The first Depth Leadership Trust Conference to be held in South Africa will take place in Prince Albert from September 3 to 5. The theme is Crucibles of Leadership and the programme includes top speakers, each a specialist on his or her field. Among them will be clinical psychologists, artists, authors, academics, corporate and government leaders. Conference organisers explain that the term “depth” refers to a leadership approach that uses the theories and practices of depth psychology, a formal sub-discipline of clinical psychology. These theories, which have been used for more than 150 years, embrace the power of the unconscious mind. They argue that human behaviour is not only driven by conscious intention, but also by a complex set of unconscious processes. This transformative approach, based on experience, can produce great leadership, say the organisers.


The third Karoo Parliament is being planned. It will be held in Lainsgsburg this year from November 11 to 13. All Karoo provinces – Northern Cape, Western and Eastern Cape – are invited and each Karoo town is requested to send at least three delegates – one from the private sector or community organisation, one from the municipality, and one from the farming community.


Prince Albert’s Leesfees will run from November 4 to 9 this year and it will include two exciting writers’ workshops. Speakers include authors of biographies, crime novels, cultural history and short stories as well as poets. Also, on the programme will be a rap artist, newspaper columnist, cartoonist and colouring-in book compiler.


The Binding Cord, a romantic novel, set in the Eastern Cape and former Transkei, gives readers a peek into life in this area in the years between 1924 and 1948. It is the tale of a friendship which developed between two girls from different races and cultures, who grew up on a farm. The one is Lenie Jantzen, who had been sent to live with Bertus and Netta, her wealthy uncle and aunt because there were no schools near the government forestry station where her father worked as a foreman. There she befriends Thamsi Tyala, a red-blanket Xhosa girl whose parents were farm servants. The young girls share a love of freedom and the outdoors, rebel against discipline, control and parental pressure. As they mature their strong individuality appears. Lenie’s family, descendants of Boer War concentration camp victims, violently oppose her relationship with the son of a wealthy Englishman, while Thamsi’s father is pushing her, much against her will, to marry a local chief. This colourful story reveals much of the inherent pride and dignity of the ama-Xhosa, respect for customs, such as intonjane, (ceremonies conducted when young girls reach puberty), hlonipa, (the custom of teenage male circumcision) and uku-twala, (abduction marriage). Written by Olga Donian, under the nom-de-plume, Desma Langley, this historic novel also includes incidents around the Second World War and rise of Black Consciousness.


Women have played many faceted roles in conservation in South Africa. To salute this and celebrate August, Women’s Month, the EWT has highlighted some of the organisation’s women who have worked tirelessly in conservation taking part in field work, conducting research, writing scientific papers and general articles and presenting their work to varied audiences. Some EWT women work with law enforcement officials and authorities to combat the poaching, others strive to secure land for conservation, empower communities, individuals and organisations and to implement conservation activities, and yet others reach out to the public and schools promoting environmental education and awareness. Dr Harriet Davis-Mostert, EWT’s head of conservation, was first woman to receive a PhD on African Wild Dogs. Karen Allen, who manages the EWT’s Source to Sea Dugong Project, is the only woman to have been awarded the Global 2015 Future for Nature Award. This was for her work on the critically endangered Indian Ocean Dugong. Kerryn Morrison, EWT’s African Cranes Conservation programme manager, has made significant strides in curbing wildlife trade. She lobbied for much tighter legislation around the international trade in cranes in the USA, China and Europe. Due to her efforts trade in Grey Crowned Cranes was suspended in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and trade in Black Crowned Cranes was suspended in South Sudan, Guinea and Nigeria. Dr Jeanne Tarrant rediscovered the critically endangered Amathole toad three years after it was last seen and was instrumental in introducing the annual Leap Day for Frogs.


The EWT reports that the second phase of the veld restoration project on Maanhaarspoort farm in the Wagenaarskraal Conservancy, outside Victoria West has just been completed. It was a difficult task handled in extremely cold, dry and windy conditions. “Even salted Karoo-dwellers found the winter to bitter,” said team members “Such work is challenging enough during ‘normal’ years and survival rates of the bossies we planted was poor.” The EWT is exploring a variety of ways to protect newly planted bossies with basic shade cloth structures. They have also split planting between autumn and spring, to compare survival rates. Stefan Theron, of LandCare Beaufort West, was praised for the valuable insight and advice he gave during this restoration project.


When young Foley, died of smallpox in Graaff-Reinet on a Saturday, his friends refused to bury him on the Sunday. The reason? They wanted to hold a wake. This was reported to the magistrate, who after the funeral on Monday, reproached the friends for “their barbarous and disgraceful behavior” and sentenced them to do service in the smallpox hospital. The matter was also reported to the bishop because the deceased was a Catholic reported The Cape and Frontier Times of June 2, 1841.


Grootfontein College of Agriculture was established outside Middelburg, in the Karoo in 1910. In 1922, S W J “Schalk” van Rensburg succeeded P J J Fourie who transferred to Onderstepoort, as lecturer in Veterinary Science. Van Rensburg’s duties included assisting E M Jarvis, the state veterinarian, who was stationed at Middelburg. When Jarvis moved to De Aar Van Rensburg became state veterinarian and in addition to lecturing, he supervised eight districts in the Cape Midlands and Karoo. These contained some outstanding horses, cattle, sheep and goat stud farms. Van Rensburg regularly visited Henry Nourse’s farm, Dwarsvlei. This Thoroughbred stud, with 600 brood mares and 1000 horses in training, was said to be the biggest in the world. One of the managers, Hendrik du Toit, an exceptional stockman, worked with the horses on this farm until well into his 80s. Another interesting place he visited was Sandy van Breda’s Temple Farm, a famous Thoroughbred breeding establishment, previously a hostelry, on the Old Colesberg Road near Schoombee. Sadly, Van Rensburg confirmeds that several good horses and the best stallion on this farm were poisoned by the head groom who maliciously added arsenic to their food.


Many top vets visited the once famous horse breeding stud farms in the Karoo. Among them was Jack Boswell who is regarded as the father of veterinary private practice in SA. After qualifying, a Jockey Club sponsorship allowed him to spend a year in England, with Day and Crowhurst at Newmarket, and another in Kentucky with Hagyard, Davidson and McGee, says Dr C H B Marlow in A Brief History of Equine Private Practice in SA. Boswell returned to South Africa, opened a general practice, and became well-known and highly respected in racing circles. In 1948, G F J Frik van Rensburg (BVSc 1948) became the first rural equine private practitioner in SA when he opened a general practice in Colesberg, a district renowned for its top Thoroughbred, Arabian, American Saddler and Boerperd studs. In 1949, Charles Belonje, who at the time was the state veterinarian at the Grootfontein, in Middelburg, became the first vet in this country to study the reproduction patterns of Thoroughbred mares and, in 1958, was awarded a DVSc degree for his pioneering work on fertility rates in the Karoo Midlands. George Faull, who established a horse racing practice in Cape Town, became the attending vet to many Thoroughbred studs in the Western Cape. He visited Bonnievale, Ashton, Robertson and Ralph Koster’s Klawervlei Stud in the Nuweveld mountains outside Beaufort West. He was an excellent surgeon, recognised as the doyen of the equine practitioners in this country. His contribution to Thoroughbred stud farming and racing in South Afica was enormous, states Dr Marlow, who performed the first caesarian on a Thoroughred in S A.


The 1960s and ‘70s saw a dramatic increase in student numbers at the Onderstepoort and the Western Province began to rapidly oust the Eastern Cape as the principal Thoroughbred breeding area. Wellknown vets of the day were (BVSc year of qualification in brackets) Frank Freeman and Marianne Thomson (1963) in Ceres, Dave Longland (1964) in Wellington, Tommy Foulkes (1964) and Les Vickerman (1969) in Robertson, Jim Antrobus (1973) who joined Dave Longland at the Wellington Animal Hospital, Jurie Gilliomee (1976) who practised near Ashton, Robin Rous (1960) who purchased Jean du Plessis’ practice in Colesberg. Hercu van Niekerk (1968) and Casper Troskie (1971) joined him before setting up practices in the Eastern Transvaal and Aliwal North.


In the late 1960s strangles, a contagious bacterial disease, introduced into S A during the Anglo-Boer War, was found and treated in the Karoo. There was another serious outbreak in the 1979 breeding season and strangles was spread across the Karoo and Eastern Cape by mares and foals returning to their home studs. Strangles, which had not been diagnosed since early 1980, was reintroduced into SA in 1998 by a consignment of horses from Australia and New Zealand. The outbreak, which was spread to stud farms by fillies out of training, caused considerable concern and a number of deaths. The disease is now considered endemic in SA and constant monitoring is essential.


In 1964 the first endurance ride, a leisurely affair, took place from De Aar to Richmond. Disaster struck when a number of horses that had taken part died before Marius van Tonder, state veterinarian at De Aar, could obtain medicine from Bloemfontein. It was thought that potassium nitrate fertiliser might have been added to water in a drinking trough. Endurance riding was stopped, and it only started again in the ‘70s. In 1979, the 2nd ‘100 miler’ in the world (the 1st being the Tevis Cup in America) was held under the supervision of Chris Marlow, in the Hofmeyr, Tarkastad, Molteno and Steynsburg districts, on a bitterly cold day on which the temperature, out of the wind, did not exceed 6 ºC. The route passed over the peak of Aasvoëlberg. 2200m above sea level. Very strict veterinary criteria, introduced by Chris Marlow, applied during this ride which is now held every year in August, and which is now recognised by the ERASA. By the 1970s many imported syndicated stallions were serving the Western Province, Karoo, Northern and Eastern Cape


It took years to solve a robbery committed in Graaff-Reinet in the early 1850s. As a result of loan of a book, police received a lead on July 1, 1856, enabling them to solve an old, almost forgotten crime, but they still had to go back six or seven years to gather proof. In 1849 Government Surveyor, Brown was sent to the Frontier on a lengthy job He arranged to store his belongings in two rooms of his home and asked a Mr de Villiers, to rent out the rest of the dwelling. The frontier contract took longer than expected, so Mr. Brown returned to sell his belongings. Several items were missing – among these was a green silk dress, a pair of gold bracelets, a number of books, a pair of double-barrelled pistols, a double-barrelled rifle and a stone bottle of Indian ink. Unable to prove anything, he made no public complaint. Two years later Brown returned to Graaff Reinet where he one day saw his son reading a Waverley novel. He recognised the book as one from his missing collection and so asked where his son got it. The boy said, a friend, David Smith, had loaned it to him. David was the son of the man to whom Brown’s house had been rented. Brown confronted Smith who denied all knowledge of the book, so Bown reported the matter to the police. On searching Smith’s house, the Chief Constable discovered the bracelets, silk dress, pistols, Indian ink and a number of books, all of which were identified as belonging to Mr Brown. They also found a silver spoon, marked TNGM which proved to be the property of a Mr. Muller. Police were also able to link Smith to smuggling charges, but by then he had fled. A warrant was issued for his arrest. His wife was taken into custody and charged as an accomplice, stated the Graaff-Reinet Herald of July 5, 1856.


An outing on a scorching Saturday afternoon in January 1846, ended in disaster. A party of young men from Theopolis decided to go swimming in the nearby river, despite the fact that it was running quite swiftly after recent rains. One of them, a man named Jones, developed a sudden cramp and called out for help, reported the Grahamstown Journal of January 12. His friend, Poulton, swam to his aid taking with him a stout branch of a tree. He called out to Jones to grab hold of it. Jones did this and was almost brought to safety, but his struggles jerked the branch from Poulton’s grasp. Jones sank beneath the waters. Despite diving in again and again no one could find him. His body was not recovered until the next day. A coffin was prepared for him at the farm of Mr. S. Dell and he was buried at Theopolis the following day. Jones, who had been in the employ of Jarvis Attornies for some time, was a well-liked young man, stated the newspaper.


On Wednesday afternoon as Mr. S. De Smidt was returning home his horse got the bit between his teeth and became unmanageable. He shot off at full speed and when turning a corner threw off young De Smidt with such violence that he received a dreadful fracture to his head, stated the Grahamstown Journal of July 31, 1852. Three doctors, Laing, Roux and Fleck, rushed to the young man’s aid, but could do little for him, so had him carried to the home of his grandmother, Mrs Stronk. At the time of going to press the poor man was still unconscious.


The Grahamstown Journal of July 10, 1852, tried to discourage young men from emigrating to Australia. “We are distressed to learn that the protracted border war and uncertainty of an ultimate settlement of affairs in the area has caused some young Cradock men to consider emigrating,” stated the newspaper. “We would urge them not to go. Few countries can surpass this one in the extent of its resources.” The paper pointed out that government was determined to reach a solid peace settlement. “We would thus counsel intending emigrants to wait a little longer until affairs can be more clearly seen. It would be unwise to rush into any rash decision and in any event it must be remembered that the price of land in Australia is expensive – it goes at about 20s an acre.”

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes. Henry Kaiser