THE MAN WHO WENT TO TIMBUKTU REMEMBERS
Chris Marais’s memoirs, The Journey Man, was successfully launched at the Cradock Writers Festival. This book, a great read, tells the exciting tale of a photo-journalist’s experiences across Africa and in more than 50 foreign spots, including Mongolia, Borneo, Timbuktu, Madagascar and the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s the inside storey of a roving reporter’s life on newspapers such as The Pretoria News, The Rand Daily Mail and The Sunday Tribune, and on magazines such as Scope, Style, Country Life (more recently) as well as a slew of international airline publications before becoming the editor of Living Africa, a monthly lifestyle magazine that won nearly 70 awards during his seven years at the helm. Scope editor, Dave Mullany, called Chris a straight, blunt, take no-prisoners, no-bullshit kind of journalist. The anecdotes in his book prove this. It captures his love of life, have-camera-will-travel attitude to an ever-changing world. The book buzzes with the thrill of a country moving towards its first democratic elections, the ceaseless hum of Hillbrow, the “captivating” TV test pattern, the Soweto Uprising and other unrest. It’s all there.
EXCITING WINTER SCHOOL PLANNED
An exciting programme is on offer for the popular Prince Albert Winter School, scheduled to be held from August 7 to 16. During this week townsfolk, “with a passion for a wide range of pursuits”. open their homes and studios to share a wealth of expertise, arts, crafts and skills. Among the courses and master classes on offer this year are cookery, jewellery-making, blacksmithing, interior design, photography, storytelling, mosaic and more. There will also be talks – as well as practical sessions on star-gazing, yoga, reflexology, poetry, art films, geology and history. The latter two will be linked to some exciting ecological excursions. In addition, some well known and loved South African entertainers will appear at The Showroom. Local restaurants will add some “spice” by including some unusual, and fantastically creative meals.
SOON ON THE BIG SCREEN
Carol Campbell, a former Prince Albert resident, has written two novels, which are soon to be filmed. Karretjiemense and ’n Huis vir Ester, both also available in English, both caught the eye of film-maker Koos Roets, will soon to start production with actor/director André Stolz. Carol, who regularly participates in the Prince Albert Leesfees, says she found inspiration for these deeply moving stories while living in the village. This year’s Leesfees is scheduled for November 6 to 8.
VIP WITH LOCAL ROOTS
Comrades Marathon King Bruce Fordyce, his wife Gill and some runners from around SA visited Prince Albert in June to launch the Pakrun. Many were surprised to learn that Bruce has links to Prince Albert. His great grandfather, Dr Pieter Luttig, was the first local to qualify and practice as a doctor and also the first resident to own a motor car. From time to time, this vintage vehicle, CCA 1, a Model T Ford, still chugs its way down Church Street, says information officer Zelia Mullins.
Note: S A Museums Association 79th National Conference – Riverside Hotel, Durban – from 26 to 29 October
HORSES ARRIVED SOON AFTER SETTLERS
Horses came to South Africa soon after the first settlers. In time they moved inland, and superb stud farms sprang up in the Eastern Cape Karoo and on the Nuweveld Mountains, outside Beaufort West. This saga started in April 1652 when a Dutch East India Company ship was blown off course in bad weather and had to land 18 Arab-Persian horses from Java, at St Helena. They were almost immediately re-shipped to the Cape. The following year four more horses, including a superb stallion, which was subsequently devoured by lions, arrived at the Cape. By 1661 fifteen foals had been born. In 1689 stallions imported from Persia, strengthened local bloodlines, but African horse sickness began to pose problems. A devastating outbreak in 1719, led to horses being replaced by oxen for transport and agricultural activities, such as ploughing, yet horses remained important for sport and vital to the military. (Over 450 000 died during the Anglo Boer War). For almost 150 years the Arab-Persian horse remained the type bred in South Africa, says Dr C H B Marlow in A Brief History of Equine Private Practice in South Africa. More stallions were imported in 1778 from South America and in 1782 from North America and England. In 1807 some Andalusian stallions, were captured from a Spanish ship en route to South America and added to the local breeding stock. More imports came from England in 1810. The following year top Thoroughbreds were imported from England and breeding programmes benefitted from correctly mated Arab and Thoroughbred horses. In 1849 Cape farmers began exporting many horses to India for use by cavalry and artillery regiments. South African horses were also among the mounts used in the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War in 1854, says Dr Marlow.
BAD, MOODY CRITTERS BECOME PART OF THE MIX
When diamonds were discovered in 1867, there was no rail service between Cape Town and Kimberley. Everything was routed through Port Elizabeth and transported from there by ox wagon, post-cart or on horseback to Grahamstown. From there it went via the Old Colesberg Road to Bedford, over the escarpment to Cradock, Schoombee in the Middelburg district and Colesberg, then, across the Orange (Gariep) River into the Orange Free State and on to Kimberley. Outbreaks of African horse sickness, which had been a serious and constant threat since the early 1700s, confined horse-breeding to uninfected, high-lying areas and by the mid 1800s Thoroughbred stud farms had been established in the Eastern Cape Karoo. Horse-breeding in South Africa was badly affected as motor cars replaced horse-drawn public transport towards the end of the 1800s. As the demand for horses decreased in places like London, overseas dealers flooded South Africa with horses known as “blood weeds”. The introduction of these bad, moody, cull Thoroughbreds severely damaged years of good breeding in some places. Then, the opening of the Suez Canal affected the export of horses to India and other countries because cheaper animals could be obtained from southern Europe. Even though the local breed remained mainly Arab, heavy and coach breeds began to appear in SA. Among these were the Hackney, a stylish carriage horse; the Cleveland Bay, a short, strong Polish breed, Flemish and Allenbury bloodlines. Jack Boswell, the man regarded as the father of veterinary private practice in SA, started importing race horses in the late 1930s. The industry began to grow and the base to broaden.
MORE ‘GALLOP’ IN
The first American Saddle horse, a black stallion named Myer’s Kentucky Star was imported by Claude Orpen in 1917, another came in 1922, S P Fouche imported a number of Saddlers in 1934 and other breeders soon followed. It was not long before this breed became popular among the show-riding fraternity. The breed is honoured at the Saddle Horse Museum, in Richmond. It was created in 1955 by Schalk van der Heever, a long-time horse judge and it one of only two such museums in the world. The Registered Saddle Horse Breeder Society of South Africa and Rhodesia, established in 1942, became the mother society of The Arabian Horse, American Saddle Horse, National Riding Horse (later Boerperd), and Thoroughbred Polo and Riding Horse Breeders’ Societies in 1949.
THE SEARCH FOR HENRY DUKE JACKSON
Shortly after moving to Korteshoven, outside Grabouw, Shirley Jackson noticed that her husband’s great grandfather, Henry Duke Jackson, was not been buried on the family farm. She wondered why and pondered where his grave could be. This set her off on a mission that led to the heart of the Great Karoo. While delving into genealogical research, done by her mother-in-law Shirley discovered that Henry had gone to Roodepoort in the mid-1860s. That seemed a simple lead to follow, but she soon discovered the town, Roodepoort, was founded after Henry died, so she scoured the Internet and found he had gone to a farm named Roodpoort, later Rooipoort, near Victoria West, to help his brother, John Scafe Jackson, a Victoria West shopkeeper. The farm got its name from its rich, red ground. It seems Henry never returned. He died in this area when he was 38. Yet, even armed with this information Henry’s final resting place was not easy to find. This saga was discovered by Prince Albert’s Dick Metcalf, who found the story in the Grabouw newspaper, while tracking one of his own ancestors, Henry’s eldest sister.
THE ROAD TO ROOIPOORT
Shirley set off to find Rooipoort. She visited friends and family, like Victor Molteno, a great grandson of Henry’s, along the way, collecting many anecdotes which helped her piece together Henry’s tale. While over-nighting at Rietpoort, near Victoria West, farm owner, Dirk Ras, told her that Henry had also once had a farm named Holgatsfontein in the Hopetown district. His great grandfather had bought this “for a song”. It seemed Henry had asked for Holgatsfontein to be sold “lock, stock and barrel,” when he died and for the money to be shared between his widow and children. Dirk then produced a map and showed Shirley where Rooipoort was located. He warned the farm was owned by an absent landlord, named Van Heerden, and that she was more than likely to end up at a locked gate. Undaunted she set off and, as luck would have it, found Rooipoort’s gate unlocked. She drove up to the farm house, found Van Heerden and some friends about to go off hunting. Her hopes were dashed. Van Heerden said, he knew of no graves on his farm.
BACK HOME, AT LAST
Shirley was devastated. She leaned back against her car and almost burst into tears. Then, Mietjie, a woman who had come to help some labourers to carry a carcass into the farmhouse and who had overheard Shirley’s conversation with Van Heerden, said there were two badly weathered cemeteries on the farm. Van Heerden was amazed. He asked her to take Shirley to them. It was a long walk and, at the first, Shirley was again disappointed. She saw two rows of four graves, but no grave markers. She shook her head and they trudged off to the second cemetery quite a distance away and on the other side of a dry riverbed. There they found five graves. Three in a row, marked by upright stones and two small ones in the corner. Again, it seemed a dead end. The upright stones appeared to have no markings. Again, Shirley’s heart sank. She was sure she had found Henry’s grave but had no way to prove it. Then Mietjie moved an overhanging bush and brushed the dirt away from the stones on which it had been leaning. Shirley saw “HJ” scratched on its surface. She just knew this was Henry’s grave. Elated, she got permission to load the stone, the bush, which had been leaning on it. Then, with a bag of soft red earth taken from the grave site she drove back to Grabouw to unite Henry with his beloved wife, Caroline and their son Henry Frost Duke Jackson, who are buried on Korteshoven. “I felt at peace. After 138 years Henry was back home. I am not sure what he died of – that will involve more digging. I am sure that the other graves on Rooipoort belong to John Scafe and his family, but I will need time to unravel this story,”.
Note: Henry’s father, an Irishman, Captain John Duke Jackson, born on September 18, 1781, joined the East India Company as a midshipman at the age of 13. He went to India in 1794 and was stationed in Bombay.
Henry Duke, the second son and first South African-born child of John and his wife Mary Anne (nee Frost) was born at Houw Hoek in 1831, he married Carolina Maria Joubert Gadney on January 1,1863. His eldest brother, John Scafe, was born in Norfolk in 1830. He married Hannah A Hodgson.
MEMORIES OF DR EDDIE
A story in the June issue of Round-up triggered an early childhood memory for a man now living in New Zealand. The story stated that local poet, Kevin Butler’s, father had practiced as a dentist in Beaufort West in the 1930s. Reading this reminded Sean Prestage, who was also born in Beaufort West, of a dental appointment with Dr Eddie Butler. In the early 1920s, Sean’s father, Robert, who was en route from Ireland to Australia, decided to “stretch his legs” when his ship was docked in Cape Town. He never re-embarked. While wandering around the city he saw an advertisement stating that the South African police were looking for recruits. This appealed to his adventurous spirit and, as he had worked with horses in Ireland and been part of a WWI cavalry regiment, he set off to find out more. The recruiting officer’s story sounded exciting, so he applied and, after a quick medical, signed on. He was immediately posted to the hinterland. The late 1920s saw him in Beaufort West, serving as a farrier at the local police station and also helping out at some further afield. In 1928/1929 he went “back home” to visit his family in Ireland and on that trip, he met Bertha, the love of his life. They married in Cape Town in 1930 and Robert returned to his post in Beaufort West. Sean was born there in May 1931. About a year later the family was transferred to Cape Town. “Years later, when I was about 13 or 14 I needed some dental work done and my Dad took me to Dr Butler, a former Beaufort West friend who by then was practicing in the city My dad chose him because he had built up such a good reputation.” Sean remembers little else of Beaufort West except that his father had made good friends there, mostly in the police force. Many visited from time to time, so did Tommy Foulkes, owner of The Hole in the Wall cafe and the Masonic Hotel. Sean retired to New Zealand in 2000.
FROM GLOVES TO A FIZZY DRINK
In the 1930s an American entrepreneur came to South Africa, liked it and stayed. William Donald Hyde, a tanner, manufacturer and civic leader, opened an office in Port Elizabeth and started purchasing sheep skins from the Karoo to make gloves. He soon expanded his South African interests and by 1938 introduced many American products, among them Coca-Cola, to this country. Hyde launched SA Bottling Company (Sabco) on April 27, 1940, appointing his sons, Gordon Byron, as manager of import\export and William Donald, Jnr, to head the bottling operation. By June a Dixie unit had been installed and it was producing 75 cases of regular 6 oz-size bottles of fizzy drink an hour. Within the first month sales totaled 142 cases and five bottles. By the end of the year over 15 000 cases had been sold. Philipp Rowland Gutsche joined the company in October 1940, as a salesman. By March the following year, he had moved to Brakpan to open a new plant. Production was delayed when bottling machinery was lost due to an enemy submarine attack, but that did not hamper development. The company moved steadfastly forward, buying up little hinterland bottling operations during the 1960s and 70s. Among these was Middleburg’s Karroo Mineral Water Works, Goodwins in Kokstad, Lesnev and Sullivan’s in Kimberley, De Aar’s Orandia Minerals and Whytes Minerals of Cradock. The latter acquisitions enabled the company to eliminate Pepsi from the area.
DELICIOUS FRUIT DELIGHTS THE PALATE
Dutch soldier Robert Jacob Gordon was in the Prince Albert area in January 1786. In his journal he recorded: “Made camp, exhausted and found a pool of delicious water even though the river was dry. We saw fresh lion tracks here but observed nothing further except that the lions had drunk here recently and had rolled in the wagon-road like horses. Rode ahead in the morning to Widow de Beer on the farm, Kweekvallei, on the Swarte River, half-way to the Gamka River. It was a pleasant sight for us who had been travelling for a long time through dry, parched country. We found everything in abundance here with delicious fruit. The lions are long gone, but the abundance of grapes, deciduous fruit and melons continues to delight the palate and provide cool desserts during the long, hot season.
One of life’s greatest mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. – Milton Friedman