Roses-Round-up

Fascinating factual tales and stories on South Africa history by Rose Willis. Read all about her here and subscribe to her newsletter Rose’s Round-Up for a small fee.

Rose’s ROUND-UP – A privately-published monthly newsletter mainly covering snippets of Karoo history * Copyright: Rose Willis * Cellphone: 082-926-0474
email: rosewillis705@gmail.com. P O Box 28636, Danhof, 9310

 

Rose’s Round-Up April 1994 No 15

MELTON WOLD GETS THE STARS Melton Wold, the ever-popular Karoo Guest farm, has been granted a two-star grading by Satour. This well known venue between Loxton and Victoria West, has a warm, friendly and cosy atmosphere, neat rooms and an English Pub. It also has a rich romantic history. In the earliest times, many creatures of pre-history roamed these plains – fossils and footprints attest to this. In later times it was also a game rich area where Bushmen hunted, so Bushmen graves, artifacts and petroglyths can be seen on some of the popular walks. The farm was left [...]

Rose’s Round-Up March 1994 No 14

IT’LL BE A HELLUVA MONUMENT There are moves afoot to declare the whole of Gamkaskloof, The Hell, a National Monument. This news has excited all who are in any way associated with this unique little valley, particularly those who once lived there. The Hell has been inhabited since 1843, but, until 1969, it could only be reached on foot. Then a road was built and as a consequence people slowly left. Just getting into The Hell is exciting. It is reached along as magnificent winding road which passes what possibly is the only cork tree left in the Karoo. [...]

Rose’s Round-Up February 1994 No 12

THE GREAT KAROO’S A SMALL WORLD After reading the January Round-up, Murray de Villiers, owner of La De Da farm, placed a copy in his guest cottage. The first visitor to stay there was David Hudson Lamb, who, like Val Strickland in Canada, is related to Beaufort West’s first magistrate, James Goldbury Devenish, and the Lambs of Nelspoort. He is tracing the family history, which is closely linked to Prince Albert and their original De Beer family. The Central Karoo Regional Tourism Office was able to provide a great deal of valuable background information and David was most delighted. [...]

Rose’s Round-Up January 1994 No 11

KAROO BECOMES A FILM STAR The Central Karoo is auditioning for a major role in a period film. A British director and his technical advisors, seeking a venue for a film that requires an 1860 setting, are looking for sites between Laingsburg and Loxton. Last month the central Karoo starred in an international 30 second TV advertisement – that it took a week to make. The script called for a Nevada Desert scene, and the British directors, from a well-known company, which has filmed such major movies as The Blade Runner, chose a spot outside Merweville. The required desert [...]

Rose’s Round-Up December 1993 No 10

ZDRAVSTVOEITE ANDRE KONSTANTINOVITCH It’s not a typo - “Zdravstvoeite “– actually means “Good day, Hello” in Russian. This is how the Karoo greeted and welcomed Professor Andre Konstantinovitch Ignatinko, head of Afrikaans at Moscow University. For the past three years he has been a lecturer at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein, and now, before he returns to Russia, he wanted to show his wife, Larisa, and his little six-year old daughter, Katje, more of South Africa. On the way to Cape Town they stopped off in the Karoo. They were accompanied by Miss Estelle, Marais, [...]

Rose’s Round-Up October 1993 No 9

GREETINGS FROM HIS GRACE A highlight among the messages of congratulations received in Richmond, on the occasion of the town’s 150th anniversary, was a telegram from the 10th Duke of Richmond. It read: “I am pleased to send you my warmest congratulations on the 150th anniversary of Richmond. One day I would like to visit you, I hope all citizens of Richmond enjoy the celebrations.” Messages were also received from the mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Councillor Gina MacKinnery, and from Eileen Leo-Hayden, honorary secretary of Richmond Overseas Links, a non-political, non-sectarian organization formed to establish and maintain cultural, [...]

Rose’s Round-Up September 1993 No 8

THE SNOWMAN OF THE KAROO Dries Engelbrecht, manager of the Karoo National Park, recently had to travel to Augrabies, which like the Karoo is a hot, dry, semi-desert area. He left Beaufort West just as the recent rain and snow began. By the time he reached the top of the Nuweveld Mountains the snow was already a few centimeters deep. He thought of the hot dry area he was travelling to and the fact that children there seldom see rain, leave alone snow. Dries immediately stopped his bakkie, unpacked his provisions from his big cool bag and filled it [...]

Rose’s Round-Up August 1993 No 7

 WHO WAS MERVEWILLE’S ENGLISHMAN Just south of Merweville there is a signpost pointing to “The Englishman’s Grave”. And, about 500 m from the road, under some thorn trees in the veld is a neatly kept grave with a simple white marble cross. But, just who was this Englishman? His name was Walter Oliphant Arnot, and he came to South Africa with a British regiment during the Anglo-Boer War. He had been led to believe that the British were fighting “savages” in Africa, however, he developed a great respect for the Boer people and regretted his part in the war. [...]

Rose’s Round-Up July 1993 No 6

WHERE IS “SKOTTELGOED DRAAI” The last curve on the road out of Prince Albert, leading towards the Swartberg Mountains, is known as “perde draai” (horse corner). The locals, however, refer to it as “skottelgoed draai” (pots and pans corner). The reason that this corner got this unusual name is proof of the local population’s sense of humour. Way back in time two cars crashed into each other here. It was due to the fact that the drivers had the oddest nicknames – Pot and Pan – that local humourists could not resist giving the corner its odd name. KAROO [...]

Rose’s Round-Up June 1993 No 5

DANGEROUS DELICACY In some parts of the Central Karoo mouths water when a “pofadder” is mentioned. It is a sausage made from liver, kidneys, and selected offal, minced with fat and flavoured with special spices. Instead of a sausage skin, it is stuffed into an intestine for braaiing or pan-frying. The Country Hotel at Leeu Gamka recently wished to advertise its butchery to tourists and included “pofadder” as one of its specialties. The advert was written in Afrikaans and translated into English by the magazine’s staff who, of course, had never heard of this treat, so there with Karoo [...]

Rose’s Round-Up May 1993 No 4

ELDERLY MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS A Cape Town Club for elderly, single senior citizens, visited the mountain farm, Wilgeboschkloof, in the Merweville district last month. Farm owners Hennie and Elsabe Victor thought that they would have a very restful weekend with this group, but that was not the case. “Of the 11 who visited, the youngest must have been 65 and there were two in their 80s – one was 80 and the other 84. Shortly after arrival all the visitors energetically set off on the mountain trail. We have a series of walks and they enjoyed most of these. In [...]

Rose’s Round-Up April 1993 No 3

WRONG NUMBER – NOT AGAIN Platteland party line telephone systems totally confuse city visitors. They are used to answering the telephone each time it rings. A recent “helpful” guest at Melton Wold Guest Farm, between Victoria West and Loxton, ran to answer the telephone every time she heard it ring. Of course, many calls were not for the guest farm and she was puzzled at why they should get so many wrong numbers in so small a place. Once the mysteries of the platteland manual exchange system had been explained to her, she was quite red-faced. “I simply thought [...]

Rose’s Round-Up March 1993 No 2

MUSEUM 'WORTH A SONG' It seems Elton John may have sneaked into Beaufort West unnoticed on his way to Sun City. There is an inscription in the visitor's book outside the Chris Barnard Exhibition - it simply reads: Elton John, a London Address and says "this exhibit's worth a song." Now, like a lilting melody the mystery will remain - was it or wasn't it him? PLANNING FOR TOURISM The first "platteland" workshop on planning for tourism was held in Beaufort West on March 2. It was presented by Satour and attended by 30 delegates from various towns in [...]

Rose’s Round-Up January 1993 No 1

BUSY QUARTER The first three months of operation have been busy, but nevertheless, successful. The Central Karoo has been brought to the attention of newspaper and magazine editors and several tourism stories have been widely publicised. All press releases sent out have received good coverage in the local “platteland” press, as well as in national newspapers, such as Die Burger. A close working relationship has also been established with Radio Kontrei and with other radio travel programmes, such as the Saturday morning Travellers Check and Padlangs. The latest success is an item in Getaway magazine. It has resulted in [...]

Plague, Pox and Pandemics

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 [...]

Admiralty House Simon’s Town

I have been to Simon's Town many times in my life and my childhood association with the Royal Navy has been vividly recalled when I was recently introduced to the book by Boet Dommisse's of Admiralty House Simon's Town. In the 1960's I lived next door to a house owned by the Royal Navy in Plumstead that was occupied by my godmother and godfather, who was the Admiral's chauffeur. Boet Dommisse has truly brought to life this wonderful, nostalgic period, not only in my own life, but also for those who spent many years - specially during war times - [...]

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Captain John MacAlister’s Tribute

There were no flowers on the grave. As I stood there, on that clean summer morning with the sunshine making bright patterns on the stones, and making them shine like diamonds, I remembered my Father. My mother's death had been more recent, and the ache was still there except perhaps sadness for myself, for what should have been. He was an intelligent man. He was clean-shaven and clean living. He smoked a pipe, and had the sort of trustworthy air about him that most pipe smokers seem to have. The sort of man about whom only good things can be [...]

Salt River Accident

Salt River Station Many years ago whilst tracing my family history I met a  cousin who kindly photocopied this newspaper article of the Salt River accident which struck me as a terrible tragedy for my family. Not only did Richard Evans lose his wife, but his wife had lost her first husband and her daughter. Today 11th June 1890 was a very sad day as the residents of Woodstock and Salt River heard of the tragic passing of a father and daughter killed at Salt River Station. Frederick Smith, his wife Alice, son Frederick and daughter Katie [...]

A Memoir in Letters

A Memoir in Letters by Penelope Forrest covers the Phelps family who originated in Gloucester England. She follows them through the generations, piecing together the puzzle of these wonderful ancestors who have provided her with more than just meat on the bones for her family tree. When Penelope started transcribing letters by her ancestors she unravelled a wealth of information about her family's past. Story telling at its best The narrative description in the book provides wonderful accounts of family’s life and culture in England, Madeira and South Africa, through family events, war, love and hope. Penelope captures the reality [...]

The Black Countess

The Black Countess is an incredible story that chronicles the life of Martha a woman of colour from Wynberg and her husband the Harry, the 7th Earl of Stamford. Martha the daughter of freed slave and well known Tavern owner "Queen Rebecca" of Cape Town who married Harry Gray the rejected remittance man from an upper class family in England. It is a true story of two people from such widely different backgrounds whose compatibility, let alone affection, seemed impossible. There was difference of origin, she from the Cape, and he from the great colonial power that was England. They [...]

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Beginners Guide to Family History

When the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu coined the phrase "Rainbow Nation", he was referring to the huge cultural diversity that exists in South Africa today. It is a heritage that has its origins in the constant flow of immigrants, settlers, refugees and slaves who interacted with the indigenous people at the Cape from the time of the first permanent European settlement by the Dutch in 1652. Since then only two nations, the Dutch and the British, have governed the Colony until it became a Union in 1910. Britain's links with South Africa span more than two centuries, [...]

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Adoption Records South Africa

If you are over 21 you can get your adoption papers without your adoptive parents' permission. Biological parents can only have access to the adoption records if the adoptive parents and the child give their written consent. If they refuse, the biological parents can leave their details in the file so that they can be contacted if the adoptive parents or child change their minds. The identity of the parties cannot be made known. For example, medical information can be made available to a doctor. Before you can start the search it is suggested that the adoptee receive counseling [...]

South African Almanacs and Year Books

An almanac is here taken to be a book containing a full calendar as well as information on social, economic and similar topics. It becomes a directory if it contains a list of people's names and addresses, and in its most comprehensive form it becomes a year-book. The old almanacs and their successors are of great value in research into social, economic and cultural history, because they often contain data not easily found elsewhere. A complete survey of those published in South Africa cannot possibly be given, and only those preserved in public libraries will be dealt with here. The [...]

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Cemetery Records South Africa

Are you looking for Cemetery records in South Africa? Are you looking for plot cards for Maitland Cemtery or personalised visits and graves photographed? I offer this skilled service of finding graves and obtaining plot cards which provides the names of all the people buried in any grave, when they were buried, owner of the plot and which section the grave is in the cemetery. Please contact me for prices.

Rose’s Round-up May 2015 No 257

EMPIRE, WAR & CRICKET – A RICH, REWARDING READ Dean Allen’s book, Empire, War & Cricket, highlights a time when Victorian society was being redefined and cricket promoted as “the imperial game, sport of the Empire”. A fascinating social and political history it weaves the development cricket, “the gentleman’s game” into the biography of arrogant, entertaining, hospitable, intriguing James D Logan, Laird of Matjiesfontein, and undoubtedly one of the most colourful men of South African history. Central to the story is Matjiesfontein, once hailed as “the cleanest place in the Colony”, the aspirations of British Empire in the South Africa [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2015 No 256

COMING SOON – THE LAIRD AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO CRICKET Dr Dean Allen’s long-awaited book, Empire, War and Cricket in South Africa: Logan of Matjiesfontein, is to be launched in early April. The book, published by Zebra Press, explores how James D Logan, Laird of Matjiesfontein, and one of SA great entrepreneurs, established a health resort for the rich and famous in the far-flung Karoo, as well as how he developed and promoted cricket from this remote spot, despite gathering clouds of war. A unique social and political history, this well-researched biography looks at life in the late 1800s as [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2015 No 255

JOIN THE FUN – THIRD LEAP DAY FOR FROGS South Africa is home to some 120 species of frogs, each fascinating in its own way. To celebrate this, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is once again organising a Leap Day for Frogs on Saturday, February 28. This will be the third day of its kind and the aim of the day is to celebrate the diversity of frogs, their behavior and habitats, raise awareness about these amphibians and highlight the fact that globally they are the most threatened of all vertebrates – 30% of all South African frogs are vulnerable [...]

Rose’s Round up February 2015 No 254

TWO NEW POWER PLANTS PLANNED The Department of Energy has announced the creation of two new CSP (concentrating solar thermal power) plants in the Northern Cape. One will be the first of its kind in Africa. Kathu Solar Park and Redstone Solar Thermal Power are the preferred bidders and each company will build a 100MW capacity plants capable of storing solar power generated during daylight hours. The new plants will add to the five already commissioned in this hot, dry province. The Kathu Consortium’s plant will incorporate parabolic trough technology and will be equipped with a molten-salt storage system that [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2015 No 253

SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE GIANT FLAG Ecologist, Professor Sue Milton-Dean wrote to express her concerns regarding the Giant South African Flag, being laid out near the Valley of Desolation, outside Graaff-Reinet. “The website and press reports all state that ‘millions of different coloured succulent plants’ will be used to create this R170-million world first giant flag. My main concern is that non-indigenous succulent species i.e. red and yellow barrel cactus and blue agave, are being used for colour-planting. These all come from the Americas. The only indigenous plant species in the flag will be spekbos (Portulacaria). I find this strange [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2014 No 252

  ANGORA RAM FOR THE KING A young Angora ram from Prince Albert has been presented to King Letsie III of Lesotho. This gesture was made by the Ladybrand-based agricultural company, OVK, (Oos Vrystaat Kaap Bedryf Ltd), as part of its efforts to promote wool and mohair production in the Mountain Kingdom. The ram came from the Van Hasselts in Prince Albert, who are widely known for breeding high quality stock and the presentation was made when OVK presented plans and proposals for increasing market share in Lesotho to the king and other dignitaries. In a news story on Radio [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2014 No 251

RARE FIND Earlier this year, an Endangered Wildlife Critical Rivers Survey team discovered a rare fresh water mussel at Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. This is the first creature of its kind to be found in the reserve and only the second recording of the species in the Northern Cape. While netting and measuring endangered Clanwilliam sandfish, senior field officer, Bonnie Schumann, spotted the remains of an “otter meal” - an opened mussel with bits of stringy meat still attached. She searched the gravelly river bed and found mussel of a species listed as near threatened. “Fresh water mussels are indicators of [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2014 No 250

A CULINARY ADVENTURE IN THE DRYLAND Justin Bonello, well known South African cooking raconteur, and host of the SA Braai Master TV show, has just launched a new book. With his crew he spent two-years kicking up dust and exploring the bye-ways of the Karoo in an effort to discover the pulse of the dryland. His mission was simple. He wanted to capture the soul of the thirstland, witness its struggle for survival, experience the wide-open spaces, clean, crisp, clear fresh air and endless starry nights. He wanted to learn more of the San, to meet the modern-day people and [...]