This is a Jacana Pocket History of Epidemics in South Africa by Howard Phillips is an epidemic of lethal diseases which killed tens of thousands of people in South Africa. Anyone who lost a family member during the years covered in this book would more than likely have died from one the 5 epidemics mentioned in this book being Smallpox, Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, and Poliomyelitis or yes AIDS.
Many genealogical researchers or family historians seem to forget that besides war or old age that their family members probably died from one these dreaded diseases. Spanish Flu in 1918 killed 6 percent of the inhabitants in South Africa which was a staggering three hundred thousand people. Thousands of orphans were produced literally overnight as men and woman became instant widows and widowers. Black October was the country’s worst epidemic ever, as it outdid the force, range and lethality out of every epidemic that appeared in Southern Africa.
Howard simplifies these five major epidemics that have shaped lives and history of South Africa. From smallpox that almost wiped out the Khoisan population to the plague that probably arrived with fodder during the Boer War to HIV/ AIDS in the 1980’s – very few of us can say that our family lives were not affected. The 19th century the Zulu’s aptly named smallpox sufferers “the face is spoilt” translated into Zulu was “ingqakagqa” and the Xhosas called the British Soldiers “amarwexu” “people who have the mark of smallpox”. This vigorous pocket History provides the necessary answers that you are looking for as you exhume South Africa’s past. Uncomplicated, to the point and factual.
About the Author: Howard Phillips is a graduate from the University of Cape Town and the University of London. He specialises in Social History of Medicine and the History of Universities. Howard is also the Chairman of the Van Riebeeck Society.
Published by Jacana
Soft cover 168 pages