13 April 2024


1961 edition
The classic South African recipe book Kook en Geniet was first privately published in 1951 by S.J.A. (Ina) de Villiers, after commercial publishers weren't interested in the 700 recipes manuscript. The first English edition, Cook and Enjoy It was published in 1961, also privately published. In 1961, Kook en Geniet was published by Central News Agency (CNA), and from 1972 by Human & Rousseau.

In 1990 Human & Rousseau obtained the production and marketing rights of the Afrikaans edition. The 1992 edition was a revised edition with a new look and incorporated the use of modern kitchen appliances such as microwaves and food processors in many recipes. Some recipes were newly tested and rewritten in an easier-to-follow style. Although a few recipes were edited and replaced, it retained the essence of Ina de Villiers' classic.

In 2009 Human & Rousseau published an updated and revised edition. Eunice van der Berg, the author's daughter, was in charge of the process. This edition returned to a format more in line with the original edition, but also incorporated a modern approach and look. Amongst the changes was a truncated title for the English edition, Cook and Enjoy. By 2005, about 500,000 copies of Kook en Geniet had been sold. When Ina passed away on 20 September 2010, more than a million copies of her books had been sold, making it the most successful South African recipe book to date. The book has never been out of print.

A children’s edition was also published, and co-authored with Eunice. In 2017, the iconic recipe book got its cooking TV show, Kook en Geniet, where the presenter visited a variety of South Africans in their kitchens to find out how the book influenced their cooking.

The 1972 edition only had 4 colour photos, and the rest were black & white. The books' photos, through the years, tell a story of interior decor and style in the South African house. Thousands of South African women grew up learning cooking from her books - in the early years, no bride in an Afrikaans family was married without a gift of the book. 

SJA de Villiers
Stoffelina Johanna Adriana (Ina) de Villiers was born on 24 February 1919 in Boshof, the middle daughter of Johannes Zacharias (Jan) van Schalkwyk and Eunice (Ina) Mehetabeel Ferreira. She was named after her grandfather, Stoffel Johannes Adriaan. The family lived in Pastorie Street in Boshof, where Ina grew up with her sisters, Louisa Talia and Hester Eliza. Their father was a teacher and later a school inspector and their mother was a housewife involved in community groups. 

The girls matriculated from Rooidakskool (Boshof Gekombineerde Skool). Ina’s father wanted her to study medicine, but after a few weeks at the University of Pretoria in 1937, she decided to change course. She moved to the University of Stellenbosch to study Home Economics. After graduating, she taught at Oranje Meisieskool in Bloemfontein for a year, before taking a job with the Department of Agriculture in Pretoria. 

Ina met her husband, Jacob (Japie) Eliza de Villiers (1912-1990) at a tennis match in Pretoria. He was a geologist with the Geological Survey Office in Pretoria. The newlywed couple were featured on the front page of Die Volksblad in February 1945. Ina suffered a miscarriage late in her first pregnancy, and to help her recover, Japie encouraged her to write a book. At the time, Ina's job involved travel by train to rural communities where she gave Home Economics lessons but realised that cooking lessons were more needed, so she started writing a cooking and kitchen guide - from how to measure ingredients, oven's best use, preparing vegetables and meat, to how to freeze food. She spent a year writing and learnt to type. When commercial publishers weren't interested in the manuscript, Japie decided they would publish it themselves, with Prof. Mattie Jooste of Stellenbosch as an adviser. They found a printer, Kaap en Transvaal Printers, who let Ina go in every day to help with the typesetting. Japie sold his gold shares and used the money to publish the book in April 1951. Marketing was done by word of mouth and mailing letters to bookshops. The book was mostly sold via mail order from their home in Marais Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria, for 23 shillings.

SJA de Villiers
Four years later, Eunice was born, and Heleen two years later. Ina spent her days working on the book and sales. The family's meals were mostly cooked by a domestic helper. Ina retired from her publishing business in 1990. Japie had retired at 55 and loved travelling. He died on 27 September 1990 at age 78, three days before returning from his long-awaited trip to China. Ina moved to the Azalea Court Old Age Home in Stellenbosch and died at age 91 on 20 September 2010 after battling dementia. 

Eunice van der Berg followed in her mother’s footsteps, studying Home Economics. Her husband is an Economics Professor at the University of Stellenbosch. They have two sons, Willem and Servaas, who live in the USA. Their daughter, Ineke, lives in Stellenbosch. 

Japie's favourite pudding

This classic self-saucing citrus dessert is from the original edition - Japie se Gunsteling. He had to test Ina’s recipes, and declared this his favourite, earning the recipe’s title. 

2 eggs

250 ml sugar

62 ml flour

250 ml milk

187 ml orange juice

12,5 ml lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)

25 ml melted butter

Beat the egg yolks well and fold in the sugar.

Add the flour and milk.

Add the juice, zest and melted butter and fold in the whisked egg white.

Pour the batter into a greased baking dish.

Place the baking dish in a large baking pan filled with about an inch of hot water.

Bake at 180ºC until golden or for about 45 minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

09 April 2024


Cornelis MOLL was born on 12 March 1815 in Cape Town as the 24th child of Cornelis MOLL snr. His mother was Anna Sophia NEYHOFF, his father's second wife. Cornelis jnr became the co-founder of the first Natal newspaper, De Natalier (1844-46). He had 11 children from two marriages. He died on 25 Apr 1880 in Nylstroom.
Cornelis snr was born in Nieuwendam, Holland, in January 1756. He died on 08 November 1837 in Wynberg, South Africa. He was employed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a deputy sailmaker in Julie 1778. He left Texel on 18 August 1778 aboard the Lam and arrived in Table Bay on 08 January 1779. His death notice lists his occupation as a maker. He made mattresses for the military at the Cape. When Cornelis snr died, 13 of his 24 children were already deceased. 

His first marriage was to Hendrika LANGE on 30 June 1782. They had 15 children. Hendrika was baptised on 25 November 1759 and was the daughter of Pieter LANGE and Eva VAN DE KAAP. She died on 04 February 1803, shortly after the birth of her last child. 

1) Johanna Margaretha MOLL baptised 06 Apr 1783. died circa 1805 in Cape Town. She married Frederik Hendrik NIEHAUS on 06 Dec 1801 in Cape Town. 

2) Cornelis Jacobus MOLL baptised 14 Mar 1784, died in childhood. 

3) Dorothea Fredrika Jacoba MOLL baptised 01 Jul 1785. 

4) Dina Catharina Johanna MOLL baptsed 17 Sep 1786. 

5) Neeltje Cornelia MOLL baptised 04 Nov 1787. She married Petrus Johannes KESSER on 14 Dec 1806 in Cape Town. 

6) Cornelis Claasen MOLL born in Cape Town, baptised on 08 Feb 1789, died on 11 Feb 1833 in Swellendam. He was a NGK minister in Uitenhage and Swellendam. He married Rachel Petronella DE VILLIERS on 10 May 1817 in Paarl. 

7) Catharina Alida MOLL born 07 Feb 1790. 

8) Johannes Cornelis MOLL born 12 Mar 1791, baptised 20 Mar 1791 in Cape Town, died on 28 May 1870 in Cape Town. His first marriage was to Margaretha Aletta BOTHA on 06 Apr 1817 in Swellendam. His second marriage was to Elizabeth BARRY on 21 Jan 1843 in Swellendam. 

9) Isabella Anna MOLL baptised 29 Jul 1792. Her first marriage was to Hendrik Barend NEYHOFF on 14 Jan 1810 in Cape Town. Her second marriage was to Petrus Johannes SOESTMA on 06 Nov 1846 in Cape Town. 

10) Gerhardus Johannes MOLL baptised 13 Oct 1793. 

11) Johan Petrus Hendricus MOLL baptised 11 Jan 1795. 

12) Christina Wilhelmina MOLL baptised 07 Aug 1796 in Cape Town, died 20 Sep 1853. She married Marthinus Casper Petrus VOGELGEZANG on 03 Nov 1816 in Cape Town. 

13) Cornelis Gysbert MOLL baptised 25 Mar 1798, died 08 Oct 1809. 

14) Hendrik Johannes MOLL baptised 13 Oct 1799 in Cape Town, died 30 Dec 1854 in Wellington. He married Maria Johanna DE VILLIERS on 06 May 1827 in Paarl. 

15) Hendrika Charlotte Jacoba MOLL baptised 27 Feb 1803. 

Cornelis snr' second marriage was to Anna Sophia NEYHOFF (NEUHOFF) on 29 May 1803. They had nine children. Anna was baptised on 15 August 1773 and was the daughter of Johan Heinrich NEYHOFF and Cornelia VAN DE KAAP. 

16) Jacob(us) Frederik MOLL baptised 08 Jul 1804 in Cape Town. 

17) Margaretha Cornelia MOLL born 28 Jun 1805, baptised 14 Jul 1805 in Cape Town. 

18) Jacobus Cornelis MOLL born 18 Nov 1806, baptised 30 Nov 1806 in Cape Town. 

19) Marthinus Petrus Johannes MOLL born 11 Mar 1808, baptised 20 Mar 1808 in Cape Town, died 06 Jun 1884. He was a blacksmith in Potchefstroom. He married Johanna Petronella Maria DE VOS on 28 Nov 1859 in Potchefstroom. 

20) Margaretha Cornelia MOLL born 23 Apr 1809, baptised 30 Apr 1809. 

21) Margaretha Cornelia MOLL born 30 Jul 1810, baptised 12 Aug 1810 in Cape Town. She married George Michiel GEYER on 11 Oct 1828 in Cape Town. 

22) Gerhardus Johannes MOLL born 03 Jun 1812, baptised 28 Jun 1812, died 31 Jul 1840 in Wynberg. He was a printer. 

23) Christiaan Cornelis MOLL born 29 Jun 1813, baptised 18 Jul 1813. 

24) Cornelis MOLL jnr born 12 Mar 1815, baptised 12 Apr 1815 in Cape Town, died 25 Apr 1880 in Nylstroom. His first marriage was to Josina Elizabeth VERVOORT on 06 Mar 1836 in Cape town. His second marriage was to Helena Gertruida Christina WALDECK circa 1843-46 in Graaff-Reinet.

Cornelis jnr was baptised on 12 April 1815 in Cape Town. He died on 25 April 1880 in Nylstroom. 
His first marriage was to Josina Elizabeth VERVOORT on 06 March 1836 in Cape Town. They had five children. 
Josina was baptised on 19 August 1804 in Cape Town and was the daughter of Marinus VERVOORT and Anna Jacoba VAN AS. She died on 29 July 1867. 

Cornelis jnr's second marriage was to Helena Gertruida Christina WALDECK on 29 May 1873 in Pretoria. They had 12 children. 
Helena was born in Graaff-Reinet and was the daughter of Pieter Nicolaas WALDECK and Helena Gertruida Christina DORMEHL. She died on 24 November 1887 in Steynsdorp, Komati Goldfields.

Cornelis jnr was a printer with an office at 12 Kortemark Street in Cape Town. This address served as a ticket office for Tot Nut en Vermaak in 1837. He worked on several Charles Etienne BONIFACE's theatrical and journalistic ventures in Cape Town in the 1830s. Cornelis bought the first hand-press in Cape Town. On 04 July 1837, he started a weekly newspaper, De Meditator - the third newspaper to be issued in Cape Town. Cornelis was the owner, editor and publisher, and operated from 31 Burg Street in Cape Town. The newspaper was in circulation until the end of 1838. He became insolvent and worked as a butcher, wagon maker, and journeyman for W. BUCHANAN of Cape Town Mail. 

In about 1843 he left for Pietermaritzburg with his brother Marthinus MOLL and family. In Pietermaritzburg, his son Cornelis Petrus learnt the printing business from his father. Cornelis (now the snr) co-founded De Natalier on 05 April 1844 with Charles Etienne BONIFACE. It was the first Dutch newspaper in Natal. Charles was the editor. The newspaper was not a success and Charles started working as a lawyer. Never financially successful, he died in Durban on 10 December 1853, having committed suicide by taking laudanum. 

In 1846 Cornelis was again insolvent. Later that year he published De Patriot with Arthur WALKER but it was short-lived and Cornelis stopped publishing to focus on printing the Zuid Oost Afrikaans (1853-1855) in Pietermaritzburg, and Die Ware Patrioot in Ladysmith until 1855. Cornelis was offered a printing opportunity in Potchefstroom and moved his family there. 

In 1856 he started a Dutch newspaper, De Oude Immigrant, and in 1857 De Staats Courant. The circulation was not good. In about 1863 he printed the Government Gazette but later sold the hand-press to the Transvaal Government. 

He was made Secretary of the ZAR, worked as a lawyer and later as magistrate for Pretoria District. On retirement, he was a member of the Transvaal Volksraad. He bought a farm in the Nylstroom District, was appointed Magistrate and became a farmer. His estate was found to be bankrupt when he died.

1) Cornelis Petrus MOLL born 02 Dec 1836, baptised 08 Jan 1837 in Cape Town, died on 07 Jan 1917 at Krokodildrift, Brits district. His first marriage was to Cornelia Jacoba Susanna RADEMEYER on 17 Mar 1865 in Pretoria. His second marriage was to Johanna Maria Catharina DE BEER. 

2) Josina (Josephina) Johanna MOLL born 22 Sep 1838, baptised 21 Oct 1838 in Cape Town, died circa 1919. She married William Thompson LAING on 25 Jun 1860 in Potchefstroom. 

3) Wilhelmina Jacoba MOLL born 01 Jul 1840, baptised 06 Sep 1840 in Cape Town. She married Hendrik Johannes MORKEL on 11 Aug 1862 in Winburg. 

4) Christina Petronella MOLL born 12 Oct 1842, baptised 27 Nov 1842 in Cape Town. 

5) Reinier Johannes Vanas MOLL born 28 Jul 1845-48 in Pietermaritzburg, baptised 03 Dec 1845 in Pietermaritzburg, died 28 Jun 1935 in Houghton, Johannesburg. He married Catherine Jane FRANCIS on 19 Jan 1875 in Heilbron. They were both buried on their farm, Marseilles No 87 (also known as Retreat) near Koppies. 

6) Helena Johanna MOLL born 28 Jan 1869, died on 04 Apr 1945 in Villiera, Pretoria. She married John (Jan) Thomas Martens LIVERSAGE in Steyndorp. 

7) Henry Harris MOLL born 14 Aug 1870, died on 17 May 1934 at Klipkop, Rustenburg district. He married Judith Maria Magdalena Johanna LODING in Pretoria. 

8) Charlotte Jacoba MOLL born circa June 1872-80, died on 26 Jan 1889 in Pretoria. 

9) Johannes Johan MOLL born 28 Feb 1874 in Pretoria, died on 11 Mar 1949 in Santa Clara, California, USA. He married Anna Berthinea Elizabeth Sampson HOLLAND on 14 Mar 1906 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. 

10) Pieter Dirk MOLL born 03 Jul 1875, baptised 09 Nov 1875 in Pretoria, died on 14 Jan 1935 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He married Jessie in 1905 in the USA. 

11) Robert Lourens (Lourenzo Robert) MOLL born 04 Jan 1877 in Pretoria, baptised 14 Oct 1877 in the NHK Waterberg. His first marriage was to Susanna Dorothea VAN KRAAYENBURG. His second marriage was to Maria Isabella WALKER .

01 April 2024


South Africa's early aviation is rich in stories and often little-known facts. I've looked at some people and events that shaped the industry.


John G. HOUSHOLD in 1871
William John HOUSHOLD immigrated to South Africa from England, with his wife Elizabeth and five children. In 1864, the family settled on a farm, Der Magtenberg, in the Karkloof area near Howick. The youngest son, John Goodman HOUSHOLD, was born on 9 December 1845 in Elm, Cambridgeshire. He had a fascination with birds in flight and yearned to fly like them. Family stories claim that in the early 1870s, John studied a vulture to design a glider. He presented his drawings to Bishop John William COLENSO in Pietermaritzburg. The bishop had studied mathematics at Cambridge University. He encouraged John to build the glider. It is said that John built the glider from wood or bamboo and oiled paper or silk, with the help of his brother Archer Start.  Once completed, they perched the glider on a cliff on the farm and Archer pushed his brother over the edge. A second flight but the glider clipped a tree and crashed, breaking one of John's legs. After John's accident, his mother feared that John's obsession with flight would incur God's wrath as she believed that human flight was a sinful and unnatural act. The brothers put the glider's remains away in a shed and eventually, it was burnt or destroyed when the farm was sold in the 1890s. 

All the evidence of his flights is anecdotal - no newspaper articles from the era, no letters or correspondence at the time, no drawings of the glider made by an observer or John himself. We do not know for sure whether these flights happened - we only have family stories from later generations, articles in newspapers from the 1950s onwards, and even a plaque, but no primary source evidence.  No drawings have been found - surely the bishop would've kept some kind of record for such a feat. He was a prolific author and there are collections of his writings and personal documents in South Africa. The Natal Witness and Natal Mercury newspapers of the 1870s would've reported something as astonishing as flight but there are no known such articles. As John died in 1906, he could've come across accounts of early flight pioneers and come forward with his story, but we do not know if he ever did. It has been said that he left instructions in his will that the glider and all his plans and calculations should be destroyed. 

An artist's drawing of what he thinks John's glider looked like. From a Sunday Tribune article dated 4 June 2017

There are photos of John prospecting for gold along the Tugela River. He ended up farming on his farm, Whim Wham, in the Umkomaas valley. John died on 13 March 1906 at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, age 60 years old, of pulmonary TB and exhaustion. At the time, his occupation was given as a boarding house keeper and he was living in Lower Umkomaas. John never married. I have seen his Last Will dated 24 November 1904 and it does not contain any instructions to destroy a glider or plans and calculations. His brother, William Frusher, was the executor and main beneficiary.

In 1995, a plaque commemorating the flight was erected on the road between Karkloof and Curry’s Post, 23km from Howick.

In 2015, Arnold DE KLERK, a former pilot in the South African Air Force and SAA who retired to Howick in 2004, saw a letter in a local newspaper complaining about the lack of signage to the plaque. He was vice-president of SAAFA in KwaZulu-Natal and after locating the plaque in a section of the Karkloof forest owned by SAPPI, he appealed for funds. SAAFA branches contributed funds, as did SAPPI. SAAFA members cleared the weeds and long grass and added directional signs at both ends of the D293 district road between Karkloof and Curry’s Post. A re-dedication ceremony was held on 7 November 2015.


On 18 December 1816, Theodore COUSSY, a Frenchman from Marseille, launched a balloon from the Castle in Cape Town - sending his cat up. There is a record of Theodore COUSSY serving with the 60th Regiment of Foot 1st Battalion at the Cape. He was issued with a colonial pass to remain in the Cape Colony after his discharge from the Regiment, having served his contract. In 1820 there was a court case against him at the Cape. 

The first manned balloon flight in South Africa took place on 9 April 1885 - Major ELSDALE of the Grenadier Guards reached a height of about 180 metres at Mafeking. He arrived in the country with eight non-commissioned officers and 7 tons of hydrogen balloons and equipment aboard the Pembroke Castle in March 1885. The balloons were used for aerial reconnaissance and artillery spotting for the Bechuanaland Field Force.

The first manned balloon flight in Cape Town was made by Stanley Edward SPENCER in his Montgolfier balloon on 6 February 1892.  He was famous for ballooning and parachuting in several countries, and later for building and flying an airship over London in 1902.

On 11 September 1892, Harry GOODALL (31) became the first South African air balloon fatality. Harry had advertised a balloon ascent and parachute descent at Jagersfontein. A large crowd gathered to see him. When the balloon was released it rose a short distance, and was then driven by the wind against the side of a hill. Harry struck the side of the basket hard and was dragged over boulders and bushes. He was born in Toronto, Canada circa 1861, the son of Edmund and Winifred GOODALL. He was buried at Maitland Cemetery.


Ralph MANSEL (born Raphael Sanzio MANSEL) flew the first heavier-than-air flight in the southern Cape in late October 1908 in a Voisin glider at a farm near Somerset West.  At the time he was the chief electrical engineer at De Beers Explosive Works in Somerset West. Ralph imported the glider from the Voisin brothers in France and it arrived in Cape Town on 20 October 1908 aboard the Varzin. To get airborne, two people had to hold ropes fixed to the glider and run as fast as they could down a slope. Ralph managed to get airborne to a height of two or three metres on several attempts. He wanted to fit the glider with an engine, but his failure to stay airborne for long discouraged him and he lost interest.


South Africa’s aviation heritage has links to France - the first aircraft flown in the country was a French design and the man who undertook that flight was French-Swiss. Orville WRIGHT achieved the first powered flight on 17 December 1903 at Kittyhawk, USA. Six years later, South Africa's first powered flight - and the first on the African continent - happened on 28 December 1909. Albert Louis KIMMERLING was a 27-year-old aviation pioneer when he flew over the Nahoon Racecourse in East London in a Voisin Canard Seaplane. South Africa had narrowly missed out on claiming the first powered flight in the southern hemisphere - Australia took that honour with its first powered flight on 9 December 1909.  The Voison company was founded in 1906 by the French engineer Gabriel VOISON and his brother, Charles. They built the first manned heavier-than-air aircraft, the Voison-Farman I, which achieved its first flight on 30 March 1907. 

During the years 1907 to 1909 John WESTON (born Maximilian John Ludwick Weston), a South African civil engineer, built the first powered aircraft made in South Africa at Brandfort in the Free State. His aircraft was based on the Voison design and that of Henri FARMAN, but it was underpowered and never flew. John shipped the aircraft to France where he had it modified and first flew it on 10 December 1910. 

The journal L’Aero reported on 1 January 1911 that John made a solo flight at Étampes on 30 December 1910. On 8 January 1911, the same journal reported that he had passed his pilot’s test on 5 January. He was granted Aviator’s Certificate No. 357 by the French Aero Club on 3 February 1911. 

After shipping his aircraft back to South Africa, John was able to fly the aircraft on 16 June 1911 and became the first person to pilot the first South African-designed and built aircraft. The Weston-Farman biplane flight happened outside Kimberley and lasted for eight-and-a-half minutes. He had secured agencies for Gnome engines, Bristol and Farman biplanes and the Bleriot monoplane. In 1911 he spent much of his time in South Africa and Mozambique demonstrating flying and taking up paying passengers. John's fascination with flight led to the founding of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa in 1911. 

While John was modifying his aircraft, the East London town council issued a public notice in early 1909 calling for interested parties to demonstrate a flying machine at the town’s Gala in December. Howard Farrar, Robinson & Co., a manufacturer of mining and general machinery, offered to import an aircraft and a pilot for the event. The company managed to secure a Voison biplane and Albert Louis KIMMERLING who was employed by the Voison brothers.  

Albert became interested in aviation following Louis BLÉRIOT's cross-channel flight in July 1909. In October, he joined the Voisin brothers in Mourmelon, where he learnt to fly.  His first flight was on 20 November 1909. He sent his family in Lyon a telegram with the news. On 27 November 1909, Albert (not yet having a pilot's licence) and his mechanic J. MOLLER, left France for South Africa with the Voisin aircraft in crates aboard the Kenilworth Castle. The voyage was almost a month-long, with a stopover in Madeira. They arrived in Cape Town on 14 December. Albert wrote to this family:

"Wednesday, December 15:  I finally got to know Africa. Wonderful feeling […] yesterday morning at four o'clock in wonderful weather. The spectacle was truly unique. When I arrived in the land of gold, I had the impression that life was truly golden. We disembarked and our arrival was truly curious. The city is very beautiful. Imagine a very pretty English town: large low houses with huge verandas, cars, trams, big stores with splendid vegetation, and sunshine! I had lunch at the Mount Nelson Hotel, the chic place; a park which is a marvel, ultra English comfort […]. In the evening I went to the theatre. Excellent troupe, clothing and great necklines."

They sailed further, arriving in East London on 18 December. Another letter from Albert to his family:

"Camping is the big sport here. There are around 400 tents around the hotel and on the beach where entire families from the interior of the country stay. A group of sportsmen wanting to follow the trials have already decided to go camping next to me. The population here considers me a phenomenon […]. They are in ecstasy and the other day when I revved the engine I thought all my spectators fell to their knees. I have invitations everywhere. I am a member of all clubs, free entry with nods to all shows. I wonder what will happen next if it succeeds. As for the misses, I am presented with an average of 5 per hour. They all want to come with me […]. There's a charming girl at the hotel who I'm flirting with and I think she'll get the prize. This will make me enemies! I would love to have you here." 


After unpacking the crates and getting the aircraft ready for flight, the first flight happened on 28 December at East London’s Nahoon Racecourse (the present-day site of Stirling High School).  Albert flew over the racecourse at a height of 20 ft and and a speed of 30 miles per hour.  

East London’s daily newspaper, The Daily Dispatch, carried an article the following day: "A great surprise greeted a few in the know who were present on the racecourse last evening between the hours of 18:00 and 19:30 and they witnessed the first practice of the flying machine. Monsieur Kimmerling left the garage with the biplane to make a trial of the course. The manner in which he was able to manipulate the enormous machine at the rate of 30 miles an hour, sweeping past with a speed that could almost be said to be appalling, was a sight indeed. The occasion was heightened by a setting sun, which marked the close of day with a gorgeous rosy glow silhouetted against the spires of the church steeples and the residences of Southern Wood. Twice Kimmerling travelled over the racecourse, guiding his machine with great ease, turning off like a flash of lightning when it appeared almost certain that he would crash into the grandstand.".  

The Star newspaper reported that "The airplane responds to every wish, swooping, turning and twisting in marvellous ways at about 30 miles an hour." 

Early the next day, Albert took the aircraft out for a preliminary flight but before taking off it collided with a fence and suffered minor damage which was repaired the same day. On the same day, the event sponsors made an announcement calling for a female passenger to be the first woman to fly in South Africa. Miss Ismay NANGLE was chosen from more than 200 volunteers to join Albert on 01 January 1910. On the first day of the new year, the aircraft took off,  rising to a height of about 15 ft and continued flying before it disappeared over a hill as the spectators watched. They heard a bang and the flight ended in a minor crash - South Africa's first air crash - with a damaged propeller. Flying was cancelled for the day as there was no spare propeller available. To notify people whether flying would take place, the city had a flag system in place. A white flag signified that the weather was favourable for the flight, a red flag that the flight would take place at the advertised time, and a black flag meant flying was cancelled for the day.  As a black flag was flown that day, Ismay missed out on the chance to make history.  

On 8 January 1910, Albert informed his mother that everything had gone well until then, but that he had a small propeller accident. Albert, his mechanic, and Michael Joseph RIES left for Johannesburg on 15 January, along with the aircraft. Michael had previously been employed by Howard Farrar, Robinson & Co., and he was nominated to witness the flights so that Albert could be paid. In Johannesburg, Silvio Fonio MARUCCHI , an Italian immigrant tool maker, made a metal propeller as ordered by the company Condac & Robert. The work was done by hand and took seven weeks. A flight was arranged for 19 February but was postponed to 22 February. The flag system was installed above Corner House and Cuthberts Building. Due to heavy rainfall over a few days, the flights only happened on 26 February. 

On 26 February 1910, Albert flew from the top of Sydenham Hill. It was in Johannesburg that South Africa's first fare-paying passenger, Thomas THORNTON from the South Africa Aero Club, was taken for a short flight from Sydenham Hill on 19 March 1910. Thomas paid £100 for the flight that lasted a few minutes over present-day Orange Grove, according to The Friend newspaper dated 21 March 1910. 

On 2 March, Albert undertook a few flights and on the seventh flight a fragment of cable damaged the propeller. The final demonstration flight was set for 19 March - and on that day Albert flew 4 km, the longest flight in South Africa at the time  The crowd asked for one more flight, so numbered entry tickets were issued. The owner of the winning ticket would get a chance to fly with Albert. On 25 March a large crowd gathered at Sydenham. During the test flight, Albert turned too sharp and had to land, damaging one of the elevators. The winner of the winning ticket did not come forward. Albert took newspaper reporter Julia Hyde STANSFIELD on a flight, making her the first female aircraft passenger in South Africa. After her flight, she said, "Flying is like being in a runaway motor car with a clear road ahead, there being a glorious feeling of recklessness."

Albert's mechanic, J. MOLLER, left South Africa in 1910 and was replaced in March by Horace BARNES of East London.

On 26 April, Albert and his team arrived in Durban and booked into the Marine Hotel. He flew a test flight on 28 April at Jacobs. The following day he flew again but on landing the right side of the aircraft touched the ground. The damage was repaired and the public display began in the afternoon with a 1,6 km flight. Albert flew two more flights that day. On 01 May, another public display took place in the afternoon at the Durban Bay Lands Estate in Clairmont.  A crowd, estimated at 1,500,  watched Albert make three flights, the last of which was 10 km and described by Albert as his first real flight in South Africa. The next day, another two flights were flown over Clairmont. 

Albert's last flight in South Africa was on 7 May in Clairmont. A notice in the Natal Mercury announced that Albert would take a passenger with him and if the weather was favourable, Horace BARNES would make his first solo flight. In an interview, Albert said he'd spent a few days training a South African pupil to fly the Voisin. Horace later went on to fly the Voisin on occasions when Albert wasn't well. He became the first South African to fly an aircraft in South Africa. His daughter, Molly Edna, had many newspaper clippings of her father's flying.  On 6 May, King Edward VII died and South Africa joined the Empire in mourning. Albert's final public display was officially postponed for a week. However, he decided to arrange three flights on 7 May.  

On 8 May, Albert took the train to Johannesburg as he had to appear in court on 10 May. An advertising agency was suing him for £7.10.0 for placing advertising on windows and tramcars during February and March. There was no dispute over the fact that Albert and Michael had ordered the advertising and that G. Fox & Co., were previously responsible for advertising but their contract had been cancelled due to non-payment. As a result, the advertisements were being arranged by Howard Farrar, Robinson & Co. Albert argued that he went with Michael to place the advertisements on behalf of Howard Farrar, Robinson & Co., and this could not have been done in his personal capacity as he was only the pilot on a fixed salary of £300 for each 10 days’ display. The court accepted that he was not liable for the advertising costs. In the second case, he was found liable for £16 in respect of services rendered by the Orange Grove Hotel. 

Albert returned to Durban to undertake his last flight in South Africa at Jacobs on 14 May. The wind had risen and Albert couldn't take Horace with him, nor let him fly solo. Albert took off in front of a crowd of about 400 spectators. It was a bumpy flight at 50 ft and he came down roughly, the right side of the aircraft hitting the ground while the motor was still working. The impact wrecked the aircraft beyond repair. During his time in South Africa, Albert had five crashes. He left Durban on 15 May by train to Cape Town where he boarded the Armadale Castle to return to France. 

A group of Durban businessmen had formed the Durban Aviation Syndicate and bought the aircraft from Albert. Horace BARNES would be the pilot. On 31 May 1910, the Union of South Africa came into existence. As part of the celebrations, the Voisin was put on display in its crashed state in the centre of Durban for a week and funds were raised from the public for repairs. The Durban Aviation Syndicate announced that it intended to establish a permanent aviation ground at Clairmont, from where the Voisin would be flown by Horace. They hoped to acquire another aircraft to train student pilots and maintain aircraft. The aircraft was repaired by 6 June. Michael claimed ownership and arranged for the aircraft to be exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Show in Pietermaritzburg in June 1910. The aircraft was transported to Pietermaritzburg on 14 June and was ready for viewing on 17 June. There is no record that the aircraft ever flew again, nor records that the Syndicate made good on their plans. 

In 1978 the National Monuments Council erected a commemorative plaque on the corner of Gleneagles and John Bailie roads, outside Stirling High School. The French Consul at the time, Jean Pierre Fernand VIAENE, was in attendance. In 2020 the Border Historical Society commissioned a new commemorative plaque, which was installed on the original concrete plinth. The plaque was manufactured, donated and installed by John SMALL of Plastic Art and Sign.


It was another Frenchman, Alfred Louis RAISON, who built the first South African-built aircraft to fly in the country. He came to South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, and remained. He went into partnership with a wealthy Johannesburg timber merchant, Cecil Joyce Vergottini BREDELL after he'd repaired Cecil's car. Cecil bought a JAP V aircraft engine and asked Alfred to build him an aircraft. Alfred built a monoplane similar to that in which BLÉRIOT had crossed the English Channel, using a manual sent by his brother who worked at BLÉRIOT’s factory. Cecil flew the aircraft on 30 April 1911 at Highlands North, Johannesburg. He made several flights. The aircraft was later flown by M.L. WEBSTER, but it is not known what became of it. Alfred never built another and went back to mechanical engineering.

Eighteen days after Cecil's first flight another aircraft built in South Africa flew at Rosebank in Johannesburg. It was a Farman-type biplane, built by Adolph BRUNETT, but it crashed during a flight the next day. 


On 29 May 1911 a Belgian aviator, Josef Henri Charles CHRISTIAENS, flew a Bristol Boxkite at the Pretoria Racecourse as part of a Pretoria festival for the first anniversary of the Union of South Africa. He brought two Bristol biplanes (Nos. 27 and 28). He took delivery of them on 19 January 1911, and after successful flights in Singapore on No. 27, he went on to Cape Town and Pretoria, where he sold No. 28 to John WESTON, who became the Company’s agent in South Africa. Josef completed several flights in Pretoria, and took up passengers: Mrs Matt LOCHHEAD (wife of the secretary of the Festival Committee; Carrie BAIDWIN who married Matthre LOCHHEAD) and Mrs GLENNON. After the festival, he took part in an aviation display at Turffontein. John WESTON bought the Bockite and flew it in Johannesburg, Lourenço Marques, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, East London, King William's Town and Queenstown.


Evelyn Frederick (aka Bok) DRIVER was born in 1881 in Pietermaritzburg. He attended Hilton College and SACS, where he earned his nickname because of his rugby skills. He received Aviator’s Certificate No. 110 of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale on 1 August 1911. On 11-12 September 1911, Bok took part in the Royal Mail Aerial Postal Service flown to mark the coronation of King George V. He flew with Clement GRESSWELL and Gustav HAMEL. The flight was from Hendon Aerodrome to Windsor,  and on his return Bok landed at Nazeing Common, North London. 

In 1911 Bok, Guy LIVINGSTONE and Cecil Compton PATERSON (Aviator’s Certificate No. 30) formed the African Aviation Syndicate. Bok and Cecil were the pilots and instructors, while Guy was the managing director. The syndicate had a Paterson biplane and a Bleriot monoplane to start with. In 1912 it acquired another Paterson and Bleriot. On 25 December 1911, Cecil was airborne for 35 minutes, a South African record, but he crashed the next day. On 27 December 1911, Bok flew the first airmail to Oldham’s Field in Muizenberg from Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town.  This made him the only aviator to have flown the inaugural airmail service in two countries. Bok flew a second mail from Kenilworth to Muizenberg on 2 January 1912. The syndicate also gave demonstrations in Durban and from Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg. Bok made the first cross-country flight from Kimberley to Klerksdorp, with six stops during the flight of four hours and forty-two minutes. 

The African Aviation Syndicate moved to Kimberley and established its headquarters at Alexandersfontein. Plans were made for the establishment of a flying school, but disagreement between the principals forced the syndicate into liquidation in September 1912. A group of Kimberley men bought the assets at a public auction in 1912. Cecil went on to start the Paterson Aviation Syndicate in July 1913. Guy returned to England. Bok went to England in 1914 and was given a commission in the Royal Flying Corps. In 1915 he was sent to German South West Africa as a military pilot, but a year later he began to suffer ill health. He died on his farm in Tylden near Ladysmith on 22 July 1946.

Bok used to take his son Lynn flying from the age of three. His wife, Minnie, didn't approve. She later remarried the non-flying Dr Harold (Heli) JOWITT. Lynn's son, Jon DRIVER-JOWITT, flew gliders and powered aircraft recreationally. Jon’s son, Simon DRIVER-JOWITT, was a southern African bush pilot and later joined Nippon Cargo Airlines.


Sydney William (Jack) VINE, was the chauffeur and Rolls Royce mechanic to the first Governor-General of the Union of South Africa (Viscount GLADSTONE from 1910-1914), built an aircraft at Government House in Pretoria in 1922. As he could not get an engine for it, he used it as a glider on several flights.


Christoffel Johannes J ERASMUS is a South African aviation pioneer often forgotten by history. He was born on 29 January 1909 in Somerset East, the son of Phillip Daniel Stephanus ERASMUS and Cornelia Margaretha NEL. In the early 1930s, Christo lived at Charlton in Somerset East and attended Gill College. After finishing his schooling, he chose engineering instead of the family farming tradition. He started as an apprentice at a local motor garage. In 1927, at age 18 years, he left for the USA and took a course in motor engineering and construction. He met Ed HEATH, an aircraft engineer, test pilot and daredevil. This meeting led to Christo changing his studies to aeronautical engineering. and he enrolled at Michigan State University. He gained his Ground Engineering and Pilot's Certificates in Chicago. After graduating, he worked he worked as a test pilot for Heath's company. Modifications were made to the Heath Parasol based on Christo's evaluation and suggestions. Christo also flew the company's Baby Bullet in pylon racing.

In 1930 Christo took part in an aerial display using his aircraft. He was involved in a collision with another aircraft and suffered head injuries.  He spent two weeks in a coma before making a full recovery.

He returned to South Africa in 1931 and set up the Erasmus Aircraft Company of SA with his brother. The company's first aircraft was a single-seat high-wing monoplane based on the Heath Parasol - the Erasmus SA 40 (ZS-AEL). Once built, Christo carried out a successful test flight in March 1932, circling over the town at a height of over 3,500 ft.  Christo applied for a Certificate of Airworthiness. Months later, Major Allister MILLER, D.S.O. visited Somerset East to inspect the aircraft. He took it on a test flight. He was highly impressed, but in Port Elizabeth, the civil aviation officials decided that the tubular axle was bent. They had it removed and straightened by a local blacksmith, who failed to restore the original temper.  William (Bill) Henry PIDSLEY flew the aircraft to Somerset East. On landing, the weakened axle gave way. Christo later used the aircraft when he started the airmail flight between East London - Port Elizabeth Cape Town with Allister MILLER. Shortly thereafter the aircraft was written off after a collision. Christo built another monoplane, SNA-40, and took it on a test flight. On 15 July 1936, he removed the engine from the aircraft for the final time. 

When World War II broke out in September 1939, Christo stopped his aircraft building. At the time, he was the country's only qualified and licensed pilot and flight engineer. He focused on being a ferry pilot and ferried many Junkers aircraft from Germany for Union Airways.  During one such flight, he had engine problems over the Mediterranean Sea but he managed to get the aircraft to Eygpt where he repaired it himself and flew home. 

Christo died on 28 July 1957 at the Boksburg-Benoni Hospital of an aneurysm. At the time he was a director of Leggats Garage in Benoni and lived at 75 Fifth Street, Northmead, Benoni. He married Magdalena Maria BOSHOFF in Bethal. They had two sons: Phillip Daniel Christoffel (1944-) and Alexandre Georg (1947-). In the 1960s Christo's sons Phillip and Alex started rebuilding their father's aircraft in Benoni.  


John WESTON was born Maximillian John Ludwig Weston on 17 June 1871/2 in the vicinity of Fort Marshall in the Vryheid District of Natal, the son of an unknown father and Anna MacDOUGAL. In May 1879 a British military supply depot named Fort Marshall was established not far from Isandlhwana. The Fort was in use until July 1879 by British units. Little is known of John's parents and his early childhood and there are many stories but little evidence. It is believed that his father was a Scotsman and his mother was American or English. His father died when he was 12 years old. His mother and his sister, Lucy, died in China in 1928 from cholera whilst undertaking relief work. In a letter dated 1941 to his daughter Kathleen, he wrote that “my separation from my parents in youth has always weighed upon me as the saddest tragedy of my life”.

When John was seven years old, the family moved to Somaliland where his father trained the locals to fight the slave merchants. The family moved to the USA when John was 10 years old. By 1888 he was in Liège, Belgium, as an engineering apprentice. He worked with J. Jaspar and later with the de Puydt and Poncin Lighting and Power Company. He lived in Liège until about 1900 when he was still working with de Puydt and Poncin but had established his own company, M Weston and Co, in Birkenhead, England. 

For some time during the Anglo-Boer War, he fought on the Boer side. He applied for British citizenship on 4 January 1902. He also applied for membership in the British Institution of Electrical Engineers in January 1902. In September 1904 he applied for membership of the Royal Geographic Society. 

In an interview that he gave to the South African Sunday Times in 1924, he stated that he had lost everything in the Anglo-Boer War. After the peace treaty was signed on 31 May 1902, he borrowed £100 from a friend and left for the USA in July or August. There he was in contact with the Russian Embassy in Washington DC and obtained a post as engineer on railway construction in the Far East on the lines the Russians were building (this was likely around Lake Baikal). His family said he was fluent in Russian. 

John's successful application for membership of the Royal Geographical Society was dated 17 September 1904 and gave his address as “c/o Mr Papendorf, Somerset East, Cape of Good Hope, S. Africa”. On top of the page, a handwritten addendum reads “up to Jan 3.05 address Poste Restante, Guillemins, Liege, Belgium, after to address below”. By early 1905 he was in South Africa.

In 1906, John decided to travel through Africa. He placed an advert in The Friend newspaper, looking for two travel companions. Two brothers from Stellenbosch answered him. He travelled to Stellenbosch to meet with them, but their father had passed away and they could no longer do the trip. John met their sister, who had arrived from Koffiefontein for the funeral. In August, while John was living on a farm in the Bultfontein district, he decided to marry her and went to Koffiefontein to propose. She accepted and they went to Bloemfontein where they got married in the Magistrate's Court. John and Elizabeth Maria Jacoba (aka Lily) ROUX had three children: Anna Stuart born in 1908, died in 1998 (married Alfred Murray WALKER in 1938), Kathleen born in 1912, died in 1989 (married Carl REIN in 1949) and Maximillian John born 1915, died 1998 (married Joan Isabella SAUNDERS in 1943). The young family lived at Doornpoort, then Kalkdam (Hoopstad before moving to Brandfort in about May 1909. They lived at 26 Loop Street, in Brandfort. John had his workshop behind the house. In February 1913 a fire destroyed his workshop and with it his dreams of establishing a flying school in Bloemfontein. At the time, there were five completed aircraft engines in the workshop. A plaque was unveiled in the 1960s: "The first Aeroplane to be completed in South Africa was assembled on this site by Rear Admiral John Weston, and was used by him for demonstration flights in 1911. In 1913 his workshops were destroyed by fire." The Brandfort house was sold in April 1928.

In June 1913, John was back in Britain. A letter from him to the Diamond Fields Advertiser in October 1913 stated “I am conducting my experiments, and work a few hours daily with Willows Aircraft Company Ltd., builders of military dirigibles”. 

Early in 1914, he was granted British Aeronaut’s Certificate No. 38 as well as the Airship Pilot’s Certificate No. 23. He left Britain for South Africa on 21 February 1914.

With the outbreak of World War I, he joined the South African forces and was in charge of preparing an airfield in German South West Africa. 

The Saxon docked at Tilbury on 9 September 1915 with the Weston family onboard. John transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service. His Royal Naval Air Service record of service shows that, on 1 July 1916 he was commissioned as a Temporary Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. On 28 September he was re-appointed, as Temporary Acting Lieutenant. While in France, he did French-English interpreting work. On 5 January 1917, he was appointed to compass and intelligence duties. On 2 April 1917, he was appointed to No. 2 Wing for compass duties on the island of Lemnos in Greece. During 1917 he was also in Egypt for a short period, being transferred on 8 June to intelligence duties in Port Said and back to Lemnos on 3 September for compass duties.  

John's contribution to the Royal Hellenic Naval Air Service is confirmed by Thanos MURRAY-VELOUDIOS, a pilot and officer in the Royal Hellenic Naval Air Service. There was a Greek squadron under direct Royal Naval Air Service command which carried out operations in the northern Aegean. The squadron was originally organised in 1917 by Captain John WESTON of the British RNAS jointly with Lieutenant Commander A. MORAITINIS RHN, in Mudros on the Island of Lemnos. 

The 1 April 1918 Air Force list shows John as a Lieutenant RAF in the Administrative Branch. In the March and April 1919 lists, he is a Major RAF in the Administrative Branch. In the October and November 1919 lists he is a Squadron Leader in the Technical Branch.  When the Royal Air Force was created on 1 April 1918 by the merger of the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, John was transferred to the FAR with the rank of Lieutenant. In August 1918 he was a temporary Major whilst "specially employed” - his posting to the British Naval Mission to Greece as Head of the Technical Section. On 9 January 1919, he was made a Major “in recognition of distinguished service”. 

In July 1919 John was awarded the Cross of Officer of the Royal Hellenic Order of the Redeemer. Four years later he was given the honorary rank of Vice-Admiral in the Royal Hellenic Navy for services rendered to the Greek Ministry of Marine. Major John WESTON left the military on 22 November 1923. He was awarded two medals, the Victory and the British War Medal, and retained the rank of Major. He never returned to aviation.

In 1919, John travelled to the USA for two weeks "on duty to the US Navy". On 25 March 1921, he was returning from another trip to the USA, aboard the Panhandle State bound for Britain - as a naval officer in First Class.

During one of these USA trips, he bought a Commerce truck. He shipped it to Britain where he converted it to a motor caravan over six months. He named it Suid-Afrika. When the conversion was completed the family travelled around Britain. In about 1921, took it on a cross-channel ferry to Belgium. From Antwerp, they drove to the river Scheldt where a yacht left to John by a friend was tested. His wife did not enjoy sailing and the yacht was sold. The family travelled overland to Greece where they lived for two years.

In 1923-24 they made the return journey from Greece to Britain. In early May 1924, they left Britain for South Africa aboard the Adolf Woermann. Once in Brandfort, the motorhome was renovated and used in trips around southern Africa in 1925. 

In 1931 the family started a Trans-Africa trip, with The Star newspaper reporting that in June 1931 the family had arrived in Johannesburg by motor caravan en route to Cairo. The journey started at Cape Agulhas and ended in England. By October 1932 John was back in South Africa on a short trip. 

The family returned to South Africa in 1933, and in June 1933 John paid £5,500 for three farms (Newcastle 2378, Kilburn 2466, and subdivision A of the District of Bergville) in Natal. He named the property Admiralty Estates. He continued to travel often. The motorhome was used by John until his death, after which it was stored and later rebuilt according to its Suid Afrika phase. In 1975 it featured in the International Veteran and Vintage Car Rally from Durban to Cape Town and later was donated to the Winterton Museum in KwaZulu-Natal by John's son-in-law, Carl REIN.

By 1937-1938 the children had left the family home. This led to a bitter fracture between John, Anna and Max, even into 1950. 

On 21 July 1950, John and his wife were in the dining room of the farm Newcastle when they were attacked and robbed by three masked men. Lily regained consciousness three days later in the Harrismith Hospital, but John died three days after the attack after having undergone surgery for head injuries. The death certificate listed his occupation as Naval Officer and his age as 78 years and 1 month. He was cremated in Johannesburg on 27 July at Braamfontein Crematorium. Fred MZIMELA (aged 40), a butcher, Mpondo ZONDO (30), a police constable, and Msolwa ZONDO (18), a labourer and brother of Mpondo, were found guilty of first-degree murder in the High Court in Ladysmith. 

After John's death, Kathleen and her husband Carl were involved in a three-year legal battle against her mother, sister and brother regarding Admiralty Estate, which they finally inherited in a settlement. Lily died on 14 April 1967.

Albert Louis KIMMERLING was born in Saint-Rambert-Île near Lyon, France on 22 June 1882, the son of Jean Victor and Marie KIMMERLING. He was of Franco-Swiss heritage. He studied at the Ampère school in Lyon and was interested in mechanics. After finishing school, he joined Etablissements Cottin-Desgouttes, a truck and automobile manufacturer, in Lyon. While travelling in Canada he observed ice hockey and introduced it to Europe. He excelled as an ice hockey player. Albert also raced cars until the Wright brothers gave a demonstration at Le Mans in August 1908.  He left ice hockey and got involved in aviation. In October 1909 he joined the Voisin Company, a factory for the construction and sale of aircraft, and learnt to fly. On 8 November 1910, Albert was awarded his Aviator's Certificate by the Aéro-Club de France (No. 291). In November 1910 he was hired by an aircraft builder, Roger SOMMER, who later founded the Bron Aviation School with Albert as its first director.  During 1911-1912, Albert took part in numerous aviation shows and races in France and Switzerland. He left Lyon in 1912 to take charge of the Sommer flying school in Bouzy in Marne. He died on 9 June 1912 at Mourmelon, France, when a new two-seater Sommer monoplane he was piloting on a test flight crashed. His passenger, the Sommer factory engineer, Marcel TONNET, also died in the crash.  Albert was buried at Bursinel cemetery in Switzerland. 

Alfred Louis RAISON was born on 2 March 1883 in Les Essarts, France, the son of Pierre and Louise RAISON. He came to South Africa to fight in the Anglo-Boer War on the Boer side. After the war he established a mechanical engineering business in Zeerust, repairing bicycles, engines and cars. In 1910, he moved to Johannesburg to work as foreman at R. and T. Burgess, Motor Engineers. Alfred and a friend later established an engineering firm, Raison and Massi, in Booysens, Johannesburg. After his retirement he settled on the farm Buffelskloof in the Naboomspruit district. He became a South African citizen in 1958. He married Beatrice Isabel HARGREAVES-SMITH on 10 February 1925 in Johannesburg, with whom he had two sons: Lawrence Alfred and Victor Louis Hargreaves. He died on 26 October 1964. One of his grandsons, Alfred Pierre RAISON, was an aviation technician at South Afican Airways.  

Thomas THORNTON was born circa 1862 in England. He died on 26 December 1915, age 53 years, in a hospital in Pretoria of double pneumonia. He was buried at the New Cemetery (Rebecca Street) in Pretoria. His last occupation was Sanitary Inspector at Van Ryn Deep Gold Mine in Benoni. He never married.

Julia MURPHY was born circa 1864 in England, the daughter of James MURPHY. She was adopted by Thomas HYDE and used his surname. Julia married James Walter STANSFIELD on 03 January 1889 in Blackpool, England. She died on 06 March 1936, age 73 years, in London, England from peritonitis. Her last residential address was 12 St George's Square, Westminster, London. She wished to be cremated and her ashes scattered in the River Thames or the sea.  In 1907 she was presented with a silver tray from the Journalists of Johannesburg, for her journalism at the Rand Daily Mail and Sunday Times.

She had two children with James - Walter Hyde STANSFIELD (born 1891 in Blackpool, lived in Blantyre, Malawi) and Margery STANSFIELD (born 1907 in Bedford, England, lived at 91 Smirrells Road, Birmingham, England). She owned land on Seventh Street, Parkhurst and Tenth Avenue, Orange Grove, which was bequeathed to her son.

In Malawi, the Stansfield Regatta is held annually in memory of Walter Hyde STANSFIELD, who was a keen sailor. He built a home in 1930 - the present-day Le Meridien Resort - on the shores of Lake Malawi. Walter served in World War I and was mentioned in despatches. He was a driver in the British Army (Nyasaland Rhodesia Force / Mechanical Transport). In 1921 he was a transport contractor in South Africa. He died on 17 August 1991 at Salima, Malawi.

Michael Joseph RIES was born circa 1871 in King William's Town, the son of Nicolaas and Mary Ann Elizabeth RIES. He died on 10 April 1921 at Umtata Hospital. At the time, he was a merchant in Umtata. He married Harriet ALLEN and had three children: Antony Michael, Esme Geraldine and Doreen Olive. He had a farm in East London, as well as other land. 

Ralph MANSEL was born Raphael Sanzio MANSEL on 24 October 1874 in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Robert and Agnes Douglas MANSEL. He died on 8 September 1927, at age 52 years, at home (44 Wanderers Street, Wanderers View, Johannesburg) of paraffin poisoning. He was buried at Brixton Cemetery in grave number 8923. He was a mechanical/electrical engineer. He never married. His brother, Robert, died in Rhodesia in 1928. His sister, Agnes Liddell, married Michael Alexander GREIG and lived in London, England. According to his estate, he had registered patents in Canada, Norway, Japan, England and the USA.

In November 1893, the board of directors of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited decided to build a factory for the manufacture of explosives in the Cape Colony. Colonel William Russel QUINAN of Pinole Works, California was appointed to undertake this task. Until 1896 when Modderfontein in the Transvaal commenced production, all explosives used in the diamond and gold mines in the Cape and Transvaal were imported. The location of this factory was at Paardevlei, still known to residents as the De Beers or Dynamite Factory.  Workshops, administrative buildings, a laboratory, management residences, worker barracks, explosive houses shrouded by concrete blast walls, a power station, and a plant for sulphuric acid and nitric acid were built. On 27 July 1903, the licence to manufacture explosives was granted and De Beers Explosive Works went into full production. On 7 August 1903, the first trainload of explosives left the factory for the Kimberley diamond mines. Colonel QUINAN changed the company name to Cape Explosive Works (Capex) in 1906 and later bought a steamer, the SS South Africa. After he died in 1910, his cousin, Kenneth QUINAN, took over. In 1914 a plant to refine crude glycerine was built and another steamer was bought, the SS Gardner Williams. In 1919, Kenneth expanded the products, building a fertiliser factory and a new chemical plant. In 1932 a new plant was built for the manufacture of nitric acid from ammonia. In 1949 the production of paints and vinyl cloth, film and sheet was started. Dynamite was last produced at AECI Somerset West in 1986, after which the plant was decommissioned. The elegant, stately period homes and buildings, designed mainly by Sir Herbert BAKER and set in shady parkland, have been preserved and maintained. The grounds have been successfully rehabilitated and remediated.

Horace BARNES was born on 14 December 1884 in East London, the son of Arthur McDonald BARNES and Amelia McDONALD. He died on 10 August 1972 at Andrew McColm Hospital in Arcadia, Pretoria. His last residential address was 244 Glynn Street, Hatfield. He married Edna Merle LARTER on 10 January 1912 in East London - at the time he was a merchant.  She died on 30 June 1970 in Pretoria. They had three children: Daphne Amelia (married LESSON-GREENE), Yvonne Merle (married Victor Emil JOUBERT) and Molly Edna (married Leonard BIRLEY in 1941, married George Ryves WILSON in 1950). Molly Edna died on 03 July 1998 in Port Alfred.

Silvio Foino MARUCCHI was born on 3 July 1887 in Masserano or Biella, Italy, the son of Luigi and Marietta MARUCCHI. He died on 17 January 1968 in Pretoria. His last residential address was 53 Moulton Avenue, Waverley, Pretoria. He married Antonietta Marie PELLA on 30 June 1923 in Pretoria - at the time he lived at 153 Joubert Street, Pretoria. She died in 1931. They had one daughter, Ida Silvia (who married Lewis BUSUTTIL in 1960). He retired from the South African Railways in 1947 as foreman of the toolroom in Bloemfontein.

Ismay NANGLE born circa 1889 was the daughter of Dr Edward Cuthbert NANGLE (1859-1942) and Dorothy Bolland BRISCO (ca 1866- 1932, Salisbury, Rhodesia). Her father was a doctor and moved from Ireland to East London. He married her mother in Port Alfred in 1886. Edward and Dorothy had two sons and a daughter:  Dr Edward Jocelyn NANGLE (Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, killed on service in France in 1916; Dr Hugh Cuthbert Milo NANGLE (born 1892, served with the RAF/RFC in WWI and was an ace, died in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1957) and Dorothy Ismay NANGLE (known as Ismay). Ismay married Cecil Charles FREER (a dentist) in 1911 – their son, Dr Edward Jocelyn Nangle FREER (1916, East London-2008, Zimbabwe), changed his name in 1937 to Edward Jocelyn NANGLE, in accordance with his grandparents' Last Will.  Ismay and Cecil divorced in 1918. Her second marriage was to Allan THORNEWILL. She died on 02 July 1970.