association (Santa). The 8-acre parkland houses miniature replicas in 1:25 scale of many South African landmarks such as Jan Smuts Airport, the Union Buildings, the Snowflake flour mills in Isando, the Telkom Tower in Johannesburg, and Robben Island. Until a few years ago, companies paid a monthly donation to keep the park in tourist conditions. In 2004 a new management company took over. Funds are needed for much-needed renovations and maintenance. New landmarks such as Sandton City, the Ponte Building, Unisa, and Maropeng are among the planned new features. Santarama Miniland hosts about 67 200 school children and 13 000 adult visitors annually. Santarama Miniland also hosts children’s birthday parties, which they set up in the Kids Zazoo Party and Play Centre. The only other miniland in South Africa, is Mini Town in Durban.

Ghostly coffee shop in Springs

Planet Springs is a unique coffee shop with a history. The corrugated iron house, with its green roof and chickens in the yard, belongs to Gert (aka Swanni) Swanepoel, who is passionate about the town's history. The house is the oldest one in Springs, the earliest record dating back to 1886 which mentions that the owner wanted to give some of his pears to President Paul Kruger. The same pear trees are still there today. In about 1904, nearby houses were lost to sink-holes. The house has a resident ghost - according to those who've seen or heard the ghost, it is a five-year-old boy named Robin, the only person who died in the sink-hole tragedy. The coffee shop was named for its South African celebrities theme.

Valuable donation to museum

The Van Tilburg Museum at the University of Pretoria (UP) houses a collection of about 8000 ceramic pieces. The latest addition comes from the van Zyl family. A rare porcelain serving plate, made in England in 1901, was donated by Lynette van Zyl. The plate belonged to her grandmother who bought it during the Anglo-Boer War. The plate was made by Ceramic Art Company Ltd. of Crown Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. The donation is in accordance with Lynette's parents' wishes. Percy and Jeanette van Rooijen passed away in 2007.

Bram Fischer birthday exhibition

Bram Fischer would have been 100 years old this year. The National Museum in Bloemfontein recently received a collection of objects that belonged to him. They were donated by his daughters, Ruth Rice and Ilse Wilson, and include the christening robe in which Bram was christened, the rugby jersey and shorts he wore during the Test match between the Free State and the All Blacks at Ramblers in 1928, and a wooden toy chameleon made for him by one of the rebels who was involved in the 1914 Rebellion. Bram had strong family ties with the city - he was born in Bloemfontein in 1908 and died there in 1975. To celebrate his birthday centenary, an exhibition on Bram will be opened by Ilse at the National Museum on 23 April.

Heirloom wedding dress

David Taylor and Catherina (aka Katrien) Mattheus recently got married at Stuart's Garden, Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Dave, from Bristol, England, is a businessman and former rugby player for Bath Rugby Club in Somerset, England. Katrien, the only daughter of Adli Swart, wore a family heirloom wedding dress. The dress belonged to her great-grandmother and was made of pure silk chiffon imported from France. Katrien, an anaesthetist, works at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The couple live in Southstoke, Bath.

Century-old hotel

Southern Right Hotel, a century-old Glencairn landmark hotel, is looking at possible new landlords as an auction is set to take place on Tuesday 15 April. The land and buildings housing the hotel, Flukes restaurant, the Blowhole pub and several small businesses are to go under the hammer. The hotel has been a prominent feature of the False Bay coastline since 1904 and was previously known as the Glencairn Hotel and the Just Nuisance Inn. In 2004, a century after it was built, it was reopened as the Southern Right Hotel by the current owners of the land, Frans Hollenbach, Paul Jaques, Bovain MacNab, Guido Richert and Andrew Weeks. It is the land and buildings that are for sale, not the hotel as a going concern. The hotel, restaurant and pub have valid leases for another seven years. The hotel is a heritage building, built in 1904 by the Scottish architect John Parker, initially as a private residence and later established as a grand hotel.

Krige family burial vault rebuilt

Johan Krige, of Caledon Villa Guest House in Stellenbosch, has helped reconstruct a Krige family burial vault that was built in 1842. Six years ago he received a photo of the neglected vault at the Stellenbosch Dutch Reformed Church. The vault was built by Carl Otto Hager for Willem Adolph Krige of the farm Uiterwyk. Hager was a well-known architect who built many churches. Willem Adolph Krige was the grandson of the Krige progenitor, Wilhelm Adolph Kriege, a VOC official that arrived at the Cape in 1721. In 1942, Willem jnr bought the burial plot at an auction held by the church council. Willem and his wife, Elizabeth, were buried in the vault. Shortly afterwards, the church council opened a new burial ground at Du Toitstasie. In 1967 the Krige family vault was demolished. The original vault could house 12 coffins. With the reconstruction, 120 cremation recesses were built, of which 50 have already been sold to descendants of the Krige progenitor. The Krige Family Association was founded in 1976.

24 March 2008

Durban Holocaust Centre opened

Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Durban now has its own place of remembrance for them. The Durban Holocaust Centre, housed at the Durban Jewish Centre in Old Fort Road, was recently opened. One of the guest speakers was a local resident who survived the holocaust, Jack Puterman. The centre was designed by Linda Bester, who also designed the Cape Town Holocaust Centre. It cost more than R1-million and was financed by the local Jewish community. Mary Kluk, president of the Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry, came up with the idea. Visitors can trace the rise of the Third Reich propaganda machine, the labour, concentration and the death camps. A replica gas chamber was recreated. The centre is awaiting permission from Anne Frank House in Holland for a replica of the bedroom where she hid. A Garden of Remembrance contains six fountains - one for each of the million Jews killed. For more info, contact Maureen at 031-368-6833.

De la Rey death mask

A death mask of Afrikaner nationalist General Koos de la Rey was recently revealed in public in Houghton, Johannesburg. DNA tests by Unistel Medical Laboratories confirmed that the plaster of Paris mask belonged to the Anglo-Boer War hero. The mask is believed to be the only one of its kind ever found in Africa. Dutch-born sculptor Anton van Wouw made the death mask just a few hours after the General was shot in 1914. He later used the mask as a model for his busts of De la Rey. After Van Wouw's death, the mask was bought on auction by one of his friends who kept it until August 2007, when the publication of a book on De la Rey, which contains a photo of the mask, led to its discovery. The book, De la Rey: ’n Stryd vir vryheid, was written by Prof. Andries Raath. Strands of De la Rey's beard, attached to the mask, were matched with blood taken from his great-grandson, Jacques de la Rey. Death masks were common in the 18th and 19th centuries. Other famous figures who left death masks include Napoleon Bonaparte, William Shakespeare and Mary Tudor.

Save the Sea Point promenade

The Sea Point promenade is under threat and a campaign to save it from being disfigured by a major development on both sides of the pavilion and its swimming pools, is underway. Since its earliest days, Capetonians and visitors have enjoyed walking along the promenade, children have played on the swings and roundabouts, families have had picnics on the lawns, and impromptu games of soccer and volleyball have been played here. Since the carousel was demolished, dancers have made use of the space, and musicians have played through the gorgeous sunsets. People have watched for the new moon that signals the end of Ramadan. The Sea Point promenade is part of Cape Town's character. Now there is a possibility that a hotel and shopping mall will be built on a part of it, on the seaward side of the street. The Seafront for All (Seafa) campaign is collecting signatures for a petition. Help save the Sea Point promenade.

Afrikaans language museum

The Afrikaans language has its own private museum. The Huis vir Afrikaanse poësie (hAp) in Capital Park, Pretoria, is being set up as a private museum by Charl Pretorius. It will open to the public in July. The history of the language, alongside that of Namakwa-Afrikaans, Bo-Kaap-Afrikaans, Oranjerivier-Afrikaans and other dialects, will be on display. The museum is looking for any donations of Afrikaans historical items.

Durban Documentation Centre closed

Kwazulu-Natal’s MEC for Art, Culture and Tourism, Weziwe Thusi, will hold a public hearing on 15 April to decide on the future of historic Indian artefacts that were held by the Durban Documentation Centre. The centre, which housed material relating to the history of Indians in South Africa, was closed down in January. The centre was home to musical instruments, clothing, documents, books and photographs, some dating back to the 1800s. The hearing will take place at the Protea Edward Hotel in Durban. Interested parties have been asked to file submissions by 14 April. A crisis committee, headed by Juggie Pather, has been trying to get the material transferred to a venue in Chatsworth, so far unsuccessfully.

Rare Africana books on auction

Rare Africana books will go on auction in London at Bonhams on 01-02 April. The auction includes early grammar books in Nama, Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu. The collection belonged to an English couple, John and Monica Lawson. Many of the books were written by early missionaries and published in Britain. A very rare copy of Dr. Wilhelm Bleek's "Uber den Ursprung der Sprache", published in Cape Town in 1867, forms part of the auction. Dr. Bleek is famous for the San work he undertook with his sister-in-law, Lucy Lloyd. A Nama textbook written by Hans Christian Knudsen and published in Cape Town in 1845, is also on auction.

Mandela Family Museum renovations

Former President Nelson Mandela's house in Orlando West, Soweto, will undergo renovations to restore it to its original state, according to the Soweto Heritage Trust. The house, now called the Mandela Family Museum, at 8115 Ngakane Street, will be closed until November while work is in progress. Mandela moved into the four-roomed house in 1946 with his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase. After their divorce in 1957, she moved out. When Mandela married Winnie Madikizela in 1958, she moved in and while he was imprisoned on Robben Island, she lived there with their daughters, Zeni and Zindzi. When the couple divorced in 1996, Mandela registered the house in his name and handed it to the Soweto Heritage Trust. As part of the renovations, a visitor's centre will be built on the property, which will also depict Soweto's history. A curio shop will also be opened.

Langenhoven Arts and Culture Centre

Prof. Guillaume Brümmer, Cornelis Jacobus Langenhoven's only grandson, attended the recent opening of the Langenhoven Arts and Culture Centre at Arbeidsgenot in Oudtshoorn. Arbeidsgenot was Langenhoven's last residence. The Langenhoven Memorial Trust was established in 1951 after Vroutjie (Langenhoven's wife, Magdalena Maria) left Arbeidsgenot to the country as an arts and culture centre. Langenhoven was the author of Die Stem van Suid-Afrika. Future plans include a statue of Langenhoven and Enoch Sontonga (authour of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika) being erected at the centre. The two were born in the same year, 1873. Their compositions make up South Africa's national anthem.

27 February 2008

Libraries in a state

Last year, Gauteng province only used 5,3% of its budget for public library service improvements. The Eastern Cape province used R29 000 of its R22 million budget and the Western Cape province only 23,7%. These figures were shown in the presentation to Parliament's standing committee on finances. The nine provinces received R180 million, spread over three years, last year to improve library services. The provinces have already received half of their funds and had to spend it on infrastructure and buying new books.

Last month, Brakpan's library closed down due to the neglected state of its 70-year-old building. Following heavy rain, parts of the building were flooded and the electrical wiring damaged. The library's ceiling ad caved in in 2006, and was temporarily repaired. There are plans for a new building but so far no construction has started.

Recently, library services were cut drastically in many provinces. On the East Rand some libraries now close at 16:30 on weekdays and do not open on weekends at all. This has made it very difficult for school children who do not have other access to libraries. The Alberton library implemented these hours back in October 2006.

Khoisan skeleton?

The skeletal remains, possibly of a Khoisan man who died 500 years ago, were recently found by builders in Elands Bay, about 220 kilometres from Cape Town. A skull and forearm was found buried about 1.2 metres deep. The bones were found in an upright, seated position. Archaeology students at the University of Cape Town are investigating. The last major bone discovery in the Cape Town area was in May 2003, when hundreds of human skeletons were uncovered on a construction site in Prestwich Street, Green Point. After investigations, a cemetery was found under the foundations of old buildings, which were being demolished to make way for a new building. Later the building of a R5.6 million heritage centre to house the centuries-old human remains found in Prestwich Street led to the discovery of more remains by construction workers and an archaeologist was called in.

Thin blue line

The NGK Horison-Noord in Roodepoort unveiled a private memorial wall last week, dedicated to the memory of police members who have paid the highest price in the line of duty. The wall is in the church's Garden of Remembrance.

08 January 2008

New South African newsletter

A new South African newsletter, Bygones & Byways, is now available. Bygones & Byways is an independent, privately published publication which has something for everyone, whether you are just starting to trace your family tree or have been doing so for many years. Find out about the hidden history of little-known places and people, what is available in old records and more amongst the feature articles, advice tips and news. The newsletter was launched in January 2008 is a must for all who are interested in South African family history / genealogy, heritage, history and travel.

CONTENTS OF BYGONES & BYWAYS Issue 1, January 2008:
History Matters: news & notes about heritage:
- Dolphin Hotel demolished
- Kimberley church centenary
- Regimental move
- Oral History Institute launched
- Housing estate on Anglo Boer War site
- Name changes
Century Club: celebrating long lives
On The Bookshelf: reviews & announcements:
- Die geskiedenis van boerekos
- Sailor’s wartime memoirs
- Van der Merwe book
- The Hottentot Venus
Past Lives: Helen Martins
Old Jail Becomes Guesthouse
Research Tips For Better Results
Family History Centres: world-wide records near you
Green & Gold: Our Rugby Colours
The Heatlie family
The Rugby Museum
The Springbok designer
S.S. Ceramic: WWII drama at sea
Bush Telegraph: South Africa-related queries from readers

The first issue is free, in pdf format, at http://www.rupert.net/~lkool/page4.html The pdf file is 3.3 MB so may take time to download, depending on your Internet connection.