26 July 2008


A new documentary about Gen. Koos DE LA REY has been produced by Hennie VAN DER MERWE and Sanet SCHEEPERS of Ulula Produksies. "Die Leeu van Wes-Transvaal" is available on DVD. The two film-makers were involved in the 2001 DVD / TV series, Verskroeide Aarde. The latest DVD focuses on the General's whole life, not just his military career. Participants in the documentary include historians such as professors Fransjohan PRETORIUS, Andries RAATH, André WESSELS and Albert GRUNDLINGh. Advocate Colin STEYN, grand-son of the Free State President M.T. STEYN, is also involved, as are Steve LUNDERSTEDT and Zelda ROWAN. Scenes were shot on locations related to the General's life, such as Kraaipan (where the first shots of the Anglo-Boer War were fired), and Langlaagte, Johannesburg, where he was shot on 15 September 1914. His farm Elandsfontein and his resting place, Lichtenburg Cemetery, are also visited. The DVD was a result of the popularity of Bok van Blerk's song, De la Rey. It is planned that more DVDs will follow about Boer leaders. Ulula Produksies: ulula@worldonline.co.za or (021) 982-7642.

Jacobus Hercules (Koos) DE LA REY was born on 22 October 1847 on the farm Doornspruit, near Winburg. He was the sixth son of Adrianus Gysbertus (Lang Adriaan) DE LA REY and Adriana Wilhelmina VAN ROOYEN, who came from the George area. Later the family moved to the Wolmaransstad district. Adrianus was a soldier in the Cape Frontier Wars and a Transvaal pioneer, taking part in the Battle of Boomplaats. After the discovery of diamonds, the family moved to Kimberley, where Koos became a transport rider. On 24 October 1876, Koos married Jacoba Elizabeth (Nonnie) GREEFF, daughter of Hendrik Adriaan GREEFF, founder of Lichtenburg. The couple settled on the farm Manana and later on Elandsfontein in the Lichtenburg district. They had 10 children. Koos participated in the war between the Free State and the Basuto in 1865. In 1876 he became a Field Cornet, fighting against the Bapedi. In 1880, Koos led Lichtenburg residents against the British annexation of the Transvaal - by taking down the magistrate's British flag and sending him back to the Cape. In 1885 he was made Commandant. In 1893 he was elected to the Volksraad. When war broke out in October 1899, he said in council that he was opposed to a war but if there was no other way, he would fight to the end. He captured a British armoured train at Kraaipan. His eldest son was killed in the Battle of Modder Rivier. After the war, together with Gens. Louis BOTHA and C.R. DE WET, he travelled to Europe to raise funds for the rebuilding of the country. In September 1914 when WWI broke out, Gens. DE LA REY and C.R. DE WET joined the Rebellion, opposing supporting the British. A group of Boer loyalists planned a rebellion. Some believe Koos was on the side of the rebel generals, others believe he was going to Potchefstroom to tell them he did not want to be involved. On the night of 15 September 1914, Koos and Gen. BEYERS drove from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom. The Foster Gang was to play a vital role - the gangsters had evaded police for months and were wanted for a string of robberies across the Reef, and the murder of three policemen and a passer-by. They were hiding out in a cave in Kensington. The police had set up roadblocks. Seeing a roadblock ahead, the two generals instructed their driver to drive through the barrier in Langlaagte. A policeman fired a single shot - it struck the ground, ricocheted into the back of the car, lodging in Koos' chest. He died within seconds. There is a plaque outside Langlaagte Station, at the entrance in Deville Street in Paarlshoop.


The Bloemfontein Zoo was opened in 1906. It now faces possible closure or relocation because of new developments in the area. The local council must make a decision soon. Naval Hill has been mooted as a possible site should relocation be chosen. More than 4000 residents have signed a petition protesting against the closure/relocation. About 65 000 children visit the zoo annually.


A stately home at 11A Grace Road in Johannesburg, with magnificent views, is going on auction on 30 July. Originally named Beauvais, it was built in 1907 by Allen WILSON for mining magnate Percival White TRACEY. It is set on 1.1 ha of prime land and has an imposing Cape Dutch façade, a cathedral glass window, and Burmese teak panelling. The large cathedral glass window has the TRACEY family crest and motto, Honores Ambire (Surround with Honour). Percival had worked a claim at Kimberley. In 1902 he found diamonds in a stream near Johannesburg, and followed it to its source. Twenty-four miles east of Pretoria, he came to a diamond pipe. The Cornelis MINNAAR farm, Elandsfontein no. 85, was registered on 07 November 1859. Cornelis sold a portion of the farm to his brother Roelof in 1861, who in turn sold the northern part of this farm to Willem PRINSLOO for £570 on 07 December 1896. Thomas Major CULLINAN, a building contractor, tried to buy the Prinsloo farm but failed. When Willem died in 1898, his wife Maria became the new owner. After the Anglo-Boer War, Maria's brothers returned to the farm. The family were in dire need of money. When Cullinan started new negotiations with the family, they agreed to the outright sale of the farm for the sum £52,000. The company was first registered as the Premier Syndicate on 06 November 1902 but re-registered on 01 December 1902 as The Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company Ltd. with Cullinan as chairperson. Percival was part of this syndicate.

Premier Diamond Co. Ltd. became one of the largest diamond mines in the world and produced the largest diamond ever found - the Cullinan. This diamond was bought by the Transvaal government for £150,000 and presented to King Edward VII. It was cut into nine large stones and ninety-six small ones. The largest is mounted in the British Royal Sceptre and may be seen in the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels. The mine was renamed the Cullinan Diamond Mine in November 2003

During the 10 years that the family lived at Beauvais, it was the scene of glittering social functions, as well as tragedy. Three of the seven TRACEY children died within a week of one another in an epidemic. Percival also died there. After his death in 1909, his widow, Marcella Susan (maiden name DEVENISH) and two daughters lived on in the house. In 1912, Beauvais was featured in a "Stately Homes of Johannesburg" series in the South African Ladies Journal. Marcella died in 1926. In 1917, the 15-year-old Park Town School (PTS) took over the house and for the next 40 years the halls and passages echoed with the voices of red-coated school boys. Many famous South Africans attended PTS, including Sir Harry OPPENHEIMER. The house accommodated 62 boarders and 15 day boys. Economic pressures forced the closure of the school in 1957. Two years later, AECI purchased the then neglected building and most of land, and restored it to its original glory. They used it as their training centre for 40 years. It then became the premises of Dorothy Van't Riet Design & Décor Consultants, and Dorothy Van't Riet Design Academy. Now known as Mountain View, the estate has views from Johannesburg International Airport in the East to the edge of Krugersdorp in the West. The Northern view includes the Magaliesberg and Witwatersberg mountain ranges and the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. The Iscor furnaces and the lights of Pretoria are easily seen on a clear night.


It has been a sad week for South African history circles. Colyn Brookes passed away in Cape Town earlier this week, of a sudden heart attack. Colyn was a great contributor to our military history, travelling around the country to record long-forgotten, and often unknown, grave sites and memorials to fallen soldiers. I was blessed to meet him in Cape Town, where he gave me photos of all the female soldiers' graves he'd recorded to date. Colyn was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1946. He served with the Scots Guards from 1966 to 1973. He moved to South Africa in 1979. Colyn started MIBISA (Military Burials In South Africa) Archive Project in 2003. He undertook three photographic trips a year, and covered about 2,000 kilometres each trip. His work has been preserved in various ways, one being the book "MIBISA Volume One - Western Cape (Military Burials in South Africa)". He started MIBISA with the intention of photographing all military-related burials within the borders of South Africa. The Western Cape book was the first of nine proposed volumes. The listings cover headstones, memorials, plaques and monuments and have the Name, Rank, Serial Number, Unit and other information. A CD with the photographs is included with the book. Colyn was involved with various volunteer projects, such as Find A Grave, the South African War Graves Project, and the War Graves Photographic Project. A military burial is classified as that of any person who died whilst undergoing military service or training. The MIBISA photographs include those of the Zulu Wars, the Anglo-Boer War, the Rand Revolt, World War I and II, the Border War and the Freedom Struggle. The database contained more than 7500 photographs from the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape areas, collected over 36 months and involved travelling some 60 000 kilometres. The project was self-funded by Colyn. His trips depended on holiday pay, annual bonus and tax rebates. His published books were to help support the project financially. Colyn also had plans to publish a coffee table book, From Bridges to Blockhouses: A study of military construction during the Second Boer War 1899-1902". Colyn was married to Pauline for 38 years.

One of the many special stories that Colyn got involved in, concerns David TITUS. David died of illness at the age of 30. He was one of the first members of the Cape Coloured Corps to volunteer for duty in WWII (service number C273709V). Colyn started looking for his grave in 2003. Three years and some 7000 graves later, he found it and placed a small advert in a local paper. David's sister, Dinah CHARLES, and his brother Samuel, made contact on 16 October 2006, the same day as David's death in 1946. Colyn found David's grave in Taylor’s Cemetery, outside De Doorns. Dinah (age 70 in 2006) recalled how her Ouboet looked after the family with his war pay. Samuel, Dinah and Colyn attended a re-dedication service for David at the grave on 22 October 2006.


Prof. Stephen Burridge SPIES (78) passed away at his Garsfontein home on 22 July 2008. He was an author and historian. Prof. Spies had diabetes. He was born on 05 January 1930 in Port Elizabeth and educated at Pretoria Boys High and the University of the Witwatersrand. He taught history for 15 years at Pretoria Boys' High. He was Professor of History at the University of South Africa until his retirement in 1995. Prof. Spies is survived by his wife Marion DUTTON and three children - Rene WHITE, Helen TERREBLANCHE and Andrew, as well as eight grandchildren. Prof. Spies wrote "Methods of Barbarism? Roberts, Kitchener and Civilians in the Boer Republics: January 1900-May 1902", first published in 1977. The book's title comes from a 1901 speech by Sir Henry CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, leader of the British Liberal Party, in which he asked, "When is a war not a war? When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa." Prof. Spies played cricket for Northerns from 1951/52-1962/63.

25 July 2008


In December 1997, the South African Navy set off on a mission to the Prince Edward Islands, south-east of Cape Town. The small island group consists of Prince Edward Island and Marion Island, and was annexed as the first and only foreign territory of the then Union of South Africa. The Navy's mission was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the annexation of the islands. One of the sailors who took part in the annexation was retired Warrant Officer Ernst SADLER, later of Kalk Bay. He was then a Petty Officer aboard the frigate HMSAS Transvaal which set sail from Simon's Town on 21 December 1947, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander John FAIRBAIRN. It was a top-secret mission. German and Japanese submarines and ships sought shelter and water in the relatively safe islands. This became a concern for Field-Marshal Jan SMUTS as rocket and guided missiles were accurate at ranges of up to 1 000 miles (1 600km) or more. A decision was taken for pre-emptive action and Operation Snoektown was born. The frigate reached Marion Island on Christmas Day but bad weather and heavy seas made it impossible for the sailors to land. They finally made it ashore on 29 December, and Petty Officer Henry SCHOTT recorded the event. A stone cairn was built, on which a metal South African flag was mounted, as well as a bronze plaque inscribed "HMSAS Transvaal, 29.12.1947", and Lieutenant-Commander John FAIRBAIRN read out the Deed of Sovereignty. Prince Edward Island was annexed five days later. A few days later, HMSAS Transvaal was relieved by its sister ship, HMSAS Natal, and the coaster Gamtoos, which carried a construction team, prefabricated huts and a small media contingent. Formal annexation ceremonies were held.


Worcester residents are upset about the destruction of the former Minnie Hofmeyr College, which has been vandalised and had its doors, window frames, security railings, wooden flooring and roofing stolen. Coloured social workers received their training at the college, from 1931 in Harring Street, Cape Town, and from 02 October 1948 in the current building in Grey Street, Worcester. The Women's Mission Association of the NGK Western and Eastern Cape, restored the college years ago and carried on supporting the college financially. Between 1983 and 1992, it cost R1 106 420 to run the college. In 1986 a new admin building, lecture hall and library were built. The college was closed in 1993 when the Western Cape Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk bought the building. It was then rented out to various businesses, until a month ago.


The SANAN family recently held a family reunion and had 118 members attending. The last time they got together was in 1984. Family flew in from Australia, England and Dubai. Others travelled from all over South Africa to attend the reunion held at the Hamilton Club. There was a cocktail party on Friday night, a dinner on Saturday night and a Mass on Sunday morning, followed by a braai. The family's roots in South Africa start in 1905 when Michael SANAN from Lebanon married Lisa CASSIR from Syria. They had 12 children, 11 of whom reached maturity. Forty-five grandchildren, 100 great-grandchildren, 74 great-great-grandchildren and two great-great-great-grandchildren (the youngest being three months old) followed. The oldest surviving child is Lily DE BEYER who is 92 and lives in Cape Town.

Click here for more information about the Lebanese community in South Africa.


Hudson Park High School is having a reunion on 01-02 August. The two existing Hudson Park schools have a history going back 103 years, but it was only in 1978 that the high school changed its name from Clifton Park to Hudson Park. Old Cliftonians and Old Hudsonians are called to join the celebrations. As part of the celebrations there will be a traditional "welcome back" assembly for the class of 1978, other old Cliftonians and old Hudsonians of 1988 and 1998. Then Hudson Primary will join the high school for the reunion assembly. This will be followed by an informal tour of the school. In the evening, there will be a dinner-dance in the Crewe Hall. The following day, sports events will be held on the Port Rex fields. After the first team rugby match, there'll be a beer tent. For more information contact Barry BEKKER on 082 6510711 or Barry MARSHALL on 0833941918 (for the class of 1978 and all Old Cliftonians). Denny EMSLIE (McLACHLAN) can be contacted on demslie@ufh.ac.za or 0736690084 (class of 1988) and Nicole MAREE on mareen@hphs.co.za (class of 1998).


The historic Cape farm, Zevenrivieren, went on auction in May. The farm was mentioned in the 1929 book "From an Old Cape Homestead" by English author, Madeline ALSTON. She wrote about the farm while visiting friends there. In 1930 Princess Alice stayed on the farm for a while, and a specil bathroom was built for her. Zevenrivieren has been owned by a Dutch family for the past 14 years, and was previously owned by a church group. It is one of the oldest farms in the Banhoek Valley near Stellenbosch. A previous owner, Pieter VAN BREDA, restored the manor house, wine cellar and outbuildings in 1972. The manor house was built circa 1790 by Johannes Jacobus HAMMAN, the owner from 1779 to 1803. Johannes was married to Maria Geertruyda VAN BREDA in 1787. The wine cellar's Cape gable dates from 1810 and was erected by David Pieter DE VILLIERS. The farm was granted to Jacob PLEUNIS and Pieter MALMER on 02 October 1708 by Governor Simon VAN DER STEL. Malmer had been using the farm since circa 1684, on lease, but it was only registered in 1704. After his death, Pleunis obtained sole rights. He was married in 1695 to Wilhemina Adriana Ariens DE WIT (originally an orphan from Rotterdam), the widow of Detlev BIBOW. He was from Orsoy, Germany. Pleunis supported Adam TAS against Gover Willem Adriaan VAN DER STEL, but later withdrew his support under duress. He had two sons with Wilhemina - Johannes and Hendrik. Johannes entered the VOC service as an adelborst on 13 November 1714. From 28 July 1720 to 1726 he served as secretary to the Stellenbosch and Drakenstein magistrate.
Further reading:
The Old Buildings of the Cape, by Dr. Hans Fransen, Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2004.
Die Buiteposte: VOC-buiteposte onder Kaapse bestuur 1652 tot 1795, by Dr. Sleigh, Haum, 1993
Cape Dutch Houses and Farms, by C. de Bosdari, Balkema, 1971
Old Cape Farmsteads, by Dr. James Walton, Human & Rousseau, 1989

24 July 2008


Last April, the SABC announced that it is planning to renovate the neglected Rocklands Villas in Sea Point. This follows eight years of pressure from the city to do something about the dilapidated building. The 12 apartments, located behind the SABC building, were run-down. There had been two fires in the building. A rape and violent assaults had taken place in the building over the years. The apartments had been derelict for at least 12 years. The SABC is applying for zoning to turn the building into offices. If zoning is not granted, the SABC will rent out the apartments and the renovation would be mostly cosmetic.

19 July 2008


The Herman Charles Bosman Living Museum in Groot Marico is looking for an old recipe. Their youngest project is building a replica hartbeeshuisie. They need the recipe for the mixture with which the floors were whitened. The Museum was established in 1993. It is housed in a replica of the school in Heimweeberg where he taught in 1926. Local residents donated mud bricks made the way they were more than a century ago - with Marico soil, and plastered with a mixture of clay and cow dung. If you know the secret recipe (afwit resep) call Santa and Egbert van Bart at 083 272 2958 or 014 503 0085 or email: info@marico.co.za


The Florence Bloom Bird Reserve in Delta Park, Johannesburg, has been cleaned up. It is one of the oldest bird reserves in Johannesburg. Johannesburg City Parks and the Delta Park Environmental Centre worked together in the clean-up. About R150 000 was raised for the project, which included replacing the the fence around the 7,5 ha reserve. It was declared a bird reserve in 1975 and was named after Florence BLOOM, a successful Johannesburg woman who was also a nature lover. She died in 1971. Her three sons, Harry, David and Norman, each donated a bird bath in their mother's memory to three Johannesburg parks - The Wilds, Melville Koppies and Delta Park. In 1975 their father, Norman, began the conversion of a derelict building in Delta Park on the Braamfontein Spruit, into the South African Nature Conservation Centre.


A recent court judgement gives women in Muslim women in polygamous marriages equal rights of inheritance to their husband's estate. The case centred on a claim by Fatima Gabie HASSAM, a 61-year-old grandmother, who had applied for an order that polygamous Muslim marriages should be recognised for the purposes of the duty of support between spouses. Similar marriages conducted under the auspices of African custom are already recognised under the African Customary Marriages Act. Existing South African legislation does not recognise polygamous Muslim marriages. When a Muslim man in a polygamous marriage dies intestate, his wives cannot claim from his estate, it is divided among his children. In 2004 the Constitutional Court gave the right to inherit to monogamous spouses married in terms of Islamic law. Fatima had to approach the courts as the executor of her late husband's estate refused to allow her claim because she is his second wife. She worked in her husband’s shop for 36 years of her married life. They had four children. When she returned home from Mecca, she discovered he had married another woman, 19-year-old Miriam. When Ebrahim HHASSAM died of a heart attack in 2001, she was left penniless and without any rights to his small estate. She spent three months at Valkenberg hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown following her husband’s death. The executors of his estate wanted to evicted her from the two-bedroom Cape Flats home that she had shared with him for 36 years. Thanks to Fatima, legislation will now be changed. The Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act and the Intestate Succession Act have been referred to the Constitutional Court for the amendments to be made, following the ruling by Judge Dennis VAN REENEN.

18 July 2008


When I accept a research case, I never know where it might take me. I've had a case or two where I've researched a family lineage that linked to living person I know. Yet, when I started the research, I didn't know there was a connection. Small world! Recently, I finished work on a case where the very person I was asked to find (dead or alive) lives down the road from me! This person's brother lives in England, not too far from where my client lives. In another case, I had to trace a South African military veteran. Within an hour, I found that he used to live in the Free State. The search then went from Germany, to South Africa, Bosnia, to New York, and finally ended in Indonesia where he was working on contract. Who said genealogy is boring???

13 July 2008


Here's a story that proves public action can change things. The mining company, Born Free Investments, in Pretoria, announced earlier this month that it would drop its application to mine limestone in the Cango Caves area, citing public pressure. The company had applied to prospect on three farms - De Cango, Matjiesrivier and Voorbedagt. The Cango Caves are the jewel of the tourism industry in the southern Cape, with 300 000 visitors per year and generating R10 million. Michael SCHULTZ, town clerk of Oudtshoorn from 1959 to 1995 said that previous mining applications in 1966 and 1972 had failed.


A former student and teacher had a reunion in Port Elizabeth after 60 years. Dr. Dan LONGLAND (75) recently met up with his former teacher, Johan ENGELBRECHT (91). In 1948 Dan was a student at Hoërskool Martin Oosthuizen in Kakamas. He remembers Johan as a very strict, but wonderful teacher. He taught Afrikaans and history. Johan went on to become a principal at Hoërskool Cillié in Port Elizabeth, and a Member of Parliament for nine years. He is also the only surviving founding member of the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), which was founded in 1964. His autobiography, Op Hulle Hande Sal Hulle Jou Dra - 'n Dankbare Terugblik, was published in 1997. Dan became an Afrikaans and history teacher at Hoërskool Andrew Rabie in Port Elizabeth, and later a history lecturer at the University of Potchefstroom (now North West University).


In the 1800s there were more than 100 000 ox-wagons in South Africa, according to Erik HOLM. Erik restores ox-wagons, something he's done for more than 20 years. He's currently working on 16 wagons that are destined for game reserves as transport for visitors. Erik is a well-known entomologist who loves history. His interest in ox-wagons started in the 1980s. He restored his first ox-wagons for use on the guest farm Saartjiesnek in the Magaliesberg. his led to people donating old ox-wagon parts and requests for more restorations. He's restored more than 300 wagons so far. His daughter, Louise helps with the paint work. Erik is alwayss looking for ox-wagons, in part or in whole.


Hoërskool Ermelo's 1968 Matrics are having a reunion on 06 September 2008. Contact Ben VAN ZYL (083 601 3537) or Sannet (GREY) BOTHMA (072 153 3384) for details.

Hoërskool Langenhoven's 1959 Matrics are having a reunion in 2009. The Pretoria school is looking for teachers and students from those bygone days. Contact Gert MARAIS at (012 807 3613 or 082 781 2033) or Ds. Petrus MOOLMAN at 082 452 5826.


The Department of Arts and Culture, and the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) are working on a project to honour the life of Sarah BAARTMAN. The project involves her grave site at Hankey, which SAHRA declared a national heritage site last year. It is believed that the project involves an information centre detailing her lfe and the Khoisan people in general. An international competition will be run by the architectural department of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the design of facilities around the burial site.


Graaff-Reinet has a new claim to fame. Eira MAASDORP, owner of Reinet Antiques, believes that she may have the world's oldest surviving fruit cake. Eira bought the old house on the corner of Church and Somerset Streets twenty-four years ago. After restoring the house, she opened her antiques shop there. While cleaning out the loft during renovations, she found the cake under a glass cover. She put it on display as part of the building‘s history. Eira received a photograph of Frans and Carolina TE WATER's golden wedding anniversary in 1902. In the photo, there is a cake that Eira believes matches the cake she found. Frans Carel TE WATER and Carolina Theodora MULLER were married in Graaff-Reinet on 05 April 1852. Frans was born in Brussels in 1824 and arrived at the Cape in 1850 from Belgium. He became a town councillor and businessman in Graaff-Reinet. His first marriage was to Jacomina Jacoba VAN RENSBURG in December 1848. She was the widow of Johan Georg KREBS.. Jacomina died circa 1851 and there were no children of that marriage. Carolina was born in 1828 in Baeufort West, the daughter of Thomas Nicholas Germain MULLER and Hendrina Helena RABIE. Frans and Carolina had nine children. Frans died in December 1913 and Carolina in June 1904.


Dr. Ina LE ROUX is helping to leave a legacy that might have gone missing for good. She is helping to preserve folk stories of the Venda, by using needle and thread. Her efforts have reached as far afield as the USA, the Netherlands and the UK. Ina was an Afrikaans literature lecturer at the University of Venda, when a student told her that his grandmother knew many Venda folk stories (ngano). The following week, Ina drove with the student to his grandmother's home in a rural area. More students took her to see their eldery relatives who were full of Venda oral history. In 1996 Ina completed a doctorate on the interpretation of Venda folk stories. She wrote a book about Pastor Piet MAVHETHA, who helped her with her research. She also wrote a book with Prof. Jaco KRUGER about Venda songs. Ina came up with the idea of using the Venda women to bring their folk stories to life by getting them to do embroidery. So the Tambani Project was born, named after one of the oldest story tellers that Ina met. Ina had a few women living with her in Johannesburg while they learnt embroidery skills. Now there are two groups with 40 to 60 embroiders in Venda. Ina draws illustrations based on the folk stories, and the women embroider this on pieces of material (malappies), creating a quilt. She displayed their first creations at a church. One of the creations are now in Paducah, Kentucky, USA, where the American Quilters’ Society hold their annual conference. Together with the embroidered works, the buyer gets the printed folk story and a picture of the women who worked on that piece. The work has now progressed to include malappies handbags and tea cosies.


The Amathole Museum recently hosted the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the ship "Caesar Godefroy" which arrived on 07 July 1858 carrying settlers from Germany. Papers were presented on the impact of the German Settlers on the Eastern Cape and Border area. Arthur BECKER, a former Stutterheim Lutheran pastor, now with the German Lutheran Church in Phillipi, presented a talk on the small group of Sorbs / Wendish who settled in the area from Pommerania. Other topics included The German Legion Revisited by Dr. Keith TANKARD, The German Settler Women by Gill VERNON, The Impact of WWII on the South African German Community by Stephanie VICTOR and Mark PAUTZ on his Personal Journey through Genealogy. About 75 people attended the day, which was organised by Stephanie and the museum staff. A thanksgiving service was held on 13 July at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Stutterheim. An exhibition took place in the church hall, depicting the life of the settlers. There were tours around Stutterheim. Stutterheim was named after Maj.-Gen. Baron Richard VON STUTTERHEIM, Chief Commissioner of the British German Legion. The town was the headquarters of the 3rd Regiment.


Fred KIGOZI is the new Amathole Museum director. Fred is a former curator of animals at the Amathole Museum and spent the past six years working at the Bayworld Museum in Port Elizabth. The position at Amathole became vacant after the death of Lloyd WINGATE last year. Future plans for the museum include broadening the museum programme, especially outreach programmes to all the people of King William's Town and its surrounds; improving education programmes and positioning the museum as a research institution. The museum operates on a very limited budget making it difficult to fulfil all its goals. Lloyd WINGATE served the museum for over 30 years and was a computer whizz. Fred holds a Masters degree in Zoology from Rhodes University, a Bachelor of Science Honours degree from the University of Port Elizabeth, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Makerere University in his home country, Uganda. He has done several short courses in management, finance and strategic management. Kigozi worked for the Amathole Museum as the Curator of Mammals for six years, doing research, assisting in education programmes and exhibitions. He is married to Lydia, a teacher. The couple have four children - Annet, Jonathan, Joseph and James.


The Banyan Tree, once the meeting place of indentured Indians in Phoenix, has been lit up by the eThekwini municipality. The tree, planted at the Elim Residential Home in Grove End, is the national tree of India. It got its name from the bania, or Indian traders, who used to sit under its shade. Pastor David Nadesan of the Berea Church asked the council to recognise the tree’s heritage. The tree was planted when the first Indians arrived in Natal in 1860. The illumination would create interest among the community.


The Owl House and its art works is under scrutiny again, as a new book was launched. There has been controversy over who created the unique sculptures - the artist Helen MARTINS or her helper Koos MALGAS, both deceased. Koos' grand-daughter, Julia, and Jeni COUZYN, author and physiotherapist of Nieu-Bethesda, have worked on the book Koos Malgas, Sculptor of the Owl House. It contains photos of the works and Julia's memories of her famous grandfather. Jeni has written an introduction, which includes "Koos Malgas was an illiterate sheep-shearer, a binge drinker who, like the rest of his community, lived and died in poverty and obscurity. Yet, riding on his extraordinary talent, the remote village of Nieu Bethesda became internationally known as the home of a unique Outsider Artist - not Koos, but "Miss Helen", the eccentric recluse who employed him."

12 July 2008


Earlier this month, a man was caught in a sting operation selling bound volumes of 19th-century issues of The Natal Witness to an antiques dealer. He stole the volumes from the Msunduzi Municipal Library, which is undergoing building renovations. A concerned citizen was browsing through an antique shop when he saw the bound volumes dating from the 1860s to 1890s. He mentioned this to a relative who works at The Witness. Msunduzi librarian John MORRISON visited the antique shop and found that the volumes were from the newspaper collection in the library. The antiques dealer agreed to help set up a sting. He placed an order with the alleged thief, who soon arrived with more volumes. The man is involved with the construction process at the library. A 26-year-old man from Newholmes appeared in Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday charged with theft and possession of stolen property. He was released on bail and the case postponed to July 24. Well done to concerned citizen, whoever you are! About 19 years ago, Pietermaritzburg saw another theft of historical records. A city fireman stole records from the library and tried selling them to a dealer. The dealer alerted the library.

04 July 2008


A Tshwane Metro bus crashed through the palisades fencing of the Old Cemetery in Pretoria West on 02 July. The bus rode over 25 graves, stopping close to the grave of the artist J.H. PIERNEEF. Apparently the brakes failed. The damaged graves are those of early Pretoria pioneers and many are more than 100 years old.


Liesbert BRUWER is trying to locate pupils and teachers from Gert Maritz high school in Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg. If you attended and matriculated in 1968 and 1969, contact Liesbert at 072 270 4211. The reunion is planned for Easter weekend 2009.

John PERFECT of Kokstad is looking for Mansfield High School matrics from the years 1970, 1971 and 1972 for a reunion in October 2008. Contact him at 083 533 4496 or 039 727 4094 (after hours) or jlaperfect@telkomsa.net


The Scottish military cemetery at the corner of Peck and Beyers Streets are being renovated. There are about 40 Scottish soldiers, as well as a few Americans, buried here from the Anglo-Boer War. Most died in May 1901. Thirty-five of the names are known. The work is being done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The Scottish cemetery and garden of remembrance is on ground that used to be the site a hospital tent camp for the British. A woman's grave is also here. Susan HARMAN died at the beginning of the war in 1899. The CWGC will also renovate the British cemetery and memorial in Kroonstad. Most of the 500 memorial crosses have been stolen from this cemetery. The memorial, unveiled in 1977, is also missing. The Moslem cemetery at the West Park cemetery in Kroonstad is well-maintained. The Kroonstad Moslem Society looks after the cemetery at their own expense. They replaced the fencing after it was stolen.