Josiah Tshangana Gumede was born on 9 October 1867 in Healdtown village, Fort Beaufort in the present-day Eastern Cape and died on 6 November 1946. His ancestry can be traced back to chief Khondlo, an Ngwane chief who was forced to flee Zululand. In all probability, he began his elementary schooling at the famous Healdtown Wesleyan Mission School.
It's 235 years old, but very few know about the De Goedehoop Masonic lodge. Governments rise and fall, but one thing remains constant in the precincts of Parliament in Cape Town: 235-year-old Masonic lodge. Few know that an old and venerable temple of the ancient and mysterious brotherhood of Freemasons exists in the parliamentary complex. But De Goedehoop Temple was built long before Parliament.
In May 1842 British forces under Capt. T. C. Smith occupied Port Natal for the purpose of making an end to the republic of Natalia. The protests of the Volksraad and Commandant-General Andries Pretorius he rejected. His camp was situated under the Berea on the Point side of the Umgeni River, where he had dug himself in well. He had about 240 men, with Capt. Lonsdale and 4 lieutenants, under his command.
Was your Ancestor a Beauty Queen? As we celebrate the Miss World Contest we congratulate Candice Abrahams a South African who has been crowned Miss World at the 27th Miss World Pageant held on 12th March 2016 at Dongguan, in China, we also look back at the winners of the Miss South Africa and the South African winners of the Miss Universe contest as well. Many beauty contests have been held in South Africa since 1910. The most important being those in which the winners are entered in overseas contests.
In August 1805, while the French army with which Napoleon intended to invade England was still in waiting at Boulogne, a formidable British fleet sailed southwards on a secret mission, The Battle of Blaauwberg was going to happen. It was proposed to take the Cape - the key to India - from the Batavian Republic (which was an ally of France) by means of a surprise attack. Naval and cargo vessels, 61 in all, under the command of Commodore Sir Home Popham had 6,654 soldiers and officers under Major-General Sir David Baird on board. Baird, who had spent ten months at the Cape during the first British occupation, knew the fortifications well. Reports of a mighty fleet sailing south reached Lt.-Gen. J. W. Janssen’s, the Governor at the Cape, and he made all possible preparations, but it was the harvesting season and he could not mobilise the burghers without sufficient information of an intended attack.
St. Stephens in Cape Town is the only Dutch Reformed church named after a saint; and its congregation used to be known as the only Coloured congregation that formed part of the Nederduitse Gereformede Kerk (the mother church), with full admission to its synod, while all other Coloured parishes of the N.G. Kerk belong to the daughter or mission church. The rectangular edifice was erected during the First British Occupation and is the oldest theatre building in South Africa, having been erected for that purpose by the Governor, Sir George Yonge, on what is now Riebeek Square,
The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as they may have been the people that actually named the house. Many people name their houses after the towns or places they originated from or places that are strongly associated with the family. These place names could be vital clues when looking for that missing link. House names also contain names of people, eg Alison & Donald become “Aldon” - they could be named after children, spouses or something special in their lives.
The term epidemic is used to indicate an unusual prevalence of a disease. The disease which most harried early navigators, occurring in epidemic form on long voyages, was scurvy. It was known that the condition was caused by absence of fresh food in the sailor's diet. Only in the present century, however, was it discovered that the factor absent from such stored or preserved foods was a vitamin. Vitamin C, the anti-scorbutic factor, is the most vulnerable of all the vitamins, readily destroyed by heating, drying and other methods of food preservation.
NEW BOER WAR BOOK AVAILABLE A new book, No 6 in the Cape Commando Series, is now available from Taffy and David Shearing. Entitled Malan Attacks Richmond, it tells of events in this isolated Karoo village during the Anglo-Boer War. “The war in this area was interesting,” said Taffy. “The town was far from rail, yet residents, led by their dynamic, determined magistrate, George James Boyes, put up a fight on two occasions against the Boer commandos under Wynand Malan. We have included Malan’s subsequent career as a guerrilla fighter in this 195-page book which includes 184 photographs, many [...]
LITERARY FESTIVAL NOT TO BE MISSED Tel. Darryl 081-391-8689 / Peter 011-447-2517 The J M Coetzee and Fugard Festivals will be hosted back to back in Richmond from May 22 to 24. "At these SA's Nobel Laureates will be celebrated in a top-class programme with something of interest for everyone," says organiser, Darryl David. Luli Callinicos will talk on her biography of Oliver Tambo and The World that Made Mandela. Renowned TV personality Patricia Glynn will discuss Dawid Kruiper a well-known name in the Northern Cape. Following on the success of his first novel, One Hand Washes the Other, [...]
BOER WAR ENTHUSIASTS TO MEET Richmond’s Third Anglo-Boer War Conference and Commemorative Weekend is scheduled to take place from May 29 to 31. Organisers have developed an interesting programme, featuring lectures by top speakers, outings to neighbouring towns, field trips to interesting places and walks through the village. These will cover a wide variety of aspects of the war. “This three-day event has been designed to provide a forum for enthusiasts to share information and knowledge, on this important sector of South African history, so a series of social events and free time for discussion has been included in the [...]
PEEL BACK THROUGH THE AGES Tim Sale’s one hour ten-minute-long film, Layers of The Karoo, is must see for all who love the vast, limitless, open spaces of the Great Karoo. It starts about 280 million years ago, when huge, strange-looking creatures, ancestors of modern mammals, lumbered across the land. From there, the layers are peeled back through various extinctions, like the dinosaurs, to the earliest hominids and right up to homo sapiens. The story continues, taking a close look human development; through the lives of the Bushman, the Khoi and early European settlement. Some emotional subjects, such as predator [...]
FOUR NEW RESERVES PLANNED TO BOOST EASTERN CAPE The Eastern Cape Karoo is to get four new nature reserves. The areas were recently approved for declaration by Mcebisi Jonas, MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism He also declared a new protected area. The reserves include Kromme River Hoogte Nature Reserve, a 442-ha area outside Uniondale; Baviaanskloof Hartland Nature Reserve near Willowmore, Royalston, a 17-hectare development being handled by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Lambas, a nature reserve in the area of the Mhlontlo Local Municipality. This lies north-east side of the provincial border between Mthatha and Mt Frere [...]
MANY FESTIVITIES ON THE CARDS Cradock is the place to be. This town celebrates its bicentennial this year and it intends to do so in style. First on the cards will be the Food Festival on March 21 and 22. Cradock came into being in 1814 as the last of as line of forts built along the lower Fish River by the then governor, Sir John Cradock. His aim was to try to contain the Xhosa people east of the river, eliminate unrest and establish harmony in the area. Although intended as a fort, Cradock never saw conflict and in [...]
DISCOVER BARRYDALE Leslie Howard’s new book, Barrydale Unplugged, is a treasure trove of stories. The tale begins 500-million years ago, when the Karoo was an inland sea, and tells of tiny creatures that left fossilized remains for experts to study. It moves on to the earliest indigenous inhabitants and from there travels through time bringing the town and district to life as it tells of the first farmers, the road builders and dwellers around the warm water springs. Fauna and flora are central to the theme. Then comes the village, its residents and churches. Skirmishes and clashes of the Anglo-Boer [...]
ROUND-UP - A MAGNIFICENT JOURNEY! The first issue of Rose’s Round-up appeared in early January 1993. Its aim? To inform six town clerks of what was happening in the fledgling Central Karoo tourist office. In those days not many believed in tourism in the Karoo. In fact, when the CEO of the then Central Karoo Regional Services Council appointed Rose Willis as tourism co-ordinator he warned there would be almost nothing to co-ordinate. Time proved him wrong, but to be fair, he had a point - way back then few saw the Karoo as a destination. Most rushed down the [...]
NEW AIRPORT UNDER CONSTRUCTION Construction of a new small-scale airport at Somerset East is scheduled to start mid-month. This project, estimated to cost about R12-million, will greatly assist tourism in the area. “Additional funds will be accessed to pave the road between Somerset East and Addo,” said Rob Beach, business manager of Blue Crane Development, the company responsible for the project. He told Travel News Weekly that work would be on-going for six to eight months and that the airport, designed to handle chartered and commercial flights, would open in mid-2014. “About 65 percent of the work on the [...]
BOOKS GALORE FOR THE 7TH YEAR Richmond celebrates the seventh anniversary of Booktown this year from October 24 to 27. As ever the programme for this immensely popular “Boekbedonnered” festival, as it has become known, is jam-packed with interesting talks, presentations and launches. The programme (on page 2) includes exhibitions and outings. Among these is an early afternoon “walkabout” conducted by local resident, Dave Clemens, an authority on Karoo architecture, as well as a short walk up Vegkop conducting by Anglo-Boer War experts, John Donaldson and Chris Sheldon. This stroll trails off from the Supper Club at 17h00 and [...]
NEW BOOK FOR LOVERS OF KAROO CUISINE There’s a new book for Karoo and Karoo cuisine enthusiasts. Veld to Fork, written by Gordon Wright, a Graaff-Reinet chef and guesthouse owner, is more than just another collection of recipes. This 160-page, soft-covered book, published by Struik Lifestyle, showcases delicious dishes against awe-inspiring and beautiful Karoo landscapes. Gordon combines tradition and culinary flair with fresh local ingredients to present 82 mouth-watering dishes for every occasion. Obviously, Karoo lamb, beef, free-range chicken and venison take pride of place, but soups, side dishes and superb desserts are included along with preserves and baked goods. [...]
NEW FOCUS ON CONCENTRATION CAMPS On the subject of Anglo-Boer War concentration camps many might argue that it’s all been said. Not so Elizabeth van Heyningen. For years she waded through long-forgotten, dusty archival material in South Africa and Britain to produce a fresh perspective, a social history of the camps. The result is a comprehensive, well-balanced and immensely interesting 400-page book covering everything from overcrowding, poor rations, malnutrition, disease, death and orphans, to music and inmate employment. Elizabeth also scrutenised camp mythology. “These were not simply places to which women, children and old men were sent. Neither were [...]
ONE WEBSITE SAYS IT ALL The popular www.karoospace.co.za website is being relaunched in Beta format. “The site, which is dedicated to the promotion, celebration and protection of the Karoo, has been upgraded and greatly improved,” says photojournalist, Chris Marais. “It is now designed bring a huge collection of pictures and stories of the region, it’s people, their cultural and heritage, to the widest possible audience in the most user-friendly way.” The Great Karoo, once a swamp, now a semi-desert and the largest plateau of its kind outside of Asia, is a constant source of fascination to many. Generally, about 4 [...]
CRADOCK WRITERS FESTIVAL DRAWS BIG NAMES Cradock’s 4th Annual Karoo Writers Festival, scheduled for August 9 to 11, promises to be the best yet, say organisers. The programme includes internationally known authors, top South Africa writers, and some exciting excursions. “The festival has grown steadily since its inception, but as far as interest and input are concerned, it has truly ‘taken off’ this year,” says Brian Wilmot, one of the organisers and curator of Cradock’s Olive Schreiner Museum. “An excellent mix of new and well-loved writers will talk, read, socialize at leisurely meals and participate in fireside chats. Among [...]
FANCY AN ICE SWIM? The annual Speedo Ice Swim Africa is scheduled to take place in Fraserburg's Nuwe Dam on the weekend of July 12 to 14. Normally, the water temperature in this dam, which is close to Sutherland, one of the coldest places in the country, is 5ºC or less in July and average winter temperature in this area is about -11ºC. Buffelsfontein, a farm in the district, holds the country's official record for the lowest temperature of -18,6ºC and Sutherland itself experienced an extreme low of -16,4ºC on July 12, 2003. So, Nuwe Dam, l 400 metres [...]
FIRST RUN IN JUNE Cross-country trail running is becoming popular across South Africa. To meet the needs of this market Fernkloof Wine farm, outside Prince Albert, has created a new 15km trail. This inspiring, challenging route, the brainchild of trail runner and winery owner, Diederik le Grange, passes through some picturesque and breathtaking scenery - kloofs, vineyards, water tunnels and streams. It includes steep climbs and demanding declines. The focus is on the enjoyment of running, so the trail meets the needs of beginners and experienced enthusiasts. The inaugural run, on Saturday, June l, will be sponsored by Fernkloof Wines [...]
RARE POTS FOUND IN PRINCE ALBERT Two clay pots, typical of those used by early Khoekhoe (Hottentot) people, were recently found in the Prince Albert area after a heavy rainstorm. They had been washed out of a natural drainage channel at Waterkop smallholdings, on the outskirts of the village, and were discovered by Gareth Williams and his friend Willem Mathee, a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. One pot was intact and contained a dark glistening substance; the other had been broken into a number of large and small fire-blackened shards. The find greatly excited the archaeological world and [...]
RICHMOND HOSTS TOP LITERARY FESTIVAL Richmond is hosting a Fugard Festival in May. The aim is to pay tribute to Athol Fugard, the greatest living dramatist in the English-speaking world who turns 80 this year. Fugard's home town New Bethesda, launched the festival last year, but was unable to continue due to lack of funding. The Fugard Festival will run back-to-back with Richmond's J M Coetzee Festival from May 23 to 26 and organiser Darryl Earl David says: “Richmond is immensely proud to be hosting this top South African literary event and so has planned a bumper weekend. The festival [...]
TIGHTER FOCUS ON SLAVERY Marthinus van Bart, specialist heritage writer of Die Burger, has placed slavery in South Africa under the microscope. In his recently published book Kaap van Slawe, which took a decade to research, he has dug up some startling facts relating to the little-known transatlantic slave trade in general and the role of the British Empire in particular. Few realize that British slave ships plied the oceans for well over 300 years causing unimaginable misery while amassing vast fortunes. The book reveals some critical errors and inconsistencies currently available on slaves, slavery and slave route in [...]
FESTIVAL TO TICKLE THE TASTE BUDS The first annual Karoo Food Festival is scheduled to take place in Cradock from March 21 to 23. “Our aim is to use Karoo and its food to turn the area into a culinary destination,” says organiser Lisa Antrobus. “We hope to inspire ‘foodies’, who travel in search of new tastes, to adventure into the Karoo, but we also hope those who simply love the region will come to Cradock at the end of March to enjoy a feast of Karoo fare. The festival will not only focus on traditional Karoo dishes, it will [...]