THE NATAL SOCIETY OFFICE BEARERS 1990-1991

President M. 1. C. Daly
Vice-Presidents Dr F. C. Friedlander
S. N. Roberts
Prof. C. de B. Webb (died March 1992)
Trustees M.J.C. Daly
Miss P.A. Reid
S.N. Roberts
Fellow of the Natal Society Miss P.A. Reid
Treasurers Messrs KPMG Aiken & Peat
Auditors Messrs Thornton-Dibb,
Van der Leeuw and Partners
Director Mrs S.S. Wallis
Secretary P. C. G. McKenzie
COUNCIL
Elected Members M.J.C. Daly (Chairman)
S. N. Roberts (Vice-Chairman)
W.G. Anderson
Prof. A. M. Barrett
T.B. Frost
1.M. Deane
Prof. W. R. Guest
Prof. C. de B. Webb (died March 1992)
G.J.M. Smith
Ms P.A. Stabbins
G.A. Dominy (co-opted)
City Council Representatives Cllr I. Balfour
Cllr G.D. de Beer
Cllr Mrs J. Rosenberg
EDITORIAL COMMITTEE OF NATALIA
Editor G.A. Dominy
Dr W.H. Bizley
M.H. Comrie
J.M. Deane
Miss J. Farrer
T.B. Frost
Prof. W.R. Guest
Dr D. Herbert
Dr G. Martin (International editorial consultant)
Mrs S.P.M. Spencer
Dr Sylvia Vietzen
Secretary D.J. Buckley
Natalia 22 (1992) Copyright © Natal Society Foundation 2010
Natalia
Journal of the Natal Society
No.22 December 1992
This volume is decidated to the memory of
Colin de Bern Webb
1930-1992
Founding editor, 1971-1975
Published by Natal Society Library
P.O. Box 415. Pietermaritzburg 3200. South Africa
SA ISSN 0085-3674
Cover Picture
Colin de Berri Webb: 1930-1992
As Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Natal, 1988
(Photograph: University of Natal Archives)
Typeset by the University of Natal Press
Printed by The Natal Witness Printing and Publishing Company (Pty) Ltd
Contents
Page
EDITORIAL 5
TRIBUTES TO COLIN DE B. WEBB 7
UNPUBLISHED PIECE
The Reminiscences of Thomas Green
Graham Dominy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
ARTICLES
Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
Hans-Jurgen Oschadleus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Nothing of Value: the British soldier and loot
during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
fan Knight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
The Natal Microscopical Society (1878-1885?)
Cornelis Plug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
National Monuments: a new focus in Natal
Andrew Hall ......................... 55
OBITUARIES
AndnS de Villiers ...................... 65
Dulcie Somers Vine ..................... 68
Geoffrey Sutherland .................... 71
Fred Clarke .......................... 73
Reggie Hadebe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
NOTES AND QUERIES
Moray Comrie ........................ 77
BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES ................. 86
SELECT LIST OF RECENT NATAL PUBLICATIONS ..... 97
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS ................... 99
Editorial
This edition of Natalia marks a number of important events. Sadly, the first
and foremost event is the death of Natalia's founding editor, Professor Colin
Webb, to whom this volume is dedicated. We publish two richly deserved
tributes by Professors John Laband and Colin Gardner.
The second event, not nearly as dramatic, but certainly marking a change in
eras, is the change in the editors hip of our journal. Mr T. B. Frost, after eleven
unbroken years in the editorial chair, stepped down at the beginning of this
year, but fortunately remains on the editorial committee. As the new editor, I
must pay tribute to 'Jack' Frost for his unprecedentedly long service. He has
edited our journal for half its lifespan and, since relinquishing the editorship,
has given much-needed, calming advice and courteous assistance to his rookie
successor. Taking the editorial chair after so long and distinguished a reign, is
a daunting challenge, particularly because the Natal Society, the Editorial
Board and I, had all hoped that Colin Webb would reassume the editorship in
his retirement. But, sadly, this was not to be. I do believe, however, that I am
the first of Professor Webb's former undergraduate students to edit Natalia.
In addition to the tributes to Colin Webb, Natalia 22 offers its readers an
unpublished piece, four varied articles, the usual 'Notes & Queries', reviews
and obituaries of other prominent Natalians. We have not reproduced this
year's Natal Society Lecture by Professor Guy Butler as it was not of
specifically Natal interest.
To mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Dick King's ride to
Grahamstown and the clash between the British and the Boers at Port Natal, we
present the 'Reminiscences of Thomas Green', the brother-in-law of Dick King
and a soldier of the period. 1992 has been a festival year for the South African
German community and Hans-Jiirgen Oschadleus provides us with a timely
article on the Hermannsburg Mission Society. The Anglo-Zulu War continues
to arouse readers' interest and British military historian, lan Knight, offers an
article on an intriguing sidelight to the activities of the British in Zulu land,
namely the acquisition of Zulu artefacts and cultural material as 'souvenirs'.
Our third article, by Professor Cornelis Plug, is on the Natal Microscopical
Society, a little known aspect of Victorian Natal's curiosity about the natural
world. Andrew Hall's article changes the focus and is a forward-looking assess­
ment of the position of national monuments in Natal at a time of great changes.
We note with sorrow the deaths of the Rev. Dr Andre de Villiers, a well
known religious and educational figure; Mrs Dulcie Somers Vine, a long
serving, but unsung, administrator at the University of Natal in Pietermaritz­
burg; Mr Geoffrey Sutherland, the driving force behind NAPAC's musical
drama department for many years; Dr Fred Clarke, a distinguished politician
and much respected member of the medical fraternity. Dr Clarke spent four
5
6
years in a coma before his family obtained an historic decisiori from the
Supreme Court allowing his life to pass naturally to its end.
As Natalia was going to press, the assassination of Mr Reggie Hadebe, a
prominent leader in the ANC in Natal, occurred on 27 October 1992. Earlier in
the year Mr Skhumbuzo Ngwenya, another young ANC leader in the Pieter­
maritzburg area, was killed outside a hotel in the city. On the other side of the
political divide, Inkatha families have suffered their losses, including the tragic
death of young children in an ambush aimed at Inkatha leaders in Imbali. It has
been a desperately sad year for Natal in which misery and violence have
dimmed hope. Surely each killing is further proof that the 'Zulu nation' is not a
united political entity and non-ethnic solutions have to be sought. Natalia does
not contain any obituaries for victims of the violence this year, but we reprint
the Natal Witness's editorial of 28 October, following the assassination of Mr
Hadebe, which expresses our views better than we can at such a late stage in
the Natalia production cycle.
In 'Notes and Queries', Moray Comrie has brought together an array of
items ranging from Natal's contribution to the restoration of the bells of the
cathedral in Grahamstown, to information on new museums at Hermannsburg,
Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift and the restoration of King's House in Durban.
The Register of Research on Natal has been omitted as it is impossible to
provide an accurate reflection of the breadth and depth of research on our
province from the returns submitted by readers of Natalia. A list of the most
recent publications on Natal is still provided, however, and many of these have
been reviewed.
The Editorial Board has been strengthened by two new members. Dr David
CDai') Herbert, a malacologist at the Natal Museum, brings the much needed
expertise of a natural historian to a board dominated by plain historians and
educationists, as well as his interest in bell-ringing. The conference of the
South African Economic History Society in July 1992 brought many distingu­
ished overseas academics to Pietermaritzburg and Dr Ged Martin from
Edinburgh University has agreed to serve as an international editorial consul­
tant for Natalia and has offered contributions to future editions.
While the political and economic situations remain bleak, there is still place
for optimism and a longer perspective. In this regard, Natalia notes, with
pleasure, several new university appointments which bode well for the future.
Professor David Maughan Brown has taken Colin Webb's place as Vice­
Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the
University of Natal. Professor Jeff Guy, the author of the influential work, The
Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom, has returned to South Africa, after many
years lecturing in Norway, to take a chair of history on the Durban campus of
Natal University. And Professor Joy Brain, who has retired from the Chair of
History at the University of Durban-Westvillc, has been replaced by Professor
Irina Filotova, formerly of the African Studies Centre at Moscow State
University. We congratulate all these academics on their appointments. In the
museum field we congratulate Natalia's northern Natal correspondent, Mrs
Sheila Henderson, on her appointment by the Administrator of Natal as
Chairman of the Provincial Museums Advisory Board.
The political and economic 50lutions to the country's woes have to be found
within the context of sound environmental policies and the Editorial Board
hereby gives notice that Natalia 23 will focus on environmental issues
pertaining to Natal.
GRAHAM DOMINY
Colin de Berri Webb (1930-1992)
I
An historian's tribute
With the death of Professor Colin Webb on 22 March 1992, both Natalia and
the Natal Society have lost a much esteemed and long standing associate. He
played a prominent role in the founding of Natalia and was the first chairman
of its editorial board (1971-75), as well as a council member of the Natal
Society (1965-75, 1988-92), and one of its vice-presidents (1988-92).
His was a presence that loomed. Yet it was much more than his sheer
physical stature that indelibly impressed Colin Webb' s persona on the
consciousness of all who knew him. For he was many things: teacher, scholar,
administrator and public figure; but also husband and father of two sons, and
valued friend and colleague. Authority emanated from him, but always
tempered by his approachability, obvious integrity and fine sense of humour.
Who can forget his beam of delight and high-pitched, trilling laugh? His
company was always stimulating and could be enormous fun, for he was a man
of wit and dramatic flair, with wide interests besides history and education. He
could talk with real knowledge and insight on subjects ranging from politics,
drama, music and fine art to veld types and domestic gardens. And though he
could be formidable at times, it was with the short intensity of a summer storm,
soon to pass. For he was a man of passion, who believed passionately in what
he did and in the firm liberal principles which guided his actions.
Colin de Berri Webb was born in Pretoria on 24 October 1930. He attended
Pretoria Boys' High School, and in 1948 went on to the University of the
Witwatersrand on a Barclay's Bank Scholarship. In 1955, as a holder of the
prestigious Elsie Ballot Scholarship, he proceeded to Clare College,
Cambridge, to read history. In 1957 he took up his first university appointment
as a temporary lecturer in the Department of History and Political Science at
the University of Natal, Durban. There he met Fleur Gower, who was on the
staff teaching Introductory French. They married in 1960. In 1962 Colin came
as a senior lecturer to the Department of History and Political Science in
Pieterrnaritzburg, the same year his eldest son, Jonathan, was born. Nicholas
followed in 1964. Col in ' s promotion in 1971 to associate professor was only
his due. Then in 1976 he moved to the University of Cape Town as the King
George V Professor of History, filling this, the premier history chair in South
Africa, until he returned to Natal in 1984 as Vice-Principal of the University of
7
8 CoLin Webb: Tributes
Natal, Durban. In 1988, at the strong urging of senior academics on the
Pietermaritzburg campus, he made himself available to succeed Professor
Deneys Schreiner as Vice-Principal at this centre. Duly appointed, he held the
post until mounting illness, so courageously borne, forced him to relinquish it a
week before his death.
Students who were fortunate enough to have been taught by Colin Webb
remember him as undoubtedly the most inspiring lecturer they ever encoun­
tered. For he was able to impart both his zest for history and the intellectual
integrity with which he pursued it. Because he was constantly revising his
thinking on the basis of fresh evidence from his reading and research, his
lectures came across with a sense of immediacy and excitement, heightened by
his consummate oratorical style. He spoke in his fine, clear voice with a thrill
of suppressed passion, giving even the most complex issues an extraordinary
clarity and relevance. As a superviser of postgraduate theses (and in his time he
supervised over 50 Honours research essays, 17 Masters theses and 6 Ph.D.
dissertations), he was both demanding and meticulous, extracting a high level
of research from his students.
Besides being a teacher of rare talent, Colin Webb was also an innovative
scholar, and through his example and inspiration moulded a school of Natal
and Zululand studies in which many of his students and colleagues are still
prominently active today. In recognition of his distinction as an historian, in
1979 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Webb's Guide to the OfficiaL Records of the CoLony of NataL (1965), which
provided a detailed analysis of the historical source materials available in
Natal, opened up the region's records to all subsequent researchers. After
going through two editions, the Guide was updated in 1984 in a compilation by
J. Verbeek, M. Nathanson and E. Peel. Colin complemented this pioneering
work with A History of NataL (1965), written jointly with Edgar Brookes. As a
synthesis of research to date, this book provided Natal and Zululand with its
first modern historical treatment. It remains a standard authority and went into
a second edition in 1987. In it, Brookes and Webb began to swing the emphasis
away from the traditional Eurocentric perspective of earlier white historians,
and set the trend for a more comprehensive approach ecompassing all who
lived in Natal and Zululand, whether Khoisan, Nguni-speakers, white settlers
or Indian immigrants.
Colin Webb' s especial contribution was in the field of Zulu history, and it is
there that his influence has been most felt. His encyclopaedic knowledge of
Zululand and its affairs in the nineteenth century was demonstrated in A ZuLu
King Speaks (1978; 2nd edition 1987), co-edited with John Wright. The two of
them went on to translate and edit four volumes of The lames Stuart Archive of
Recorded OraL Evidence (1976, 1979, 1982, 1987), and were working on the
fifth volume at the time of Colin's death. The lames Stuart Archive is surely
his monument. For, through their detailed notes and indexes, Webb and Wright
have presented in coherent form and made accessible a mass of African oral
testimony which, despite its unique importance, had lain obscure and little
used. It is no exaggeration to state that The lames Stuart Archive has opened a
path to Natal and Zululand's pre-colonial and colonial past along which all
future historians of the field must pass.
His field-work on environlnental factors in Zulu history was but another
facet of his deep feeling for the region in all its aspects, and this understanding
was exhibited for the last time in published form in his historical introduction
and index to volume 1 of Adulphe Delegorgue's TraveLs in Southern Africa
9 Colin Webb: Tributes
Colin Webb and John Wright working on the lames Stuart Archive
(Photograph: University of Natal Archives)
(1990), which Fleur translated from the French, and to which Stephanie
Alexander contributed a zoological and botanical introduction and index.
Nor, in considering Colin's contribution as a scholar, must one forget a
further two dozen learned articles and chapters in books on subjects ranging
from the origins of the Franco-Prussian War to the life of Dabulamanzi. He
delivered besides some thirty conference papers and public addresses to
academic audiences. He was also active as an editor, for in addition to his
services to Natalia, he was also co-editor of Theoria (1962-75) and an
editorial adviser from 1978. No wonder his was a presence of such influence
wherever professional historians met.
Yet Colin was also an administrator of much experience, holding great
responsibilities. He never shirked his duty to serve the university community,
and a list of the committees of which he was a member, or which he chaired,
would cover several pages. Some might regret that these administrative
obligations took him away too frequently from his scholarly pursuits, and he
also felt this deprivation. Nevertheless, he was an administrator of imagination
and vision, deeply conscious of the challenges facing the universities in South
Africa. He saw the urgency of addressing the problems of the educationally
disadvantaged while maintaining high educational standards. Furthermore, he
also insisted on the importance of academic freedom for a free and open
society. It accords with this principled position that he initiated the establish­
ment on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the Alan Paton Centre for the Study of
the Literature and Politics of Inter-group Conciliation.
His wide experience and well-known commitment to the goal of a free and
just society in South Africa led to his being called to serve on over two dozen
professional and public bodies outside the university. At one time he was a
member of the Natal executive of the Progressive Party, though he resisted the
lure of standing for parliament. Besides sitting on the executives of various
la Colin Webb: Tributes
historical societies, museum boards and heritage and conservation trusts, he
also served his turn as vice-president and president of the South African
Historical Society, as a member of the Education Specialist Group of the
Buthelezi Commission, as chairman of the Natal Education Board and as a
member of the Academic Planning Committee of the Committee of University
Principals. He was also frequently called upon to deliver public addresses on
occasions ranging from public meetings protesting at threats to academic
freedom, to prize-giving days at schools. Always, though, his listeners
savoured his magnificent, often impassioned, delivery and learned by his
wisdom.
When a man of multifarious talents and enormous vitality dies before his
time, he inevitably leaves incomplete the many projects he had on hand. And
for his family, friends and colleagues, who miss him so deeply, this can be
another cause for sadness. Yet Colin Webb's full and significant life could
scarcely be described as unfulfilled, despite its premature end. For he made his
indelible mark on all who knew him, and through his teaching, scholarship and
example. defined the path and set the goal for those who would follow where
he led.
JOHN LABAND
11
Speech at the naming of the Colin Webb Hall
27 August 1992
It is a very great pleasure and privilege to have been asked to speak at this
naming ceremony, this university community function at which the Old Main
Hall is to become the Colin Webb Hall.
Let me speak first about the hall. The University of Natal (the Natal
University College as it then was, the NUC) came into being in 1910. This
means, if we bear in mind the amazing expansion of university education in the
twentieth century, particularly since the Second World War - this means that
the University of Natal is one of the world's older universities. And this
building, the original university building, completed in 1912, is indeed quite
venerable. The hall itself has served many purposes over the years: it has been
a library, a theatre, a hospital word (during the First World War), a venue for
11 Colin Webb: Tributes
such varied events as opening ceremonies, dances, musical concerts, and
examinations. This is one of the reasons for its being well known and well
loved by many generations of students.
The other reason for its being known and remembered with affection is that
it is strikingly handsome. Like the rest of the building, it was designed by the
Pietermaritzburg architect J. Collingwood Tully and it was described in the
building contracts - rather vaguely - as being in the 'English Renaissance
style'; but there is nothing vague or uncertain about the elegant shapes and
patterns, the verticals and semi-circles, that we see around us. The hall is
probably looking more attractive today then it has ever looked before. That is
because of the thoughtfulness and imagination of Colin Webb.
The hall had grown a bit shabby and tired-looking. The reason for this was
partly that, having long since become incapable of housing the whole or most
of the Maritzburg student body, it had lost many of its previous purposes. It
was partly also because the university seemed not to have enough money to
renovate the hall. (If there is one consistent thread that runs through the history
of the university, incidentally, it is a strong tendency towards drought in the
matter of what is nowadays called 'cashflow'.) But Colin Webb, with the eye
of a sensitive and aesthetically-refined historian, decided that the look and the
atmosphere of the hall should be restored and enhanced. What is more, with the
astuteness of an experienced vice-principal, he realised that he could do what
needed to be done within the limits of funds available from annual maintenance
budgets. In other words, at a time of great financial stringency, he managed to
perform an act that was historical conservation, cultural enrichment, labour of
love and practical common-sense, all rolled into one - without getting in the
way of any of the university's other projects or activities. He directed and
supervised the renovations himself, enthusiastically and yet patiently. As a
result of all this we have a freshly painted and newly curtained hall, with a
novel, slightly enigmatical charm - a subtle mixture (I would say) of Natal
colonial and Bavarian baroque.
It is particularly appropriate, then, that the hall should be given Colin
Webb's name. It is, as it were, one of the extensions of his personality, a part of
himself. Future generations of staff and students, who have not known the man
himself, will be able to learn something about him by standing here and
looking around.
But there is, of course, a great deal that they will not be able to learn about
him by looking at this hall. The tasteful reanimation of a piece of 1912 colonial
architecture suggests the ability to get into, and perhaps to outstrip, the mind of
the person and the culture that produced it. But Colin Webb as an historian was
distinguished precisely by his capacity to understand and penetrate other
viewpoints besides the colonial and European one, the one that had in general
dominated the writing of our history until his time. His crucial pioneering work
in South African history, particularly the history of Natal and Zululand,
involved conjuring up the perspective of the victims of white aggression, and
consequently putting into context the ideals, pretensions and self-deceptions of
some of the sorts of people who were behind the founding of this university
and the building of this hall. It is worth remembering, and Colin Webb would
never have been unaware, that a mere six years before the construction of this
hall there had occurred the Bambatha uprising, an event which both in its
underlying causes and in the way in which it was dealt with can now be seen to
have highlighted the injustice and the general inadequacy of Natal colonial
rule. Besides being a handsome place well worth restoring and preserving,
12 Colin Webb: Tributes
then, this Old Main Hall can be seen, paradoxically, as a symbol of that past of
the old South Africa that we hope the new South Africa will be able to
understand, forgive and transcend.
Speaking of the old and the new, the past and the present and the future, I
can't help briefly breaking the solemnity of this occasion by recounting a wild
but humorous thought that drifted into my mind as I was preparing these
words. The humorousness was of a kind that I'm sure Colin Webb would have
appreciated. I suddenly thought: 'Maybe the University of Natal is going
through a sort of Conservative Party phase, a conservative panic, and, seeing
the speed with which things are changing both within the university and
beyond it, has decided to go on a naming spree, and is with unseemly rapidity
naming everything in sight after white administrators, living or dead.' The
thought seemed worth recording (it may have occurred to other people), but
fortunately for me it didn't last long: quite apart from the fact that none of the
people after whom places have been named are CP types, and that all of them
richly deserve the recognition they have been given, there is the additional
consideration that there are many places left within the university - and we
trust that others will be built too - which may be named after university
leaders of the future.
* * *
So then, and as I've said, very appropriately, the past and dead administrator
after whom this hall is being named is Colin Webb. It is with very great
sadness that one says these words, because of course Colin was so very
recently active here among us. He retired from the post of Deputy Vice­
Chancellor of this university in February of this year, and he died on March
22nd. The wound of his parting is still fresh for all of us, but above all for
Fleur, whom we are honoured to have at this assembly and to whom we offer
our continuing sympathy.
I could talk about Colin Webb, whom I knew well, for far longer than would
be proper or sensible on an occasion such as this one. I have decided to focus
on four aspects of his personality, four aspects of his achievement as a person
and as an academic. Colin Webb was a remarkably integrated person, and for
this reason the four characteristics that I single out all run into one another and
reinforce one another.
Here then are my four points of emphasis. He was a profoundly humane
person. He was an imaginative and original historian. He was an intellectual
and social leader. He was marvellously eloquent. As I say, these four points of
focus can't easily be separated.
His humanity, his humaneness, permeated everything. It was there in his
family life, with Fleur and with his two sons, with his more immediate
extended family and with a widely ramifying network of cousins and second
cousins. It was there with his friends and colleagues and students, in his
seriousness, his concern for others, his good himour, his hospitality, his sheer
decency and pleasantness.
One of the manifestations of his humaneness was to be found in his quest for
social justice. He was one of the early members of the Progressive Party in
Maritzburg, in the days when Helen Suzman (whom he knew) was fighting her
lone battle in the House of Assembly, long before she began to become
13 Colin Webb: Tributes
accepted and admired by the average white citizen. He was also regarded by
liberal colleagues and students as a person to be called on, to speak in public
and to write, at some of those many moments when the Government placed
further restrictions upon universities and upon society.
And of course his yearning for justice, for empathy and for human truth was
one of the powerful impulses behind the remarkable work that he did as an
historian. Many students of history used to come to the University with a sense
that European and North American history was relatively interesting, but that
South African history was a bore. With Colin Webb standing tall in front of
them, his rich deep voice sounding vibrantly (and often echoing along the
corridors of this building), they discovered to their amazement that the history
of our country, properly approached, is breathtakingly exciting and momen­
tous. All over South Africa and in several other countries there are historians
who were drawn into the profession by the magic of Colin's teaching. And in
the higher years he was an inspiring and enabling supervisor; he has been the
midwife for numerous mini-theses and theses at the Honours, Masters and PhD
levels. But he couldn't have been such a good teacher and supervisor if he
wasn't producing new material himself. This is no place to offer a list of his
publications (books, chapters, articles, conference papers), but it would be
wrong not to mention his by now famous and recently updated Guide to the
Official Records of the Colony of Natal, the History of Natal which he wrote
with Edgar Brookes, and the volumes of The lames Stuart Archive which he
co-edited with John Wright.
As a lecturer and supervisor, a speaker at public meetings, and a person
dedicated to the creation of social and political justice, he showed himself to be
an intellectual and social leader. But this aspect of him expressed itself in many
other ways. He found himself being elected to many committees, both within
the universities that he served and in the larger society. Within the Arts
Faculties of this university and of the University of Cape Town he moved to
the top with a sort of naturalness or inevitability, for he wasn't in the normal
sense of the word a particularly ambitious person. He simply believed that
tasks were important and needed to be carried out intelligently and honestly;
other people decided that he was the person to perform crucial functions. As far
as I remember it was friends (and I think I was one of them) who persuaded
him to apply for the Vice-Principal's post in Durban. It probably wouldn't have
occurred to him to do so because he didn't spend much time plotting his next
career move. But once he was in a post he made it his own and indeed recreated
it. He took a lead with his own sincere version of that nonchalance which was
so admired in the Italian Renaissance.
The fourth of the points that I emphasized in my brief summary of Colin
Webb's characteristics was his eloquence. Some people may find this a
surprising point to stress, let alone to end on. But in fact Colin's eloquence, his
extraordinary articulateness and his capacity to take another person or a large
audience along with him, was no merely superficial technical skill. It was an
expression of his whole exploratory, generous and complex being. The other
characteristics that I have underlined - his humaneness, his quality as a
teacher and an historian, his intellectual and social leadership - all these were
distilled in the words and sentences that he devised and often most memorably
spoke aloud.
* * *
14 Colin Webb: Tributes
This hall and this person, then: as we perform the act of naming, they come to
belong to each other. There is something fitting about such a procedure, as I
have tried to suggest.
But at the same time (if I may return to an earlier theme) there is something
very sad and very inadequate about it too. Colin Webb richly deserves to have
this fine hall named after him; but there is so much more to him than these
walls and this roof could ever hope to indicate.
This naming confers a particular kind of immortality upon him. We must
look to other modes of remembrance, of immortality, if we are to do any full
justice to him. Or perhaps we might say that the point of the naming of this hall
after him is that it symbolizes the other kinds of respect, gratitude and love that
his friends offer and constantly re-create.
COLIN GARDNER
The Reminiscences of
Thomas Green
Introduction
In 1896, Thomas Green, octogenarian ex-soldier and early settler in Natal, provided 'Kit' Bird, senior
civil servant and chronicler of settler Natal, with a lively set of reminiscences which have proved to
be a fruitful source for histories of early colonial Natal. The original manuscripts are in the Bird
Papers in the Natal Archives Depot and, rather inaccurate, typescript copies are held in the Killie
Campbel\ Africana Library in Durban.l Bird had set himself the task of recording the reminiscences
of early settlers before they all died and through press reports, questionnaires and circular letters he
tried to contact as many old colonists as possible. The Bird Papers in the Natal Archives Depot are
the result. Bird did not publish much of his information, but the Bird Papers were extensively used by
Hattersley and by later historians. Some ten years ago, two archivists, Avenal Geldart and Verne
Harris, began preparing the collection for publication. Regrettably they both left the Archives in
Pietermaritzburg before completing their task. The Bird Papers still await their editor and publisher.
It is well worth noting that while Bird was actively engaged in collecting settler reminiscences
around the turn of the century, a fellow civil servant, lames Stuart, was equally energetically
collecting the reminiscences of many Zulu informants. The lames Stuart Archive has been appearing
under the editorship of the late Professor Colin Webb and Professor John Wright for several years.2
The intellectual atmosphere in Natal among the colonial elite that gave rise to these parallel historical
endeavours and the joint and separate impacts of Bird and Stuart on Natal historiography still needs
exploration.
Both Bird and Professor Alan Hattersley published short sections of Green's reminiscences, but
omitted those parts which add flavour, biographical details and background
3
Hattersley seems to
have specifically omitted parts of Green's reminiscences which refer to settlers living in similar
styles to the black inhabitants of Natal, either through their deliberate choice or through dependence
on similar resources. Further research into Hattersley's editing of settler reminiscences would be
necessary for this to be established as part of an editorial policy. In addition, Green's reminiscences
have been referred to in several general histories of Natal and his lists of early settlers have been
used, in conjunction with other sources. by Shelagh Spencer in compiling her register of Natal
settlers· Clearly these reminiscences must be regarded as important source material.
Green's reminiscences are in three sections: An introductory note to Mr Bird, his extensive
reminiscences and a short memoir on Dick King, his brother-in-law. Although not present at the
Battle of Congella between Capt Smith's detachment and the Voortrekkers under Andries Pretorius,
Green provides us with a unique description of conditions at Port Natal in the aftermath of the clash
between the Trekkers and the British. He also describes the skilled work in civil construction and the
manual labour done by the British troops. both in Port Natal and Pietermaritzburg: work which
provided the basis for the infrastructure of the British colony.
There is extensive discussion of fellow-colonists and a variety of amusing anecdotes on the wild
life and the environment in Natal. Green was as prejudiced as the next colonist and, at one level of
mental consciousness, he regards Natal's black inhabitants as invisible, almost non-people; white
settlers are the only real people in Natal. Yet, throughout his reminiscences, expressions of
underlying respect for his black compatriots appear, even if phrased in terms, such as 'Kaffir' or
'Kafir' - he uses both spellings - which are now regarded as inSUlting. Furthermore it is clear
from the reminiscences that the settlers and the army were heavily dependent on the black peoples
among whom they lived, for providing food, shelter and for communications.
Thomas Grreen was born in County Cavan in Ireland and learned the trade of a stonemason. His
Natalia 22 (1992) G. Dominy (ed.), pp. 15-26
16 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
date of birth is not recorded in the reminiscences, but the KCAL holds a typescript copy of an
unidentified newspaper report which gives his date of death as 1903.
Green joined the British army and came to South Africa in 1843 with the 45th Regiment, the
Sherwood Foresters. Ironically, the 27th Regiment, the Inniskilling Fusiliers, an Irish regiment which
recruited from Green's home and neighbouring counties, also claims him as a veteran. It is clear from
his reminiscences that he served with both the 45th and the 27th regiments and with the Royal
Engineers.
Green was stationed at Port Natal with the veterans of the Battle of Congella, but marched to
Pietermaritzburg with the detachment of the 45th Regiment that established Fort Napier. During his
years of service in Pietermaritzburg, Green was deeply involved in the construction of Fort Napier
and of many public buildings and private homes. He also assisted the Royal Engineers with land and
harbour surveys in Durban and after taking his discharge from the army, he settled in Durban. He
speaks with pride of his life in Durban in general and, in particular, of the fact that he built the
monument to the fallen of the Battle of Congella and the Siege of Port Natal. In 1879, he added an
additional plaque to the monument to commemorate the fallen colonial volunteers in the Anglo-Zulu
War.
Thomas Green married Dick King's sister and his description of his famous brother-in-law, while
awe-struck and uncritical, provides some intimate details. It is strange that Green does not mention
Ndongeni, who accompanied King for much of his ride, at al1.
5
Green does mention, however, the
role of Mnini, the pro-British chief on the Bluff, who covered King's tracks and deliberately misled
the Trekkers as to his route.
The manuscript in the Bird Papers has been taken as the most accurate version of Green's
reminiscences. Illegible words in the manuscript have been cross-checked with the typescript and the
clearer version has been taken. Editorial interventions such as this are indicated in the notes or in
square brackets in the text. The original spelling, grammar and phraseology (including now offensive
terms, such as 'Kaffir' and 'Bastard') are retained. Green is inconsistent in his spelling and slightly
repetitive in his style, but changes have been kept to a minimum in the interests of conveying the
flavour of the man and his times. Minor changes have been made to punctuation and to the paragraph
structure, simply to improve the flow of the narrative; they do not alter the meaning in any way.
Green mentions numerous early settlers by name and checks have revealed that most, if not all, the
'British' settlers are included in Shelagh Spencer's lists of settlers.
6
Those whose surnames begin
with the letters A-F, have already been provided with comprehensive biographies. Green usually
provides sufficient detail for a general reader on Natal history to identify the person being referred to,
therefore the editorial policy here is to note only exceptionally important, or obscurely described,
persons.
Acknowledgements
I am indebted to Mrs Bobby Eldridge, of the KiIlie Campbell Africana Library, and to Mrs Shelagh
Spencer for their assistance with the task of editing this manuscript. I also acknowledge the
assistance of Mrs Pamela Jerling, of the Natal Museum, for her assistance with typing the manuscript.
NOTES
I. Natal Archives Depot: A79 '[C.J.] "Kit" Bird Collection', Vol.6 (,Reminiscences of early
settlers': G-H). The typescripts in the Killie Campbell Africana Library [hereafter KCAL] are in
'Uncatalogued Manuscripts'.
2. C. de B. Webb & J. B. Wright (eds & trans), The lames Stuart archive of recorded oral evidence
relating to the history of the Zulu and neighbouring peoples, Vols. 1-4, (Pietermaitzburg &
Durban, 1976-1986 continuing).
3. C. Bird, 'Echoes of the past: records and reminiscences of old Natal', Regimental annual, 1921
[45th Regiment - The Sherwood Foresters]; and 'An Irishman of the 45th Regiment reaches
Durban in 1843' in A.F. Hatters1ey, More annals of Natal with historical introductions and
notes, (London, 1936), pp.71-3.
4. S. O'B. Spencer, British settlers in Natal 1824-/857: a biographical register, Vols. 1-6,
(Pietermaritzburg, 198 I -1992 continuing).
5. Jacqueline A. Kalley quotes Elizabeth Watt as refuting Ndongeni's claims to have accompanied
King on his ride: See 'Dick King: a modest hero', Natalia 16, 1986, pp. 39-44.
6. Spencer, British settlers, 6, (1992): See list between pp. 288-305.
GRAHAM DOMINY
17 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
I
Reminiscences of myself
On the 3rd May 1848 I purchased my discharge from the 45th Regiment after
spending some 7 years and 150 days in the Army with the Engineers (& the
27th Regt) & the 45th Regt, so I have had a varied experience. The Colony of
Natal has a great deal to thank the 27th for. They fought & bled, & handed over
Natal watered with their blood. The 45th kept a firm hold on it, & tried to
develope it. The 27th of that date was not like the 27th of late years that came
to Natal.
l
They were about as true fellows as ever carried arms for Her
Majesty.
I brought from the Army an exemplary character which I tried to keep up as
well as I could. I was always a great favourite with my officers, and began in
PMBurg as a Builder & Contractor. In 1851 I married Dick King's sister, &
was brought to belong to the family of the famous Dick King. His sister - my
wife - was the second volume of her famous brother & was a good wife &
mother, and never afraid to rough it or give her help when required. She lived
with me 36 years & died in Durban. We had a large family/of daughters, not
one of whom ever brought a blush to the cheek of father or mother. I can safely
say no gentleman in Natal need ever be ashamed to shake hands with any of my
generation, and believe there are 56 grandchildren, all good respectable
citizens in Natal.
I became one of the people of Durban. I revered and respected them & think
the men of Durban the finest, warmest hearted people in the world. On this 26
Oct 1896 I am four score years of age and am proud to say all my faculties are
unimpaired & as sound as a bell. So I have a good fortune left me - long life,
good health, a great fortune. Strange that I should have been appointed to put
up the first monument to the slain of the 27th, and in 1879 I put up the military
monument on a large scale [illegible - 27th?].2 The public could not raise
money enough (£80) so I said give me what money you have, I will do the
labour for love, there it stands in the Military Cemetery, Durban, today.
11
Reminiscences of early Natal
I arrived in Cape Town with my regiment (45th) on the 3rd of May 1843, but
was sent by general order of Sir George Napier, military General and Governor
of the Cape, to join the Engineers, then the Sappers & Miners. They were short
handed, I was a tradesman, my services were required. The route came, We
were ordered to march for Natal. We marched on the 9th to Simons Town and
got aboard the Thunderbolt, War Steamer, for Natal. We arrived at the outer
anchorage on the 26th May,3 landed 200 men, 14 Engineers, some Artillery,
and some 25 men of the Cape COlJ1s. The Cape Corps were then all Bastards &
Hottentots, and supposed to be the best light cavalry in H.M. Service.
4
18 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
The landing was done by the Steamer's Long Boat, as no other boat or ship
appeared. It was a difficult task, landing troops in so small a boat, however it
was done successfully. So we pitched our tents, about where the Custom House
stands at present and took up a position of defence, for the Boers were all
about.
I stood amazed at the grandeur of the scene. Everything was primitive, the
hands of man had not defaced it. The Inner Bay was like a sheet of silver, with
the wild fowl that man had never frightened. I thought the Bay the most
beautiful sight that I had ever seen. But the Sunset that evening in May with the
Golden tints beggars any description that I can give. I have never seen the like
before in Ireland where I came from. The beautiful Berea untouched, all one
sheet of Evergreen, and I was told that Elephants were there, and lots of other
animals, which I soon found to be true.
I was satisfied with Natal then, though uninhabited, for this was my first day
in Nata1.
5
The first man I noticed was Mr Mesham salting beef in a tub with a
voorloper shirt on. He was afterwards a magistrate, but then he wore no coat
nor boots.
The schooner Fawn was lying inside [with] some guns and a few men. Her
back was broken when crossing the Bar. Capt Nourse commanded her. A few
of the Fawn's men stayed. Jack Cotton and Fred Philips both quiet and
respectable citizens. Old Hugh MacDonald who afterwards owned the Royal
Hotel in Smith St. Durban. Also Charlie MacDonald his brother - both good
men. Hugh brought a ship called the Pilot, once a month, with the little
supplies we wanted, but often she would not come for 4 months and there was
then almost a famine.
There was no 'Misters' in those days,6 each called the other Bill, Tom and
Dick. We were very scant of clothing then, Military as well as Civilian. We
were at one time so reduced for trousers that we shot a large Buck, the skin was
Brayed and the Hottentots made trousers for us, sewed with the sinews of the
buck.
There was one particular man we almost worshipped for his heroism, Dick
King, his farm was at Isipingo. Chief Ogle was here, his farm was Wentworth.
Also, Fynn had a farm on the Bluff by right of squatting long before anyone
was here. George Cato was here and his brother Joe. Mr Beningfield, old Mr
Kahts, John Hogg. Mr Dunn father of John Dunn and I believe he was the
Doctor of the Fawn. John Dunn's Father was a medical man. I well remember
Mr Dunn drinking with Dr Best, One evening in 1847. The night was stormy
with sudden heavy showers of rain. Dunn was advised not to go home that
night (it was Saturday) but persisted in going home. But early on Sunday
morning, the report came in that Dunn was dead. Just as you turn up to go to
Sea View, there were no marks on the body, so I believe his death was from
apoplexy, or from a fall from his horse. But a report soon spread that he was
killed by an elephant. I said at the time it was strange, killed by an Elephant
and no marks.
It was wartime (1843) and martial law was proclaimed.
7
We had a 'shook
up' thing of a guard room, enough to keep the sun off. I was musing on Sentry.
There was a dull moon and plenty of Phosphorus on the Beach. I saw
something come out of the Bay like a sheet of fire, As to its size and ugliness I
never saw anything like it. Being young and coming from Ireland, the Country
of lakes, where every lake has its traditions, of River Bulls and huge Eels
showing up at various times, I was thoroughly frightened, and as it was death
to quit your post, I came down to 'resist cavalry'. The monster passed me by
19 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
and went on towards Cato's Creek, but I was so frightened that I kept half way
between my post and the Guard [room] so that I could run either way. It was a
weary two hours for me, but at last I got relieved. I never opened my lips to
mortal man. I knew I dare not fire, or give a false alarm, and my comrades
might say I was a coward, so I held my tongue. Early next morning, Longhinds,
a Grenadier of the 27th, six feet eight high, came down from the Trench, where
the old military camp stands, he was on fatigue, he shouted, 'Boys, what a fine
seacow passed by last night'. All went to see the tracks, it was then I opened
my mouth and told my comrades what I had seen. Since that time I had seen
them on the Inner Bay, and seen them chased by Mr William Quested who
lived at Congella.
In 1844 an elephant was killed by Dunn or John Hill then known as Black
Jack. I don't know for certain which killed the Elephant. His bones were all
carefully carried, and kept in the garden of an old butcher named Webb.
Afterwards the same garden was owned by Mr Todmen. The Berea had all sorts
of animals then, and was so unsafe, and if offered to any man to live there he
would say 'No'.
Men in Durban when I arrived [the following section approximates Green's
original layout]:
MrMesham English
Dick King Petty chief " (Devonshire)
Henry Ogle Chief " (B'gham) [Birmingham?]
- Fynn Kaffir Chief
- Beningfield Snr
Geo. [George] Cato A wonderful man S. African
Jos. [Joseph] Cato Clever Architect
Frank Armstrong Shoe Maker Irish
John Mackenzie Blacksmith Scotch
(later owned Craigie Bums Sugar Estate at the Umkomaas)
Thos [Thomas]
or Wm [William]
Proudfoot Scotch
(Partner afterwards with Dick King)
John Hogg English
(son of Pete Hogg)
Old Mr Leathern English
(a man of superior ability and a dear friend of mine afterward Mayor of
P'maritzburg).
William Leathern Junr known and respected by all born in Africa.
John King a good and successful Africander
(brother of Dick) citizen
Hookey Walker
afterwards Attorney Walker, kept a little half way house between Durban and
Maritzburg, afterwards one of Natal's ablest criminal lawyers.
20 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
A German Naturalist and Dr lived near where Escombe
8
now lives, a wonderful
man of Science, Carl Quincias.
Polydore Short, known as Polly Short who died on the Bluff lately.
A German called lung, and largal a Frenchman who were afterwards partners in
business.
Mr Shield Commissary at Irish
P.M.Burg
Carl Behrens, was here but with the Dutch, he was German.
loe Kirkman, who had been with Grout.
Rev Adams, who was missionary at the Congella.
9
Rev. Archibald military chaplain
Black lack an American
lO
and Elephant White.
Dr Toohy chemist but called Dr Irish
adopted Kaffir life, settled at Tugela.
Dr John Dunn, settled at Sea View as a squatter, also a man named Kinloch, a clever
Poet and a highly learned man, Scotch, some of his poems are in the hands of Mr
Leathern Junr and should be published. Kinloch took to Kaffir life.
There lived then in Durban, where the club is now, a Dutch Widow named
Strydom, who had a numerous family of sons and daughters. One of her
daughters married Pete Hogg and another Jim Rorke and settled somewhere up
country.ll Mrs Strydom, was a general favorite in Durban, she was almost aDr
and everyone ran with their ailments to Mother Strydom.
There was no post offices (sic) then and there were no Banks nor Courts in
Durban. Furniture was unknown, nor houses except Kaffir houses. We had four
sticks, stuck in the ground for a bedstead. We put bearers (sic) on them, and
crossed pieces of brushwood with Grass on the Top. With a grass pillow and a
blanket we slept the sleep of the just. It was almost laughable to see some of us.
Capt Hugh MacDonald brought some flour from the Cape. We rushed for the
bags and made trousers out of them and were afraid lest 'Mills Cape First'
would show.12
There was one Napoleon Wheeler in later years Market Master of
P.M.Burg.
The Bar then was a straight line in a diagonal direction from South to North
with a very small mouth. We went out in 1843 with the Fawn's men and hadn't
to strip our clothes to kill 3 porpoises which were cast up on the Bar. We killed
the porpoises and ate a portion of them.
A couple of years after (in 1845, I think) the 3 brothers Milner, came out.
They seem to be nautical men and traded with the ship Sarah Bell between
Natal and Mauritius in later years. There was no money in the country in 1843.
Kaffirs or Natives would take no money. They would take a few strings of
beads for the produce of [or?] Honey and Potatoes which I found they had nice
Kidney Potatoes at that date, but now extinct. Frank Bird was in the Ordnance
Dept at the Cape, and came to Natal at intervals of perhaps a month or 4 or 6
months. He was the first man to bring any money to Natal. He brought the
Military Money. I think he was a lieutenant in the Ordnance Dept because
when we saw him acoming we used to say the 'Bird is flying'. At one time the
------- ---
21
-
Reminiscences of Thomas Green
Military Money came up in Cartridges of 3d bits. The first time the tic key was
introduced.
Mr Jas [James] Brickhill was a clerk in the Commissionary's office. He was
afterwards Manager of the Natal Bank. About 1846 an 'Umfezi' spat in his face
and nearly blinded him.13 He was discharged on a pension of 2/8 1/2d per day for
life. It was then he began Brickhill' s Lotion. After he was discharged from the
service his eyes got well and he was made Manager of the Natal Bank.
After I had spent 2 months at the Point on very severe duty we were removed
to camp and joined the 27th Inniskilling Regiment. The men were the tallest
men I have ever seen in the army - like a walking forest with their busbys on.
They were all beloved by the civilians who were here. The men bore splendid
characters. They were more like civilians than soldiers. Some had red on their
coats of various colours and some were patched. Tho' these men had to lie in a
wet trench; on 4 ounces of horseflesh & 3 ounces of biscuit dust there was no
murmur and every man was obedient. They were only skeletons of companies
after the Congella affair.
We got 'the route' (the 45th & Engineers) and marched to P.M.Burg on the
27th August. We were two companies of the 45 about 15 Engineers some
artillery with 3 guns. We were commanded by Capt Kyle whose father was
Bishop of Cork and Capt Hines Lieut Armstrong, Blenkinsop, Smythe and
Miller. (The 27th remained in Durban) We marched loaded and carried 60
rounds of ammunition each and arrived on the hill of Maritzburg on the last day
of August 43, planted the standard and called it Fort Napier. We marched up
the hill the pipes and drum playing the 'Sprig of Shillelagh'. and 'Garry
Owen'. Next morning the Engineers began to fortify by building a stone
battery to the East and a traversing battery on the West. We were 75 (or 25?)
men in a bell tent. And soon began to build a temporary barracks of stone
which took two years to finish. The officials in town asked as a great favour to
get an artisan to build their houses. I was recommended. I drew civilians pay as
well as Engineers pay so did well and almost regarded myself as a civilian. The
Winchester War Frigate was on the African Coast in Jan '43 and chased a
pirate ship whose crew [took] to the boats and landed some where about
Umzimkulu. They made their way overland and came to Pietermaritzburg in
Aug or Sept '43. They stole every horse they could lay their hands on. Poor Mr
Hooky Walker was a great sufferer - all the horses were taken. The military
stables had to be doubly guarded. A few of the pirates settled down. Jack
Linden and Joe the butcher among them, and lived and died in Maritzburg. It
was laughable to see a certain lady serenading with the pirates and firing
pistols in the night and glorying in being called 'The Pirates Bride' .14
Only a few of the 27th took their discharge including McKormick Patrick
Bryan, Coope & a few whose names I forget. They were Irish. Mackormick
married a Dutch lady named Sloppar, and did well. A Baker named Brewar
with his wife came from the Cape about that time. They were very kind to
many of us - there being no hotels or boarding houses in those days. - every
man for himself. Van der Plank was here and a man of the name of Shears was
his partner so report said. Shears was found dead in bed, but no enquiry was
made in the circumstance. Shears was supposed to have been well off but no
enquiry was ever made by the next of kin I believe.
15
There was a notorious
renegade who led the Kafirs against the whites in the old colony. He was in the
Dutch Tronk in P.M.Burg for horse stealing, and died there. The Waterloo,
convict Ship, was wrecked in Table Bay about March 1843. The chains were
knocked off the convicts to give them a chance of saving their lives. Many of
22 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
these convicts were recognized in P.M.Burg. A refined German named
Oatman, Jung and Jargal started wholesale houses. A Frenchman named
Cauvin and Albrecht and the Boshoffs were there. The Marais - old Tass
Marais, van Jargeveldt. Pretorius a fine gentleman whose farm was Plessis
Largaar - in fact all the Boers were settled about P.M.Burg.
16
Old Liversage
was at Umgeni.
All in P.M.Burg seemed to live more comfortably than in Durban. There was
no vegetables then. On account of bad roads in Durban you could not walk only
to your neck in sand. Then the man who could build 'wattle & daub' was the
man. To thatch a house was then an accomplishment. Education was of no use
- manual labour was the thing in demand.
The 27th Regt left and went to the Old Colony about 1845. Many of the 45th
purchased their discharge, settled down and became good and useful citizens.
To show what many of them were, Andrew Muirhead was a PD [BD?]. His
family also followed education & his sons are now schoolmasters. He was of
Irish extraction. Sergt Miller or White [?] also was Irish. He was hospital Sergt
in the 45th and afterwards Superintendent of Durban Hospital. A good man,
George Ross Nottingham kept the Aliwal Tavern in Longmarket Street & got
rich. His son George is a successful farmer about Howick, I believe. Wm
Burroughs was a good citizen. A man known to all named Gibby; A gentleman
named Lamont kept a canteen, made money and died in Durban. Polly Short,
money lender & great landowner died at the Bluff where his children are now.
There was a Piet Otto, a farmer, & two brothers Zeederberg, two of the finest
gentlemen [that] ever lived. They had land and farms over the whole country.
Good, kind men but, shortsighted - would not sell land at any price and at last
came to grief. Jacobus married Piet Otto's daughter and both are dead.
Napoleon Wheeler came in 1843. English used to draw wood from Meyers
Hoek. He was afterwards Market Master at P.M.Burg. Predicant Smith was a
good old Dutchman his son a pettifogging lawyer.
17
About that time came Dr
French and de Villiers. The latter was an uncle of John Dunn. He came from
the Cape. Both underwent 6 months in prison. De Villiers was a clever
advocate but defended [defrauded?] his clients and embezzled their money. Dr
French suffered for practising without a diploma and something about the
death of Mrs van der Merwe. The whole of the Dutchmen were about P.M.Burg
very quiet people but in 1844 they began to immigrate to Mooi River Dorp
[Potchefstroom] so that in a short time the Dutch element vanished. The 45th
were bridge builders and road makers between Maritzburg and Durban. They
made that great cutting at the Inchanga under the supervision of the Engineers.
They were paid so much per diem and did well. They were all temperate men
for the old 45th were well ordered men and very submissive and quiet. They
helped many emigrants later on.
I was sent down to get headstones for the graves of the men who fell at
Congella & letter them. I got the stone at the Bluff. Time has so worn them that
I cannot read the names myself now. The Bar was in such a state then that Capt
Gibb of the Royal Engineers ordered a survey which lies in the Harbour
Engineer's office today.
We had a surplus of £500 on the military estimate. The sum was dedicated to
survey from Umgeni to Cato's Creek. We made the canal successfully with a
view of turning the Umgeni to Cato's Creek to scour the bar. That was about
the latter end of 1846 or beginning of 1847, but a great flood came and washed
the banks in. We had no more money, so had to leave it. The marks of the canal
works are there today.18
23 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
After I completed my job I had to sink a well at the old camp which is good
today. I got assistance & had to build a Magazine at the Point which many may
remember as it was slated. In 1844 I was ordered to attend in P.M.Burg and
was on the Delimitation Survey of the colony. Mr Gibb of the Engineers with
Captn Kyle, Theophilus Shepstone - he was our safeguard and everything to
the party. 19 Our Party was large. 15 picked men of the Royal Engineers, four
artillery men and about 25 of the 45th. I was one of the picked men (Read Sir
Theophilus Shepstone's reminiscences from 'Honey Bird'. He refers to his old
friend Mr Thomas Green who doubted his story of the honey bird at Dugaza
now Stanger).20 The 45th were the real pioneers of the colony ready & willing
to do every work that came in their way no matter whether civil or military. No
grumble - it was for the good of Natal.
The Kafirs had four attributes no other man on this earth possessed. They
were sober, honest, virtuous & obedient. No case of theft was known, though
everything was under their noses. There were no locks or keys then. Order
them to go 30 or 40 miles, give them a loaf of bread and a piece of beef and
they completed their task honestly. The 45th was a sort of amphibious animal
- half soldier, half civilian though poorly clothed and fed he pioneered the
colony.
In 1845 headquarters arrived - Col. Boyes band & staff. After that Martin
West, the first Governor came, & Judge Cloete, one of the best of men. Donald
Moodie was Secretary to the Governor. Shortly afterward came a young lawyer
chosen at home for his ability - Mr Gallwey, now Sir Michael. He found
everything a blank page. He began & framed every law, and advised every
Government in Natal up to the date of his promotion to the Chief Judgeship.
The Country should be grateful to Sir Michael, who has done his work honestly
and well. I am myself proud of him especially as my fellow countryman.
Mr John Bird, a Mr Pierce, & Lawrence Cloete, Surveyor, & then Dr
Stanger, Surveyor General. It was the machinery of the Law got put in motion.
The Courts began, though we had done very well without them in the past. Our
young Attorney General greased the machinery and the law seemed to work
very smoothly. Magistrates were appointed & people began to steal into Natal
in ones and twos.
We were all men, scarcely any women, so that when the first shipload of
emigrants came, the women were worshipped - It was so long since we had
seen an English woman that we were all off our heads. In 1848 the ship Henry
Tanner brought the first emigrants to Natal. 21 You may think what was our
state of mind was when we saw our country women with the blush of rose or the
daisy on their cheek, and the compliments or 'blarney' we paid to these fine
women - I can assure you we laid on the butter so thick that many of them
were thrown off their balance and 'balakiled'22 from their good husbands, poor
things! They thought they had made a mistake in the choice of their husbands,
for we had good money.
Our experience we gave to the emigrants freely. Dr Addison arrived in that
ship - the first M.D. in Natal. John Akerman was here then teaching in a
Dutch Family and had hard work to make ends meet, 'But there is a tide in the
affairs of men etc'. At that time there was a Chemist named van Sivel who
went mad. He was successful, a good chemist, but a mad chemist was very
dangerous, so Mr John Akerman stepped into his shoes and became a
successful chemist. 23
The Emigrants all came to Maritzburg. Nothing was doing in Durban - it
was a waste of sand. But most of them were free Yorkshire farm labourers,
24 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
who understood cattle and could work hard. There wasn't much education
amongst them. A little flannel rag, soap & water would clean them of their
education. There was a butcher amongst them Puckering?24 by name, who was
well off. Beef was cheap then - 1
1
/,d per lb - so that there was no danger of
hunger. Some I know worked at 3/- per diem. Cattle was cheap, & they soon
got a cart and 4 or 6 oxen to carry loads to & fro; and most of these men or their
sons, are wealthy men today. Amongst them was Mr Wakefield, a man of
considerable means who started a large Bakery and confectioners shop and
became wealthy. His family is settled all over the country - respectable good
citizens. My daughter is married to a son of Mr Wakefield's and settled down
in comfortable circumstances. Another daughter was married to 'Polly' Short,
whose son is lighthouse keeper at the Point at the present day and one of her
daughters is married to Pilot Gordon. All of the Wakefield family are
respectfully settled in the colony.
I was talking to a gentleman in Verulam a year ago. I called his name Carter.
He said 'No, my name is Mason. I was once Mayor of P.M.Burg'. He said,
'Don't you remember employing my cart to drive you to Ilovu where you were
going to build for somebody there?' I then remembered, 0 What a surprise!
Many who came at that time were by their own energy and perseverance to be
the wealthiest men about the district of P.M.Burg. More power to them!
///
Dick King
I came to Durban to reside permanently in 1852. Dick King who was then my
brother-in-law, brought me into more intimate acquaintance with that gentle­
man. I often sat trying to draw him out on many of his hair-breadth escapes. He
was very unassuming. I asked him about the great ride. His reply was that
taking the standpoint of 1842 when all was savage life there arose a difficulty. I
asked him what road he took to Grahamstown. He said, 'once my two horses
were landed on the Bluff I well knew the Boers would be on my track so I
coasted it & swam all the rivers at their mouths. The Boers followed me for a
length of time, but Chief Umnini put them on the wrong track. The Boers
followed me for 24 hours'. I asked him how many rivers he had to swim. He
said, 'over 200 between Natal & Grahamstown'. I asked him how his horses
stood it. He said, 'I rode them as long as I could. A good missionary of the
name of Eversides, carrying on his work at Umtata gave me a relay of horses'.
He told me he was lying in the veldt for 24 hours with fever. I asked him how
long it took him to do the ride. He told me he diu the distance in 8 days, but
taking the time lost with fever, he rode the distance in six days.25 You must
have been very fatigued 1 said. 'No', King said, 'I jumped off my horse when 1
went into Grahamstown'. 1 asked him how he got along with the Kafirs. 'Being
a good Kafir linguist helped me very much, as 1 could obtain food, as every
Kafir hated the Boer'.
My wife told me a different tale, she said she was one of the first to meet her
25 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
brother Dick in Grahamstown when he arrived, and two men had to take him
off his horse - and likely enough. 1 asked the distance and he replied, 'I
believe it is 600 miles to Grahamstown'. When the rivers are taken into
consideration together with the nature of the anxiety and its savage [surround­
ingf61 believe that such a ride has never been accomplished by any other man.
1 said to him 'You are a hero and worthy to be called an Englishman - A man
that England should never forget for time immemorial'.
NOTES
I. In 1887 the 27th Regiment served in Natal and Zululand and experienced a minor mutiny during
its period at Fort Napier. Two deaths, a trial in the Supreme Court and a hanging resulted. See
G. Dominy, 'More than just a "drunken brawl"? The mystery of the mutiny of the Inniskilling
Fusiliers at Fort Napier. 1887', Southern African-Irish Studies I, 1991, pp.56-72.
2. Green is referring to the Anglo-Zulu War monument in Durban which he describes below.
3. Green is incorrect: the Thunderbolt arrived off Durban on 21 July 1843. See George Russell.
The history of old Dilrban and reminiscences of an emigrant of 1850 (Durban. 1899­
reprinted 1971), p.54.
4. The 'Cape Corps', also known as the Cape Mounted Rifles, was a British-officered unit of the
Imperial army raised largely from the Cape 'coloured' communities and used as cavalry and
mounted infantry on the colonial frontiers. See Johan de Villiers, 'The Imperial Cape Mounted
Riflemen in Natal - a preliminary survey' (Unpublished paper presented at the Workshop on
Natal and Zululand in the pre-colonial and colonial periods, University of Natal, Pietermaritz­
burg, 23-24 October 1990).
5. Green completely ignores the black population of Natal!
6. The KCAL TS incorrectly transcribes 'misters' as 'ministers'.
7. It was only after the acceptance by the Volksraad of the terms laid down by Henry Cloete and
the occupation of Pietermaritzburg by Major Smith and the detachment of the 45th, that legal
restrictions were relaxed. Natal remained in a 'curious state of transition'. - see E. H. Brookes
& c. de B. Webb. A history of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1965), p.48.
8. Harry Escombe: Lawyer. politician and prime minister of Natal under responsible government.
9. The Reverends Newton Adams and Aldin Grout were missionaries of the' American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions' who arrived at Port Natal in 1835 (Brookes & Webb. A
history of Natal. p.27). Adams College near Amanzimtoti is named after the former and
Groutville. near Stanger is named after the latter.
10. In the KCAL TS 'Negro?' appears in parentheses after 'Black Jack'.
I!. James Alfred Rorke (1827-1875), after whom Rorke's Drift was named: See G.A. Dominy,
'Disputed territory: the Irish presence in the marchlands of the Zulu kingdom. 1838-1888' in
D. P. McCracken (ed.), 'The Irish in Southern Africa 1795-1910'. Southern African-Irish
Studies 2, 1992. pp. 214-23.
12. An 'Imfezi' - Zulu word for the rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachates), a snake which spits its
venom at its victims.
14. Hattersley, in More annals, refers to the 'pirate's belle', p.73.
IS. According to Mrs Shelagh Spencer, enquiries were made into Shears's death.
16. Andries Pretorius was Commandant General of the Voortrekkers' 'Republiek Natalia' and had a
farm at Plessislaer until he trekked to the interior in 1847.
17. Green appears to be referring to Erasmus Smit, the un ordained minister with the Voor­
trekkers.
18. Green may be referring to Lt. Gibb's efforts to bring pure water from the river to the military
camp. This was a controversial work, both in funding and in execution which was destroyed by
the Mngeni flooding in April 1848: See, Russell, The history of old Durban, p.71.
19. Green appears to be referring to the appointment of the first Locations Commission in 1846:
See Brookes & Webb. A history of Natal. pp. 58-9.
20. Theophilus Shepstone, The honey bird: a Christmas chapter in natural history, Pietermaritz­
burg, 1890? See Chantelle Wyley, 'A Bibliography of contemporary writings on the natural
history of Natal and Zululand in the 19th and early 20th centuries', Journal of Natal and Zulu
History, XIII, 1990-91, p.103.
26 Reminiscences of Thomas Green
21. The Henry Tanner was the third of the Byrne & Co. ships to arrive: I am indebted to Shelagh
Spencer for this note.
22. Green seems to be using a corrupt form of the Zulu word beleka. or beleta, meaning to 'carry an
infant or young child, on the back' - see J. W. Colenso, Zulu-English dictionary (Pieter­
maritzburg, 1905 - 4th ed.), p. 31. See also A. T. Bryant, A Zulu-English dictionary (Pieter­
maritzburg & Pine town, 1905) for an almost identical meaning. Green is obviously implying
that the men carried off the newly arriving women with the ease of a mother carrying a baby on
her back. I am indebted to Cmdt. S.B. Bourquin of WestvilIe, for his assistance with the
identification of this word. See also 'baleka':
v. intr. 1. run away, flee.
2. desert a husband, break contract.
3. be a fast runner.
4. pay runaway visit to lover (by a girl).'
In C. M. Doke, D. McK. Malcolm & J. M. A. Sikakana (Comps), English-Zulu dictionary
(Johannesburg, 1985), p.6. I am indebted to Miss June Farrer for this reference.
23. Akerman entered the Natal legislative in later life and in 1887 he was created KCMG on the
occasion of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, the first Natal person in elective office to receive
this honour. See Spencer. British settlers. 1. p.2l.
24. The KCAL TS tentatively identifies him as 'Nuckering'.
25. Brookes & Webb claim that King took ten days: A history of Natal, p.39.
26. Word inserted from KCAL TS.
Lutherans, Germans:
Hermannsburgers
Never forget that you are Lutheran missionaries and have undertaken to teach
according to the Lutheran confession and using pure Lutheran sacraments. Also never
forget that you are Germans and must cling to German language and tradition as a
jewel given you by God. And as Hermannsburg missionaries you may never become
lords but must remain servants.
(Theodor Harms, 1857).1
Natal's large German community this year celebrated its contribution to the
development of Natal and South Africa. The fact that the language and culture
has survived through so many generations is in itself extraordinary, made more
so by the tremendous impact the industrious Germans have had at all levels of
society.
Census figures show that the Germans are the largest 'foreign' contingent of
Natal's white population, while German is the most popular foreign language
offered at Government schools.
2
Natal boasts a number of prestigious German
schools, beautiful churches and a rich cultural tradition. German names are
prominent at all levels of government, banking, the building industry and
above all, in agriculture and livestock farming. German immigrants and their
descendants are also well represented in academic circles, education, medi­
cine, law, industry, trades and the civil service. They form part of South
African history from the days of Jan van Riebeeck when a number of Germans
arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in the service of the Dutch East India
Company. They are particularly prominent in the development of Natal from
its days as the Voortrekker Republic of Natalia.
But why did so many Germans settle in a British colony? And how has the
German language and tradition survived so many generations in an often
hostile environment? The advice of Theodor Harms, given to the second group
of Hermannsburg missionaries on 2 November 1857, provides the answer. On
this day the Hermannsburg Mission Society (HMS) commissioned 43 people,
including missionaries, colonists and their wives, for service in Africa. From
the day its first station was established in 1854 the HMS would, like no other
society, shape the face of Germanness in Natal.
Mass German emigration
From the mid-eighteenth to the late nineteenth century thousands of Europeans
found their way to southern Africa as part of the mass European exodus to
America, Africa and Australasia. But the mass influx of Germans was not
enough for the language and culture to survive in a foreign land. In fact, the
Natalia 22 (1992), H-J. Oschadleus pp. 27-38
28 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
early immigrants had little reason to maintain contact with their fatherland,
where they had borne the brunt of political and religious instability, economic
crises and the consequences of the industrial revolution. Within a generation
they were absorbed into their new environment. The Cape, for example, saw a
mixture of Germans with Dutch settlers, French Huguenots and smaller groups
of other nations who settled there.
This assimilation was equally evident in Natal. In 1840 twelve German men
settled in Pietermaritzburg, capital of the Voortrekker Republic of Natalia, but
all were married to non-Germans and their children did not speak German. If
groups of Germans found it difficult to preserve their language, it was even
more difficult for individuals.
One of the first known individuals was H. E. C. Behrens, nephew of the
Hanseatic consul to the Cape, Maximilian Thalwitzer. He arrived in the
Republic of Natalia in 1841, hoping to pursue his agricultural interests. When
Britain annexed Natal in 1843 Behrens moved into colonial service as an
interpreter. He was soon placed in charge of the finance office, and in 1850
became the secretary of the Natal Fire Assurance and Trust Company. Later he
was to become a leading figure in the Natal Bank and the Natal Land and
Colonisation Company.3 His farm, Perseverance, would later become the
headquarters of the HMS.
With the exception of German officials whose primary concern was trade,
few emigrants maintained contact with the German states. However, stimu­
lated by an upswing in German classicism and romanticism in the early
nineteenth century, and accompanied by the increased nationalism and patriot­
ism of the post-Napoleonic era, a German national identity began emerging.
This was entrenched by the liberal revolutions of the 1830s, but its initial effect
was limited to those still living in Germany.
Colonialism became a major factor in transferring nationalist sentiments to
communities around the world, but Germany's brief colonial experience
(1880-1945) was never a major consideration in British-oriented Natal. In
fact, Germans encountered considerable opposition and generally remained
neutral during the various conflicts between Germany and Britain. Further­
more, the foundations of German communities had already been laid by this
time. The question is, how did the German language and culture survive in a
foreign, and even hostile, environment?
The rise of mission societies
The answer to this question lies in the rise of mission societies, particularly
those conducted by Lutherans. 'The most powerful factor in the cultural life of
the Germans in Natal is the Lutheran Church,' W. Bodenstein wrote in 1937.
'It stands in the foreground, determining and shaping the essence of that
cultural life, permeating the whole fabric as a religious life energy.'4 Various
Lutheran mission societies were sent to Natal - the Berlin (BMS) and
Norwegian Mission Societies (NMS) in 1847 and 1848 respectively, the
Hermannsburgers in 1854, and the Church of Sweden Mission (CSM) in 1876.
These societies maintained close contact with their home church, and the
ongoing ordination of missionaries ensured a fresh influx of German and
Scandinavian blood to Natal.
Ludwig Harms, founder of the HMS, was particularly concerned with the
need to tie the mission society to the church, and to establish an 'indigenous
church' which would be the counterpart of the home church in doctrine,
29 Lutherans. Germans: Hermannsburgers
Hermannsburg missionaries in Natal (1888)
Back: Schmidt, Hormann. Stielau. Drewes, Oltmann, Schiering, Dedekind, Braul,
Ahrens, Dir. Harms;
Middle: Stallbohm, Deppe, Ropier, Lilie, Wolff, Schoemann, Johannes, Reibeling,
Past, Haccius ;
Front: Hoist, Bartel s, Prigge, Kohrs, Wagner, Engelbrecht, Volker, KUck, Rottcher,
MUller.
(Photograph: University of Natal Library. Pietermaritzbllrg)
liturgy, organisation and church discipline.
5
Harms's vision included the
eventual establishment of an independent, black-controlled Lutheran Church,
while the HMS approach to mission also ensured that German communities
would be established.
Not all mission societies assisted in the building of German culture. The
Roman Catholics, for example, were more concerned with the spread of
Catholicism than national culture. Furthermore, the clergy and members of
religious orders, being celibate, had no descendants and were unable to pass on
their language from parent to child. Consequently, although valuable work was
performed on Natal stations such as Mariannhill and Reichenau, this did not
lead to the establishment of German communities.
Neither were all Protestant missions able to establish strong German
communities. Most of the German Baptists and Reformed Christians in
southern Africa were assimilated into the nearest reformed English or Afri­
kaans communities.
6
By contrast, the Moravians (Herrnhuter), who were the
first German missionaries in southern Africa in 1737, sent their children to
school in Germany. Few returned to Africa and thus German culture was not
nurtured.
However, where Lutheran missions were established it soon became evident
that German communities would arise too. Although the first Lutheran mission
society in southern Africa, the Rhenish Mission Society (RMS), did not enter
Natal, it showed the way for later societies. The first four RMS missionaries
30 Lutherans. Germans: Hermannsburgers
arrived at the Cape with Dr John Philip of the London Missionary Society in
1829 and attempted to establish communities around stations such as Wup­
perthal near Clanwilliam. The RMS modelled its work on Genadendal, the
station established by the Moravians in 1737, and its close association with
various Dutch missions precluded the possibility of a distinctly German
community.7
Ironically the arrival of German Lutherans, and thus the establishment of the
German communities in Natal, was more by accident than design.8 The BMS
sent its missionaries to the Orange Free State and Kaffraria, while the HMS,
with its unique concept of colonial and communal mission derived from the
medieval monastic mission to the Saxons, was destined for the Galla people of
East Africa. But for the existence of a German community on the Natal coast,
the HMS may never have entered Natal.
Natal's first German settlement
Natal's first German community owed its existence to the opposition of the
British government to the immigration scheme of a Bavarian Jew, Jonas
Bergtheil. He arrived in Natal in 1843 and established the Natal Cotton
Company three years later. Bergtheil saw the potential of European settlement
along the coast and approached the British colonial office for immigrants. 9
When first the British and then the Bavarian governments rejected his plans, he
turned to the Kingdom of Hanover for support. Thirty-five peasant families
(about 188 people) from the Osnabriick-Bremen district accepted his offer and
arrived in Natal on 23 March 1848. They were settled near Port Natal and
called their new home Neu-Deutschland (New Germany).
Bergtheil's cotton scheme failed after the first two crops were ravaged by
boil worm. Furthermore, the ginning machinery he had ordered from England
never arrived. The settlers soon abandoned cotton in favour of market
gardening, and when their five-year contracts with Bergtheil ended many did
not renew them. The fledgling community may well have foundered within a
generation since the immigrants did not maintain contact with Germany and
had no vision of a distinctly German community.1O The arrival of a Berlin
missionary ensured that the language and religion would continue for the time
being.
The BMS, founded in 1824 by Prussian civil servants, professors and others
who been inspired by neo-pietistic awakenings in eastern Germany, sent its
first five missionaries to Bethany in the OFS in 1833. The station prospered
and three more were erected in Kaffraria, but the War of the Axe (1846-47)
forced the missionaries to flee to Bethany. Three of these, Dohne, Posselt and
Giildenpfennig, responded to a request by Theophilus Shepstone, Natal's
Secretary for Native Affairs, to establish a station in the British colony.
Shepstone hoped the missionaries' presence would ease tensions between
chiefdoms in the Drakensberg region. The establishment of Emmaus near
present day Bergville in 1847 thus brought the first German missionaries to
Natal.
Pastor Carl Wilhelm Posselt (1815-85) agreed to care for the congregation
in New Germany, where he consecrated the first chapel of the BMS in South
Africa on 19 November 1848. He conducted mission work among the Zulu
farm labourers and in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, and in 1854 established a
second station, Christianenburg, for this purpose. He also taught Scripture in
the little German school which the settlers had established. In 1852 the
31 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
congregation was briefly moved to Emmaus because of famine on the coast and
declining numbers of settlers. Bergtheil succeeded in stemming the flow of
Germans into the interior, and in 1854 Posselt returned to New Germany where
he continued as missionary and pastor until his death in 1885.
Posselt was perhaps the most important pioneer of German communities
in Natal. Although the British colony was never to be the BMS's main area
of interest, it did establish further stations at Konigsberg near Newcastle,
Stendal near Weenen, Emangweni near Loskop, Hoffenthal near Bergville and
Rosenstein near Oliviershoek.
ll
The descendants of the BMS include well­
known Natal families such as Merensky, Dohne, Prozesky and Gtildenpfennig,
while further afield descendants of Donges, Leipoldt, Gerdener, Schwellnus,
Schulze, Hoffmann and Heese can trace their roots to the Berliners.
The influence of the Berliners in shaping the character of Natal's German
settlement pales in comparison to the Hermannsburgers. But the BMS did
nurture German culture at New Germany, which in turn played an important
part in bringing the HMS to Natal.
The arrival of the Hermannsburgers
As already noted, the Hermannsburgers were bound for East Africa but their
attempts to penetrate the Muslim-dominated coastal belt to the Galla people in
the interior failed. The best alternative was the large Zulu population of
south-eastern Africa. The missionaries had already met Posselt on the trip to
East Africa, and the existence of a German settlement near a large number of
heathen made NatallZululand a logical area to settle. With the assistance of
Posselt the HMS purchased Behrens's 6000 acre farm, Perseverance, and
founded what would become the centre of German culture in Natal.
The HMS was widely regarded as a Bauernmission (farmers' mission)
because of its origins on the Liineburg Heath and the rural background of its
missionaries. Founder Ludwig Harms (1808-65) was an intellectual, a
'classically educated village preacher in Hanover who strangely commingled
romanticism, evangelical fervour and chiliastic expectations'. 12 He was a
widely read student of theology, with an interest in the early history of his
people, the Saxons. Harms was particularly fascinated by the Christianization
process used by monks in converting the barbaric Saxons to Christianity. He
believed this event to be of utmost importance to the later development of
central Europe. The monks established self-sufficient Christian communities
which would serve as practical examples of Christian living and thereby attract
the heathen. This was the approach Harms selected for the HMS, as he
explained in an 1851 article in Zeitblatt fur die Angelegenheiten der luthe­
rischen Kirche:
The first group of twelve missionaries shall live in one place and settle
there. They will meet their own needs as they are to be proficient in
agriculture. Here they will attempt to convert the local population and at
the same time educate them in cultural affairs, just like the Anglo-Saxon
missionaries converted and educated the German ancestors. Once a
heathen congregation has been formed, two or three missionaries shall
remain there, while the rest move ... two at the most three miles further
and repeat the process.
l3
In 1853 sixteen men were commissioned for service in Africa. Half of the
32 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
The original Hermannsburg (1849 view) served as a model for Lutheran
mission stations in Natal.
(Pas/card: Missionshandlung, Hermannsburg)
men on the Society' s private ship, the Kandaze, were missionaries and the rest
skilled tradesmen who were to assist with the establishment of a series of
self-sufficient communities, Upon arrival in Natal in 1854 they set themselves
the task of creating a new home in Africa, The missionaries participated in the
physical labour involved: even as seminarians they were not permitted to shirk
the manual labour of erecting buildings to be used by the Society, On the
mission field they led by example when it came to hard work,
Perseverance was renamed Neu-Hermannsburg, and the Germans con­
sciously attempted to recreate their homeland in Africa, They used the
distinctive architecture found on the Liineburg Heath, They also imported the
idea of planting groves of trees around the buildings, Having been drawn from
agricultural and trade backgrounds, they immediately put the land to the
plough and built a smithy. As more missionaries, colonists and their families
arrived in 1858, 1862, 1866 and 1867 and then at regular intervals, the station
rapidly developed into a thriving community which could start sending
missionaries and colonists into Zululand.
In 1857 a school for children of the German settlers was established, and it
became the leading boarding school in the colony. Famous figures such as
Louis Botha (the Boer General and first Prime Minister of the Union of South
Africa), Sir Charles Saunders (a famous colonial Administrator who was
knighted in 1906), Sir George Leuchars and Sir Frederick Moor (the last Prime
Minister of the Colony of Natal) received their early schooling here. Her­
mannsburg School was also the first to establish a cadet corps in 1871.
Hermannsburg was located in Umvoti County near the NatallZululand
border. It was to serve as a launching pad into the independent Zulu kingdom,
and with the help of Bishop Schreuder of the Norwegian Mission Society, the
HMS was able to expand into Zululand. Stations were soon established at
33 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
Ehlanzeni, Enyezane, Etembeni, Emlalazi, Emhlangane, Emvutjini, Emhlan­
gubo, Ekombela, Entombe and Endhlovini. The skills of the colonists were
particularly useful in securing the permission of the Zulu king, Mpande, to
conduct mission work.
At the express request of President Andries Pretorius of the Zuid-Afrikaanse
Republiek, the HMS expanded its work into Bechuanaland and the western
Transvaal in 1857. Within years Hermannsburg missionaries were also heading
to India, Australia and the United States.
Expanding settlements
Wherever mission stations were erected German communities or congregations
sprang up in the vicinity. And while mission stations generally had Zulu
names, the corresponding congregation preferred German names, especially
names of towns on the Liineburg Heath - names like Uineburg, New
Hanover, Miiden, Uelzen, Kirchdorf, Bergen, Harburg, Koburg and Verden.
The HMS officially separated the role of colonist and missionary in 1869.
Increasing numbers made communal living of the type practised in Hermanns­
burg impractical, particularly after the arrival of wives and children. Further­
more, the incentives of private farming led to the resignation of colonists from
the Society. The first 'independent' community was established as early as
1858, when farmers who were reluctant to remain within the confines of the
mission-established New Hanover. However, they did not cut their ties with
the HMS and asked missionary Schiitte to be their pastor. Elsewhere missiona­
ries were frequently requested to fulfil the task of pastor, either in a full time
capacity or in addition to their mission duties.
Their tendency to marry within their own circles, and their commitment to
the Lutheran Church, ensured that their religious and cultural heritage was
passed on to their children. Even when land shortages led to migration, as had
happened with the Trekboers earlier, an organised church followed them. As
soon as the distance to church and school became too great, a minister (often
one of the missionaries) was asked to establish a new Lutheran congregation
closer at hand. It was normal for the minister or another appointed person to
take on the role of educator of the local children too. In this way new German
communities such as Augsburg, Bergen, Harburg, Kirchdorf, Lilienthal and
Wittenberg were launched.
Anglo- Zulu War
Further expansion was temporarily halted by the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879,
which devastated all but one of the mission stations in Zululand (Schreuder's
survived). By contrast, the stations in Natal were relatively unscathed, as were
Natal's German congregations.
Most of the missionaries in Zululand, regardless of denomination, supported
the British invasion, hoping that this would break the Zulus' fierce resistance
to Christianity. But they were disappointed in the Ulundi Settlement of
September 1879. It broke the kingdom into thirteen fragments and made the
return of missionaries very difficult, particularly in southern Zululand where
the British appointed John Dunn as one of the chiefs. Dunn was vehemently
opposed to missions, and stations were only returned to the missionaries after
considerable wrangling. Volker's station, Emlalazi, was not returned to the
HMS - Dunn had long coveted it and now claimed it as his personal
possession.
34 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
The Lutheran Church, Hermannsburg, Natal, built in 1870
(Photograph: E. Dedekilld)
Division in the church
Most of the German congregations were established as the result of natural
expansion, but not all. Congregations such as Wartburg, Neuenkirchen and
Braunschweig owe their existence to a split in the Hanoverian Landes­
kirche (State Church). This division originated in Prussia's overthrow of
Hanover in 1866. The Hanoverian State Church adopted the civil marriage
code of their Prussian counterparts, but a number of Hanoverian congrega­
tions rejected it. Theodor Harms (1819-85), the second director of the
HMS, and his Hermannsburg congregation joined the Hanoverian Frei­
kirche (Free Church). However, in 1890 the Free and State Churches
entered an agreement of Union which was accepted by the HMS. Hence­
forth the HMS would have two directors, one from the Free Church and one
from the State Church, and its council would be equally composed. An
element within the HMS rejected the union and joined a rival mission
society founded in nearby Bleckmar in 1892.
Although the doctrinal difference primarily concerned the State Church
in Germany, a number of South African Germans decided to resign from
the HMS as a matter of principle. Notable among these was the missionary
Heinrich Ch. Prigge, who had been ordained by the HMS in 1857. His
station and German congregation at Goede Hoop were placed under the
auspices of the Bleckmar Mission Society, 14 of which he became the first
superintendent. Two pastors, Stielau in Kirchdorf and Iohannes of Bergen, also
resigned from the HMS. Along with some of the disgruntled members of the
Liineburg congregation, they established the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod
in South Africa. 15
Towards greater co- operation
The split flowed against the general trend towards unity or at least co-operation
within the various Lutheran societies, which had led to a regular gathering of
35 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
missionaries. The first meeting of the Free Evangelical Lutheran Church
Conference of South Africa was held at the Norwegian station, Umpumulo, in
1889. As the number of mission stations increased and the financial resources
of the various societies decreased under pressure of war, greater co-operation
became a necessity and in 1910-12 the BMS, CSM and NMS agreed to form
the Co-operating Lutheran Mission (CLM) to unite their efforts towards the
establishment of an Evangelical Lutheran Zulu Church. After initially support­
ing the CLM, the HMS decided to withdraw because of the differences existing
between Hanoverian and Prussian churches in Germany. The CLM was
established on 1 January 1912, and although the HMS was not involved until
1938, it nevertheless encompassed more than 11 000 Christians.
16
An attempt was made in 1924-26 to reconcile the two Lutheran streams and
a number of Free Church congregations joined the Hermannsburg Synod. But
the division between Free Church and State Church is deep-seated and has not
yet been fully overcome, either in South Africa or in Germany.
Anglo- Boer War
With the division caused by the 1892 split still a painful memory, the German
community was again divided in 1899 when members of the same family
ended up on opposite sides of the Anglo-Boer War of 1 8 9 9 ~ 1 9 0 2 . Generally
Natal's Germans tried to remain neutral, but a number volunteered for service
with the Umvoti Mounted Rifles. Relatives who had moved across the border
to the south-eastern Transvaal were usually drafted into the Boer commandos.
Britain's 'scorched earth' policy led to the internment of all German families
in war areas. Natalians who were suspected of aiding the Boers were also
interned in about forty concentration camps, including Fort Napier in Pieter­
maritzburg. Mission stations in war zones were once again destroyed, if not by
the British, then by blacks who came across the deserted homes.
The war ended in 1902 and the Germans again started rebuilding their
communities and mission stations and reassembling their congregations. No
sooner were they rebuilt than another war ravaged them once more. The First
World War was perhaps the greatest test for the survival of German communi­
ties, particularly in Natal.
Two World Wars
When the Union of South Africa entered the First World War on Britain's side
Natal's Germans were seen as the enemy. Increasing anti-German sentiment,
especially after the torpedoing of the British passenger liner, Lusitania, turned
Natalians against their neighbours. All 'Reichsdeutschen' (those not possess­
ing South African citizenship), including pastors and missionaries, were either
interned or placed under house arrest. Many missionaries were not permitted to
have any contact with blacks, thus effectively denying them their vocation.
With all the internments and restrictions the stations were understaffed and no
missionaries were permitted to leave Germany for the African mission field.
The absence of German pastors also decimated smaller communities such as
that of Pietermaritzburg.
Difficulties were experienced not only during the actual war years when
contact with Germany was severed, but also in the years after World War I
when rampant inflation left the German people impoverished beyond descrip­
tion and unable to support the work in Africa. Only after 1925 could funds that
approximated what was required be sent again, but by the early 1930s
depression and unemployment again affected the various societies. After 1933
36 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
it became virtually impossible to get money out of Germany because of
restrictions placed on foreign exchange by Adolf Hitler. When the Second
World War broke out in 1939 the societies and congregations were again
forced to rely totally on themselves. Once again numerous Germans were
interned or even deported, particularly those resident in Natal. After the War
the various German churches began withdrawing from direct responsibility for
the mission and the German congregations in Africa. Gradually control was
handed to local synods and organisations.
Local control of the church
In 1975 control of the Lutheran Mission in South Africa was handed to blacks,
when four predominantly black regional churches combined to form the
Evangelical Lutheran Council of South Africa (ELCSA). These churches had
grown out of the work of the Berlin, Hermannsburg, Norwegian, Swedish and
American Lutheran Missions (the ALM had taken over Schreuder's work in
1928). Its present 680 000 members are divided into seven dioceses, which
still receive assistance and advice from the Evangelical Lutheran Council
(ELC) in Lower Saxony (the successor to the HMS).
Control of the German congregations also passed more firmly into the hands
of South African synods. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
(Cape), established in 1961, was the first with a membership of 5 600. The
Natal-Transvaal equivalent, ELKSA-NT, was constituted only in 1981, but
encompasses the largest body of Germans in the country, with some 15 000
mainly German members divided into 43 congregations.
17
The modest Lutheran Church at Enyezane,
built in 1961
(Photograph: The author)
37 Lutherans, Germans: Hermannsburgers
The breakaway Lutheran Church Mission (LKM) also handed control of its
work to local bodies. An independent Lutheran Church of South Africa
(LCSA) was established in 1967, with some 28 000 members in the Eastern
and Western Transvaal, Goldfields and Natal. It maintains contact with the
Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA), which consists
of 3 000 members in 14 congregations in Natal and the Transvaal.
18
Although
German churches and mission societies no longer have responsibility for, or
jurisdiction over, the South African Lutherans, there remains a considerable
degree of contact between them, and German missionaries and pastors are still
sent to assist the local churches. This interaction ensures the continued
preservation of German culture in this country.
Conclusion
German Lutherans have been active in Natal for 145 years, and have left an
indelible mark on the map of Natal. Although Germans had settled in Natal
earlier, it was the Lutheran mission and church which ensured the survival of
their language and culture in a British colony. And of the Lutherans it was the
Hermannsburgers who were most instrumental in shaping the character of the
German settlements. They were predominantly rural people, and remain so to
this day. Their town names have been transferred to the map of Natal.
Part of Louis Harms's vision was that his missionaries would not only
spread Lutheran teachings, but also cultivate and maintain the German
language, culture and tradition, and the Hermannsburger work ethic. In this his
followers succeeded, and as long as Germans continue nurturing their religious
tradition, their culture and language will survive. In this the German qualities
and characteristics which have contributed so much to the development of
South Africa in general, and Natal in particular, will continue to play a part in
future development.
NOTES
1. Paraphrased from T. Harms's speech, as reported in the Hermannsburger Missionsblatt 1857,
p.158, and Missionsblatt Evangelisch-Lutherischer Freikirchen 1982, p.168.
2. A. O. Hesse, 'Der deutsche Beitrag zum kulturellen leben Siidafrikas im zwanzigsten Jahr­
hundert'. Lecture at the German Day, Kroondal, 1958 (UNISA Hesse Collection of German
Africana, No.l, File 3.12, p.l3).
3. W. Schmidt-Pretoria, Deutsche Wanderungen nach Siidafrika im 19. lahrhundert (Berlin,
Dietrich Reimer, 1955), pp. 26-7.
4. Loose translation from W. Bodenstein, 25 lahre Arbeit der Hermannsburger deutsch­
evangelisch-Iutherischen Synode in Siid-Afrika (Hermannsburg, Missionshandlung, 1937),
p.4l.
5. J. du Plessis, A History of Christian missions in South Africa (Cape Town, Struik, 1965),
pp. 373-74; G. Haccius, Hannoversche Missionsgeschichte 1I (Hermannsburg, Missions­
handlung, 1910), pp. 228-29.
6. W. H. C. Hellberg, 'Die deutschen Siedlungen in Suedafrika seit der Mitte des neunzehnten
lahrhunderts' (photocopy of an M.A. dissertation in the German Dept, University of Natal,
Pietermaritzburg, n.d.), p.24.
7. See E. Strassberger, The Rhenish Mission Society in South Africa 1830-1950 (Cape Town,
Struik, 1969).
8. N. A. Etherington, Preachers peasallls and politics in southeast Africa 1835-1880: African
Christian communities in Natal, Pondoland and Zululand (London, Royal Historical Society,
1978), p.33.
38 Lutherans, Germans: Hennannsburgers
9. R. Gordon, 'Die Eerste lmmigrante ... 1848: die Duitse Nedersetters te New Germany' in
Lantern, Vol.XXnr No.3 (March 1974), p.19.
10. W. Backeberg, 'Deutsche Siedler in Siidafrika' in Und die Vogel des Himmels wo/men unter
seinen Zweigen, ed. W. Wickert (Hermannsburg, Missionshandlung, 1949), pp.318-19.
11. H. C. Lugg, Historic Natal and Zululand (Pietermaritzburg, Shuter & Shooter, 1949), p. 67.
12. N. A. Etherington, 'Social theory and the study of Christian missions in Africa: A South
African case study', in Africa 47 (1),1977, p.33.
13. Quoted in Haccius, Hannoversche Missionsgeschichte I/, pp.222-23 and translated by
A. M. H. Leuschke, 'The Hermannsburg Mission Society in Natal and Zululand, 1854-1865'
(BA Hons thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1985), p.18.
14. It is also referred to as the Hanoverian Free Church Mission (HFCM) or Lutheran Church
Mission (LCM).
15. A more comprehensive analysis of the split is contained in H-J. Oschadleus, 'Heidenmissionar:
The life and times of Heinrich C. Prigge (1831-1920) from his origins on the GenTIan heath to
the end of his mission to the heathen in Africa' (M.A. thesis, University of Natal, 1992).
16. More detailed information on the CLM is contained in H. Schlyter, The history of the
Co-operating Lutheran Missions in Natal 1912-1951 (Durban, Lutheran Publishing House,
1953).
17. Ev.-Luth. MissionslVerk in Niedersachsen 1991, p.129.
18. Lutherische Kirchenl11ission 1991, pp.12-3.
HANS-JURGEN OSCHADLEUS
Nothing of Value
The British soldier and loot in the
Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Writing home to his wife shortly after the Battle of Ulundi, the last great
confrontation in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, Major Philip Anstruther of the
94th Regiment, described his part in the battle. Referring to a Zulu attack
directed against the section of Lord Chelmsford's square occupied by his men,
he commented:
There was one nice little spruit just 28 yards off our rear faces where we
were and there were 6 [dead Zulus] lying behind it. They had died very
pluckily and I took one of their shields but it is rather a dirty piece of
goods and nothing to compare with 4 that I got from the [King's]
kraal ...1
This casual reference to the taking of weapons as trophies from the Zulu
dead is typical of many such remarks to be found in the letters, journals and
memoirs of British soldiers who fought in the campaign. Individually, they
represent nothing more than an intriguing insight into the personal behaviour
of the men concerned: collectively, however, they provide a considerable body
of anecdotal evidence which suggests that the British practice of looting was
widespread in Zululand. Indeed, during the latter stages of the campaign, they
indulged this inclination without restraint. The implications for historians with
an interest in the material culture of the Zulu kingdom are quite exciting, for,
although only a small proportion of the material concerned has survived, often
in public and private collections in the United Kingdom, it represents a
surprisingly wide cross-section of Zulu artefacts, taken, by definition, from the
kingdom in the very twilight of its pre-Colonial independence.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the British army had a decidedly
ambivalent attitude towards loot. It professed to despise the looting of civilian
property for the soldiers' personal gain, and prohibitions on looting were often
vigorously enforced by means of the lash. Nevertheless, the practice was
sometimes officially sanctioned in cases where the enemy's culture was
considered sufficiently wealthy in recognisable Western terms to offer booty
which could be used to offset the cost of the campaign. In both China in the
1860s and Asante in West Africa in 1873-74, Prize Agents were sanctioned to
seize valuables on behalf of the Crown. No such practice was followed in
Zululand: King Cetshwayo's kingdom boasted none of the fabulous gold
Natalia 22 (1992), I. Knight pp. 39-48
40 Nothing of Value
Lord Chelmsford greets his wife on his return from the Anglo-Zulu War.
Note the Zulu weapons carried by the officer on the right.
(Photograph: The Graphic)
artefacts of the Asante, and, on the whole, the British considered the Zulu
kingdom to contain nothing of value. Even the country's impressive cattle
resources were ravaged primarily for practical and political reasons - to
sustain the British troops in the field, and to impoverish the Zulus - rather
than to repair the damage to the British exchequer. Nevertheless, the mid­
nineteenth century was a time when curiosity was rife in Britain, and the
British army was full of amateur naturalists and anthropologists with a passion
for collecting specimens of every sort: a recent exhibition at the National Army
Museum in London celebrated these achievements.
2
Against such a background, it is hardly surprising that the desire to procure
souvenirs of the war was rife in the British ranks. Many, of course, were simply
interested in military trophies, but the evidence suggests that the troops'
curiosity led them to purloin a wide range of artefacts: anything, indeed, which
seemed to them 'exotic' and redolent of the Zulu lifestyle. The circumstances
under which they were acquired often strike the modern student of the war as
bizarre: to take trophies in the aftermath of victory is a practice as old as
warfare itself, but the British snatched the opportunity in some quite extra­
ordinary situations. One might think that in the immediate aftermath of the
disaster at Isandlwana, where the camp of Lord Chelmsford's invading Centre
Column was destroyed by the Zulus on 22 January - just eleven days after the
war began - the troops had sufficient to occupy their minds without their
thoughts turning to loot, yet it apparently did happen. Amongst those who were
present with Lord Chelmsford's surviving force, which spent an awful night on
the devastated battlefield, was Lt Nathaniel Newnham-Davis of the Buffs, who
was serving with the Mounted Infantry. Wandering about the battlefield,
Newnham-Davis came across the body of a sailor named Aynsley, who had
41 Nothing of Value
been the servant of one of Lord Chelmsford's ADCs, Lt Milne. Newnham­
Davis took a number of personal items from Aynsley' s body, which he gave to
Milne to return to the man's family. He also took Aynsley's cutlass, which he
kept as a souvenir. 3
Commandant Rupert Lonsdale of the 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contin­
gent, was also with Chelmsford's force. He had a lucky escape that day: having
become separated from his men, he had returned to the camp at Isandlwana
only to find that it was in the possession of the enemy. Lonsdale had only just
managed to turn his horse and ride off with the Zulus firing after him. He also
felt the need to procure a souvenir of this extraordinary event and a Zulu
knobkerrie exists in a private collection with a carved inscription which links
him to the battle. Sadly, there is no written account to suggest whether he
acquired it when Lord Chelmsford returned to the battlefield that night, or on
some later occasion.
The defeat of the Centre Column at Isandlwana had a very detrimental effect
on British morale in the region, and it was some months before the first burial
patrols returned to the field. They found it still strewn with all the pathetic
paraphernalia of camp life: torn letters and scattered photographs, broken
equipment, ransacked boxes and portmanteaux, discarded boots and brushes,
even a pair of cricket pads. Despite the macabre circumstances, there was
clearly a hunt for souvenirs. Many of the more personal items were collected
and returned to the relatives of the dead, but some of the men poking about the
site took items for themselves. Trooper Fred Symons of the Natal Carbineers
hoped to find a Zulu spear as a souvenir, and was bitterly disappointed to find
that there were none: presumably the Zulus had collected them up, either
before they withdrew after the battle, or in the months when the site was
deserted. Symons had to be content with a pile of books he found lying
amongst the grass.
4
In the aftermath of victory, the British were obviously in a far better position
to collect souvenirs. The battle of Rorke' s Drift, where a garrison of little more
than a hundred British troops defeated some 4 000 Zulu after ten hours of
fighting, was perceived by them to be an extraordinary event, even at the time.
It is not surprising, therefore, that many who partook in the fight sought out
souvenirs. The officer in command of the garrison, Lt John Chard, RE,
commented in his official report that the morning after the fight, he sent out
patrols to gather up discarded Zulu weapons.
s
What happened to them? Many
were no doubt broken or burnt, as they were after subsequent battles, but there
is evidence to suggest that some were kept by the soldiers as souvenirs. At least
two Zulu knobkerries exist in private collections in the United Kingdom which
are mounted with small silver shields indicating that they had been presented
by the senior officer of the 24th Regiment present at the battle, Lt Gonville
Bromhead, to friends and colleagues. Major W. Dunbar, 2124th, who was
amongst those of Lord Chelmsford's force which relieved Rorke's Drift the
morning after the fight, also collected an impressive trophy of arms. It
consisted of a war shield of the umbhumbulosu type, with a stabbing spear and
throwing spear wired to the face. To complete a symmetric design, a replica
throwing spear, clearly not of Zulu origin, has also been added. A small brass
shield - similar in design to those used by Bromhead, suggesting, perhaps,
that this was a favourite type amongst the 24th - confirms the trophy's origin
and the link with Dunbar.
It seems unlikely that these were the only such trophies taken after Rorke's
Drift. Indeed, an anecdote by George Edward Orchard - who had enlisted in
42 Nothing of Value
the 24th under the name of George Edwards - suggests that there was some
competition for such souvenirs. At one point during the battle, Orchard fired at
a Zulu commander who was leading the attack mounted on a horse. The Zulu
fell, and Orchard, who had noticed that he was wearing a distinctive cloak,
made a mental note to claim it after the battle. When he went to look for it the
next morning, however, someone had beaten him to it, and the cloak had gone.
6
Charles Norris-Newman, who accompanied Chelmsford's forces as the cor­
respondent for the London Standard, confirms that Orchard's behaviour was
not unusual. Describing the battle of Gingindlovu, which took place on 2 April,
he relates how he joined in the fight with a civilian wagon-conductor named
Palmer. Noticing that several Zulus firing from a thick bush were causing
particular damage,
... we both arranged to wait quietly until the Zulus fired again, and then
taking good aim we fired together just as the two of them had raised
themselves on their knees to get a fair aim. The one aimed at by Palmer
sprung up high in the air, with outstretched arms, and fell backwards
dead, shot clean through the forehead, as we found out afterwards. The
one I aimed at was only wounded, but in a little while both he and the
third Zul u were killed by some of the 99th. After the battle the three were
found close together, and Palmer and I took and divided the trophies of
war, including their native dress, arms, and accoutrements: and we keep
them yet, as most hardy-won spoils.7
A gruesome anecdote recalled by Trooper George Mossop of the Frontier
Light Horse [hereafter FLH] suggests that some were prepared to go to
extraordinary lengths to acquire souvenirs, even in the heat of battle itself.
Mossop took part in the battle of Khambula, the decisive action of the
campaign, fought on 29, March when the Zulu forces began to retire after
several hours of desperate fighting, the British cavalry, including the FLH,
were sent in pursuit. Said Mossop:
A short distance outside the laager I saw a dead Zulu. He was on his back,
and a good portion of his head was blown away. He was a big powerful
fellow, and from his neck was hanging a large, beautifully-carved horn
snuff-box, attached to a thin rope of sinew. Dismounting, I went to him,
and as I was putting out my hand to secure the snuff-box, he suddenly
drew up one leg, and with the sole of his foot kicked me in the pit of my
stomach, bowling me over and knocking the breath from my body - but
that was not as bad as the fright I got from being kicked by a dead man !
However, I was not going to be kicked and frightened to death for
nothing, and setting to work more cautiously, I secured the snuff-box.
s
The death of the Prince Imperial of France, killed in a skirmish on 1st June,
also produced a rush for souvenirs. Several collections in both France and
Britain include spears allegedly found near his body. The Royal Artillery
Museum in Woolwich includes one with a broken spear-point - the implica­
tion being that it snapped off on impact in the Prince's body -- with an ornate
silver band bearing an inscription recording where it was found.
Clearly, anecdotal evidence suggests that both officers and other ranks
freely searched out souvenirs. The letters of Lt-Col Arthur Harness, who
commanded N/5 Battery, RA, throughout the War, suggest that an officer's
43
Examples of carved Zulu sticks
1. Capt. Laye's stick
2. Stick carved with name of Capt. Lonsdale and the Battle of Isandlwana
3. Stick taken at the Battle of Khambule
(Photographs: The author)
44 Nothing a/Value
permission was necessary before trophies could be taken:
9
However, if that
was the case, it appears that it was seldom refused. Presumably the troops were
allowed to indulge themselves to foster good morale. Nevertheless, it seems
unlikely that the other ranks would have had the practical facilities to store or
transport large or cumbersome artefacts in any quantity, since they did not
have the advantage of the generous baggage allowances granted to the officers.
One wonders if many of the souvenirs collected in the early battles of the
campaign survived to the end of the war without being broken, discarded or
lost.
After the battle of Ulundi, on 4 July, however, it was a different matter. It
was immediately apparent to the majority of the British troops that the
dispersal of the Zulu army and the razing of the king's residence, Ulundi
(Ondini), spelt the effective end of the war. Many expected that a speedy return
to the United Kingdom would follow, and they were concerned to procure
souvenirs before it was too late. Anstruther wrote to his wife:
We walked about burning the whole place and picked up shields and
assegais. I got 5 shields & 2 assegais - could not carry more.
10
Later, he added:
I am sending you 5 shields, some assegais, 3 or 4, I forget which, a mat,
and a couple of sticks I cut in the Kwamagwasa gardens. One of the sticks
is a blue gum, a huge weapon which I think would do for Uncle P. and the
other is an almond, I think, which you might keep. The shields, I think,
would do for fire screens for a dining-room. 4 of them are quite new and
are made out of the king's cattle and are the ones chiefs carry. They all
came out of Ulundi except the little one that I picked up close to our
square, in fact I picked up a lot of shields, assegais & guns but could not
carry them and had to drop them all again except the small shields and
assegais. The big shields are about 5 ft long, huge fellows and you will
find 2 long sticks that belong to them.ll
Arthur Harness commented somewhat sourly that the royal residence was
something of a disappointment, and contained nothing of beauty or value, only
a large number of 'ugly' cowhide shields. A day or two later he noted
indignantly that these had all but disappeared, and that soldiers had taken far
more than they could realistically carry. Indeed, a correspondent of the Natal
Mercury noted that one officer stationed at Fort Evelyn returned from a
foraging expedition so laden with loot that he lost his balance holding it, and
fell off his horse!
Lt H. C. Harford, attached to the Natal Native Contingent [the NNC],
described his own somewhat mixed experiences:
In my spare time I went over the battlefield of Ulundi and picked up one
or two relics in the shape of shields, assegais, etc. A few days after we
arrived, Jim [his African servant] came to me to say that he knew the spot
where [Cetshwayo's] crown and other paraphernalia presented to him on
the occasion of his coronation by 'Somtseu' [Sir Theophilus Shepstone]
were buried, and asked if he might go and make a search. I told him
certainly ... However, it turned out that they had been removed, and
45 Nothing of Value
squatting down, snapping his fingers to emphasise matters, he declared
that it had only been done that very day, as the earth from the hole was
quite fresh.12
It is interesting to consider which artefacts the British considered suitable
souvenirs. War-shields and spears were clearly favourites, since they had
obvious military connotations, and were readily identifiable as Zulu in origin.
Curiously, most of the spears derived from this source and which still survive
are of the throwing variety: stabbing spears of the famous Zulu pattern are
scarce. No doubt throwing spears were more plentiful on battlefields­
warriors flung their throwing spears in action but retained their stabbing
spears, even in retreat - and perhaps their smaller blades made them in any
case easier for the British to carry. Of the war-shields, the man-sized isihlangu
type - Anstruther's '5 ft long, huge fellows' - were more impressive,
though there is a clear impression that most of these were recovered from
stores in the royal homesteads (amakhanda) rather than on the battlefield.
Historians have long pondered whether these or the smaller umbhumbhulosu
variant were more often carried into battle by the Zulus: Anstruther's remarks
suggest that the smaller shields were found on the field whilst the larger ones
were looted from Ulundi. It is interesting to note that many of these shields
Large isihlangu (war-shield) taken from Ulundi after the battle by officers of the Royal
Artillery. Both the size of the shield and the colour - white with red/brown
spots - are typical of surviving examples taken as souvenirs by the British.
(Photograph: Royal Artillery Museum. Woolwi ch)
46 Nothing of Value
now in British collections have the white face and red spots traditionally
associated with the uThulwana ibutho, which was quartered at Ulundi. A study
of surviving shields reveals that they were well-made and robust, with a
surprising uniformity of size and style. The author has examined at least a
dozen umbhumbhulosu shields in private and public collections in the United
Kingdom and all have varied no more than an inch or two from a standard
specification of 40 inches tall by 20 inches wide. The shape is also clearly
standardised, with the points at the top and bottom of the oval carefully
rounded off. More variation is evident in the isihlangu type which, being
intended to cover a man's full body, differed slightly between individual
examples to take into account personal stature. Several examples examined by
the author were around the 48 inches by 25 inches mark, though examples as
large as 59 inches by 29 inches are not uncommon.
It should not be assumed, however, that the British were interested only in
overtly military artefacts. Any unusual or - in their eyes - 'exotic' items
were fair game. Colonel Richard Harrison commented that at Ulundi he,
' ... got from there two wooden milk jugs and some assegais and shields.' 13
Harford, a dedicated collector, procured a wooden milk pail from a homestead
he searched during the pursuit of the King, and, after Cetshwayo was captured,
he took 'two very nice grass baskets filled with utshwala [beer]', one of which
he presented to Col Clarke, his commanding officer, and the other he kept.
14
The Royal Regiment of Wales Museum at Brecon, also has a wooden milk pail
brought back by a member of the 24th. In an album of photographs compiled
by Lt F. Cookson of the 91st Highlanders - now part of the collection of the
National Army Museum, London - there is a fascinating photograph of a
trophy of Zulu artefacts taken by Cookson's regiment after Gingindlovu. The
centrepiece is inevitably formed of an impressive display of a shield and
spears, but mounted around it are various civilian artefacts, including wooden
utensils, items of clothing, and beadwork. Sadly, it has not so far proved
possible to discover the whereabouts of this trophy, or whether it has survived.
Zulu status sticks - the wooden staffs carried by men of rank - were also
popular amongst the troops. Photographs of groups of officers from the 80th,
88th and 91 st Regiments taken on campaign all show men carrying such sticks.
In particular, the most straight forward design of stick - a staff with a small
knotted head on the top - seems to have been especially sought after, perhaps
because of its similarity to a European walking stick. The Royal Regiment of
Wales Museum has two more ornate staffs, which were looted by officers of
the 24th Regiment from the homestead of Chief Sihayo kaXongo.
A brief perusal of these accounts suggests that the British army must have
returned from Zululand laden with booty. This may indeed have been the case:
at least one engraving in The Graphic depicts troops arriving home carrying
Zulu shields. Nevertheless, some of these items were large and cumbersome,
and no doubt some severe measures had to be taken to find room for them in
the crowded transports. Anstruther, like Harford and presumably other of­
ficers, could afford the lUxury of shipping his trophies home separately, but
none-the-less he resorted to a popular expedient: he removed the sticks at the
back of the war-shields, and sent them home rolled up. He suggested to his
wife that she 'chuck' water on them to make them supple before straightening
them out. He also suggested that the spears he secured could be thrust down the
back of the shields instead of the sticks. It is interesting to note that a number
of shields in British collections either have no sticks at the back, or have spears
substituted for them.
47 Nothing of Value
It was clearly important for the collectors that the origin of their trophies was
recorded, otherwise the significance might be lost. Some spears and sticks
were mounted with plaques or engraved metal bands, but by far the most
popular method was to have them carved, usually with the name of the
recipient and the relevant battle honour. This carving was often quite ornate:
Lt Cookson of the 91 st had the name of every place he visited in Zululand
neatly carved in a spiral around the staff of a status stick. Capt. J. H. Laye had
an ornate and florid design, featuring a sword piercing a Zulu shield, carved
into a stick commemorating an action he participated in near Hlobane
mountain on 24 January 1879. Often, a technique was employed whereby the
artefact was carved away around the patterning, to leave the lettering raised.
Many such trophies display a high degree of workmanship, which was
presumably beyond the whittling skills of the troops themselves: clearly they
were the work of a skilled craftsman, though it is not clear whether the work
was done in the field or after the return from the front. Apart from being
attractive items in their own right, and which speak volumes on the attitudes of
the Victorian soldier, such items have an extraordinary historical significance,
since this contemporary labelling ties them without doubt to very specific
locations and incidents.
What did the British do with their trophies once they had secured them?
Many no doubt adorned the walls of officers' messes across the United
Kingdom, whilst the collections in Osborne House on the Isle of Wight contain
no less than three shield-and-spear displays presented to Queen Victoria by
officers returning from the campaign. Others were destined to finish up in the
private houses of both officers and other ranks. In a feature on Sir Redvers
Buller which appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1900, an isihlangu
shield is clearly visible on the wall of the dining room of his country house.
Anstruther suggested to his wife that his shields might be mounted on a
pedestal and used as a fire screen, as described above. Clearly, they would not
long have survived such treatment: nevertheless, it is an intriguing thought that
the largest collection of Zulu artefacts dating from the nineteenth century
might still be found, not in South Africa, but in the United Kingdom.
There is one last, darker, aspect to the British passion for collecting: one
which was less openly referred to, but for which evidence nevertheless
survives. On a number of occasions troops collected the skulls and bones of the
Zulu dead from the battlefields, ostensibly for purposes of medical research,
but often as souvenirs. Their desire for trophies led them to collect the mortal
remains of the enemy dead themselves.
Acknowledgements
This article was drafted in the United Kingdom and completed in manuscript form in Zululand. I
record my thanks to Mrs Nicky Rattray for 'galloping' it to Pietermaritzburg and to David Buckley,
of the Natal Society Library. Brian Spencer of the Don Africana Library and Graham Dominy and
Mrs Pam Jerling of the Natal Museum, for deciphering my scrawl and turning it into legible form for
the journal and for sleuth work on my notes. All opinions expressed and any possible inaccuracies are
my responsibility.
48 Nothing a/Value
REFERENCES
1. Sce Paul Butterfield (cd.). War and peace in South Africa 1870-1881: the writings of Philip
Anstruther and Edward Essec (Melville [Johannesburg]. 1986/87?), p.36.
2. See for example: E. T. Rice & M. Harding, Butteiflies & bayonets: the soldier as collector
(London. 1989) - Exhibition catalogue of the National Army Museum.
3. National Maritime Museum. Greenwich: Milne MSS. Lt Milne's report on the disaster at
Isandlwana mentions the discovery of Aynsley's body. In about 1900 Newnham-Davis told the
anecdote about the cutlass to a boy's paper, Chums.
4. Talana Museum. Dundee: Symons Papers (copy).
5. Public Records Office. Kew: War Office Papers. WO 32/7737: 'Lt Chard's Report on the
defence of Rorke's Drift, 25 January 1879'.
6. I am indebted to Mr Tim Day for his research into Orchard family sources.
7. C. Norris-Newton, In Zululand with the British throughout the war of 1879 (London, 1880).
p.139.
8. G. Mossop, Running the gauntlet (London,. 1937), pp.73-4.
9. Sonia Clarke (ed.). The invasion of Zululand 1879 (Johannesburg. 1979): Harness's Ulundi
letters are between pp. 139-52.
10. Butterfield. War and peace in South Africa. pp. 34-5.
11. Ibid. p.44.
12. Daphne Child (ed.). The Zulu War journal of Col Henry Harjord. CB (Pietermaritzburg. 1978),
p.66.
13. Gen. Sir Richard Harrison, Recollections of a life in the British army (London. 1908),
p.187.
14. Child. Zulu War journal. p.79.
IAN KNIGHT
The Natal Microscopical Society
(1878-1885? )
A surprising number of scientific societies flourished in South Africa during
the nineteenth century, though most of them were short-lived and have been
almost completely forgotten.
l
Only a few of these were specialist societies, in
the sense of being devoted to a relatively small field of scientific endeavour.
One of the earliest of these (outside medicine) was the Natal Microscopical
Society, founded in Durban in April 1878. The purpose of this article is to
describe the history and activities of this society. As no minute books or other
primary documents appear to have survived, the main source of information
used are contemporary accounts of the society'S activities in local
newspapers.
Although microscopy contributed significantly to scientific knowledge from
the middle of the seventeenth century, its popularity increased dramatically
during the first half of the nineteenth century, when good compound micro­
scopes became available. As a result, a Microscopical Society was founded in
London in 1839, to become the Royal Microscopical Society 30 years later.
Little is known about the early history of microscopy in southern Africa.
However, our naturalists showed considerable interest in it during the latter
half of the nineteenth century. As early as 1855 Or George A. Hutton presented
a paper on the history and construction of the microscope, and its use in
science, to the Literary, Scientific and Medical Society in Grahamstown.
2
During the next few decades, microscopy featured prominently among the
activities of the Eastern Province Naturalists' Society,3 the King William's
Town Naturalists' Society,4 Natural History Association of NataV and else­
where.
Furthermore, the Curator of the Durban Botanic Gardens from 1872 to 1881,
William Keit, is said to have been affected in his botanical studies by the lack
of a microscope.
6
The Government of Natal eventually provided £42 to the
Natal Herbarium to buy a first class instrument in 1885.
7
By early 1878, a number of persons interested in microscopy met in Durban
from time to time to discuss their microscopical work. In April of that year,
[they] deemed that the time had come for organizing themselves so as,
with more effect, to cultivate their favourite pursuit, by the reading of
papers, by the demonstration of objects, and by discussions on what had
been read and shown. Mr H. E. Stainbarik an enthusiastic and successful
cultivator of microscopy, accordingly summoned a meeting at which it
was decided to form a society. 8
Natalia 22 (1992), C. Plug pp. 49-54
50 Natal Microscopical Society
Thus the Natal Microscopical Society was founded, and in a few months had
attracted some 25 members.
Henry Ellerton Stainbank (1836-1915), who initiated the society, arrived in
Natal from England in 1855.
9
After many years as a coffee cultivator he settled
in Durban in 1883, and was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1886.
He did some plant collecting, and served on the committees of the Durban
Natural History Museum and Durban Botanic Gardens.
1O
He did not serve on
the Committee of the Microscopical Society during its first two years (partly
on account of a visit to England), but was president of the society for at least
the next two years.
11
The president of the society during the first two years was Dr Julius Schulz
M.D. (Berlin), who arrived in Natal in 1858. He also served on the Council of
the Natal Society in 1881.
12
The first honorary secretary and treasurer was Mr
Stephen C. Adams, bookseller and stationer, who left Natal during 1879.13
Charles A. Holwell was elected the society's honorary librarian and curator.
He furthermore took over as secretary and treasurer on the departure of Adams.
Holwell was later also honorary secretary of the Durban Botanic Society.14
In addition to the president, secretary and librarian, the original office
bearers of the society included two committee members, Alfred Okell
(1849-?) and Maurice S. Evans (1854-1920), businessman and politician. IS
Evans made extensive plant collections in the Drakensberg and was co-author
with John Medley Wood (1827-1915) of the first volume of Natal Plants. 16 He
served on the first committee of the Durban Natural History Museum in 1855
and later became a fellow of the Zoological Society as well as a member of the
South African Philosophical Society. 17
Maurice S. Evans
(Photograph: National Botanical Research Institute. Pretoria)
51 Natal Microscopical Society
The members of the society also included John Medley Wood, one of Natal's
most prominent botanists and curator of the Durban Botanic Gardens from
1882; William D. Gooch, first honorary secretary of the Natural History
Association of Natal, who's main interest was in entomology;18 Robert
Jameson (1832-1919), member of the Durban town council for many years
from 1876,19 office bearer of the Durban Horticultural Society, the Natal
Agricultural and Horticultural Society and the Durban Botanic Society;20
Mark R. Pascoe (1851- ?) a former gold digger who later undertook mining
ventures on the Witwatersrand;21 and John S. Steel, veterinary surgeon and
office bearer of several other local scientific societies, who became treasurer
in 1880. He was a strong supporter of the Durban Natural History Museum
and initially stocked and arranged it (in 1887) with many of his own
specimens.
22
A person who turned out to be a most important member was John
Sanderson (1820-1881), politician and editor of the Natal Colonist.
23
He had
already been an office bearer of the Natural History Association of Natal, the
Natal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and the Durban Horticultural
Society, and was also an active early plant collector.
24
Described as a
'domineering, sharp-tongued Scottish journalist' /5 he fortunately reported on
most of the early meetings of the Natal Microscopical Society in his
newspaper, thereby providing the main source of currently available informa­
tion about it.
The society's activities consisted mainly of monthly meetings, during which
a paper was usually read, specimens from one or several members investigated,
and both the paper and specimens discussed. As it was difficult finding one's
John Sanderson
(Photograph: National Botanical Research Il1stitute, Pretoria)
52 Natal Microscopical Society
way after dark, meetings were held on the Tuesday next to full moon.
26
The
papers covered a variety of topics as the following list for the first year
indicates:
27
21 May 1878: 'History and development of the microscope'
(President's inaugural address).
June 1878: 'The microscope as a means of recreation'
(H. E. Stainbank).
July & 13 August 1878: 'The study of the blood'
(two papers by Dr Schulz).
17 September 1878: 'The microscopic examination of lignite found in
the Market Square, Durban during boring for water'
(A. Belville).
22 October 1878: 'Results of microscopic examination of water of
Little Umhlanga'
(Dr Schulz).
12 November 1878: 'Pollen'
(M.S. Evans).
3 December 1878: 'Local fields of microscopic investigation'
(W.D. Gooch)
4 March 1879: (specimens exhibited)
8 April 1879: 'Diatoms'
(H. E. Stainbank).
6 May 1879: First annual meeting; presidential address on the
work of the first year.
The paper on pollen, by M. S. Evans, was particularly well received, both by
members and by the society's correspondents in Britain.
28
It includes brief
descriptions of the pollen of about 50 species, both indigenous and imported.
Due to its perceived importance, the paper was published in pamphlet form.29
Specimens, shown during meetings, included blood samples (Schulz),
diatoms (Stainbank), polyzoa (T.J. Hill), muscle fibres (Schulz), rotifers
(S. Adams), forminifera (Stainbank), ferns and leaf fungi (1. M. Wood), and
microscopic shells (A. Bellville). Some of the specimens were collected during
a field day in October 1878, but only the president and secretary were
present. 30
A small specialist library was started by the society soon after its formation.
Some books were donated by members and others purchased. The Journal of
the Royal Microscopical Society, Journal of Microscopical Science, American
Journal of Microscopy and the Midland Naturalist were received early in
1880.
31
A cabinet was purchased to house microscopical slides, many of which were
donated by members. Others, including a set of 'Cole's physiological prepara­
tions' (a set of 24 stained pathological specimens of human tissue) were
purchased. Interesting samples were also obtained by exchange with the
Quekett Microscopical Club in Britain.
32
The society's contract with Britain is further illustrated by the election of
Mr J. W. Phillips of Hertford, England as an honorary member of the society,
'in recognition of many services rendered' .33 Another influence on the society
was a lecture delivered to its members in April 1880 by the visiting Polish
botanist Anton Rehmann (1840-1917), on the mosses of the Transvaal and
Natal. 34
53 Natal Microscopical Society
The Natal Microscopical Society flourished during a period when there was
much enthusiasm for science, both in South Africa and overseas. The motives
for scientific enquiry were complex and included the expansion of scientific
knowledge, solving practical problems (especially in agriculture), economic
development (especially through geological prospecting and horticulture),
providing entertainment (through public lectures and demonstrations) and even
furthering religion (by exposing the wonders of creation). The activities of the
Natal Microscopical Society reflect several of these aspects of science. Evans'
paper on pollen was probably its most important contribution to fundamental
scientific knowledge.
Two community problems were investigated during the first two years,
showing that members were prepared to apply their knowledge and expertise in
practice. One involved a microscopical investigation of the water of the Little
Umhlanga River to find the cause of the bloody urine produced by people who
drank its water. No explanation could be given for the phenomenon.
35
The
second problem related to the purity of the water of Currie's Fountain, from
which Durban was supplied. A chemical investigation proved it to be pure.
36
To promote the study of natural history among the youth, the society offered
a prize of a microscope for the best essay on botany by pupils throughout Natal
taking part in the government examinations in December 1879.
37
There is also an element of entertainment present in some of the society's
activities, as shown by Stainbank's lecture in June 1878. Another example is
the exhibition of 'a micro-photograph of Saturn, showing the three rings and
four of his satellites', by a Mr Behrens.
38
Microscopy was clearly intended
also to be fun. The prevailing interest in science by the clergy at this time
is shown by the presence, at this same meeting of the following visitors: the
Very Rev. Dean Green, of Pietermaritzburg, Archdeacon U sherwood, and Rev.
Mr Whittington.
39
Due to the demise of the Natal Colonist in April 1880, very little is known
about the later activities of the Society. Its second annual meeting, scheduled
for 25 May 1880, was briefly announced in the Natal Mercury, but not reported
upon.
40
A brief but informative description of the society was drawn up late in
1880 and published in the Natal Almanac for 1881.
41
The number of members
is given as 33. Among them they possessed 15 microscopes, with a total value
of some £500. Although the society is not listed in subsequent editions of the
Natal Almanac it appears to have survived for several years more. It is listed in
the annual Blue Books for the Colony of Natal from 1880 to 1885, when it had
29 members.
42
No returns were received from the society after that, so that it
must have ceased to function in about 1885. No other microscopical society
appears to have existed in South Africa until the Microscopical Association of
the Cape was founded during the nineteen-fifties.
The Natal Microscopical Society was noteworthy because it was the only
one of its kind in southern Africa. On the other hand, it was a fairly typical
example of southern African scientific societies at the time: small; local;
short-lived; funded by private subscription; its membership consisting of
enthusiastic amateur scientists; in regular correspondence with similar socie­
ties or individuals overseas (especially in Britain); representing mainly the
more prosperous section of the community; enjoying the support of political,
religious and other cultural leaders; and striving to contribute towards
scientific knowledge, the welfare of the community, as well as the cultural
needs of a small portion of the population.
54 Natal Microscopical Society
REFERENCES
1. C. Plug, 'Scientific societies in South Africa to the end of the nineteenth century' South African
journal of Science 88, 1992, pp.256-61.
2. Grahamstown Journal, 3 June 1856, p. 3: Literary, Scientific and Medical Society.
3. Port Elizabeth Public Library, Africana Collection: Eastern Province Naturalists' Society:
Minute Book 26, Jan 1882.
4. Kaffrarian Watchman, 25 July 1884, p.3: King William's Town Naturalists Society.
5. C. Quickelberge, Collections and recollections: The Durban Natural History Museum, 1887­
1987, (Durban, 1988).
6. D. P. McCracken, 'William Keit and the Durban Botanic Garden' Bothalia 16, 1986, pp.71-5.
7. B. D. Schrire, 'Centenary of the Natal Herbarium, Durban, 1882-1982' Bothalia 14, 1983,
pp. 223-36.
8. Natal Colonist, 17 Aug 1878, p.2: Natal Microscopical Society. Reports in the Natal Colonist
almost invariably have this heading.
9. D. W. Kruger & C.J. Beyers (eds), Dictionary of South African Biography 3, (Cape Town,
1977), pp.751-752.
10. M. Gunn & L.E. Codd, Botanical exploration of southern Africa (Cape Town, 1981). See also
Quickelberge, Collections and recollections, and Don Africana Library: Durban Botanic
Society, Report for 1886.
11. Natal Almanac, directory and yearly register 1881 (Pietermaritzburg, 1881), p.353 (Hereafter
Natal Almanac). See also Cape of Good Hope (Colony), The general directory and guide book
to the Cape of Good Hope and its dependencies . .. for 1882 (Cape Town), p.539.
12. E. H. Burrows, A history of medicine in South Africa up to the end of the nineteenth century
(Cape Town, 1958).
13. Natal Colonist, 9 Qct. 1879, p.3.
14. Natal Almanac 1890, p.153.
15. South African Who's Who (Durban, 1908). See also Gunn & Codd, Botanical exploration.
16. Schrire, 'Centenary of the Natal Herbarium'. pp. 223-236.
17. Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society 9, 1895-1897, p. vii.
18. See Quickelberge, Collections and recollections, and J. Sanderson, 'The Study of Natural
History and the Association for its Promotion' in Natal Almanac 1869, pp.60-66.
19. W.P.M. Henderson, Durban: Fifty years of municipal history (Durban, 1904).
20. See Natal Almanac 1872, p.163 and Durban Botanic Society, Report for 1884.
21. SA Who's Who (1908).
22. See Quickelberge, Collections and recollections and Natal Almanacs 1881 & 1872, p.163.
23. Dictionary of South African Biography 4 (1981), pp. 533-534.
24. See Natal Almanac 1872, p.163 and A. W. Bayer, 'Aspects of Natal's Botanical History' South
African Journal of Science 67,1971, pp.401-411.
25. D. P. & P. A. McCracken, Natal the garden colony: Victorian Natal and the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew (Sandton, 1990), p. 14.
26. Natal Colonist, 5 Aug 1879, p.2.
27. Natal Microscopical Society, First Annual Report (Durban, 1879).
28. Natal Colonist 5 Aug 1879, p.2.
29. M. S. Evans, Pollen: A Paper read before the Natal Microscopical society, November 8, 1878
(Durban, 1878) reprinted from the Natal Colonist.
30. Natal Colonist 5 Aug 1879, p.2.
31. Natal Colonist, 25 March 1880, p.3.
32. Natal Colonist, 5 July & 5 Aug 1879, and 26 Feb 1880, p.2.
33. Natal Colonist, 25 March 1880, p.3.
34. Natal Colonist, 22 April 1880, p.2.
35. Natal Colonist, 24 Qct 1878, p.2.
36. Natal Colonist, 9 Qct 1879, p.3.
37. Natal Microscopical Society, First Annual Report.
38. Natal Colonist, 19 Sept 1878, p.2.
39. Natal Colonist. 19 Sept 1878.
40. Natal Mercury. 14 May 1880, p.3: The Microscopical Society.
41. See p.353.
42. Natal Colony: Blue Books, 1880-1885 (Pietermaritzburg).
CORNELIS PLUG
National Monuments
A new focus in Natal!
In recent years many changes have taken place in the approach which the
National Monuments Council's Natal regional organisation takes towards the
task for which it was created. It is undoubtedly not solely responsible for such
changes which are, in addition to a product of the times, a result of close
co-operation and exchange of ideas with others working in the heritage
conservation field in the province and certainly many of the projects concerned
have been initiated by organisations other than the National Monuments
Council (NMC). The purpose of this paper is not to claim credit for projects
which are not the National Monuments Council's, but rather to present what is
happening in the field in which the Council operates.
By the same token this paper, while it does discuss certain aspects of the soul
searching through which the Natal region of the NMC has been, is an attempt
to show that real efforts are being made to meet the challenges of the time and
to demonstrate that there are indeed some meaningful projects taking place in
the field in which the Natal Region of the organisation operates and with which
it has been closely associated.
* * *
In our changing world the accusation of irrelevance is too frequently heard by
architectural conservationists. To many and in light of past performance this
may be a justifiable accusation, but what is important in this context is that it is
one which most in the field are hard put to counter. It is often impossible in the
light of difficult economic circumstances and changing political and cultural
contexts to motivate the expenditure of vast sums of money on the seemingly
elitist practice of saving beautiful buildings. This is undoubtedly the image of
the discipline in the mind of a public which sees architectural conservation
solely in the context of putting buildings on pedestals and recognising them as
an art form in a great outdoor gallery. The initiated are aware that the concept
of conservation of the cultural environment goes much further and that it is
an activity which in the sense in which the term has been used to describe
what has historically been the primary activity of the National Monuments
Council, that is the declaration of National Monuments, goes beyond the realm
of architecture and encompasses virtually any tangible aspect of human
interest.
In early 1991 the focus of the press fell briefly upon cultural institutions and
in particular the National Monuments Council. Much of the criticism of the
Natalia 22 (1992), A. Hall pp. 55-64
56 National Monuments
NMC was confused in that it failed to understand the Council's area of
operation and in essence the difference between a 'memorial' and a 'National
Monument' declared as such in terms of statute (ie: the National Monument
Act). Confusions aside, in most instances the press examined the possible
focus of the National Monuments Council in the future and what pattern
recognition of cultural artefacts in the form of monuments might take under a
new political system; compared this with the existing situation and in certain
instances suggested likely National Monuments for a post-apartheid South
Africa.
2
In the process sensitive questions were asked of, amongst others,
members of the Natal Regional Committee of the NMC, and this brought home
to the regional organisation the fact that the time had come to look critically at
what it had for some time recognised as a problem regarding the relevance of
much of the NMC's work in the province and possible means of addressing the
issue now that the time for such action was ripe.
The result was a fairly unrefined statistical analysis of the I80-odd National
Monuments in Natal (excluding those which fall under the Kwazulu Monu­
ments Council) at that time. The study was intended only to lend some
statistical support to a situation of which the Natal Region of the NMC
believed it was already aware. (The fact that there are several declared
monuments in Kwazulu which do not fall under the control of the National
Monuments Council and that the Kwazulu Monuments Council takes a
different approach regarding the number of sites it declares in its territory gives
some indication of the extent of the problem involved in compiling a complete
and accurate analysis for the whole of Natal.)
Other than for natural (eg: waterfalls, trees, etc.) and what were called
industrial sites (essentially bridges), the analysis was done by race classifica­
tion since this was the basis upon which criticism was being levelled at the
organisation. The concept of analysis by this means is one which is fraught
with dangers since in most instances it is difficult to assign 100% relevance to
a particular racial group. As a rule what was felt to be the area of primary
relevance was taken as the category into which sites were placed.
Another problem area was the analysis of monuments which were rec­
ognised primarily for their aesthetic value and not due to any historical or
political connotation. In such instances (by far the majority) it seemed that
while the relevant aesthetic values were of essentially European origin an
important factor regarding relevance related to the environmental contribution
such monuments made and the fact that most of these National Monuments
contribute in some, one hopes positive, manner to the environment in which all
South Africans work, if not live. A sub-division of the analysis thus separates
monuments with strong political connotations from those with an essentially
aesthetic connotation. The former category consists primarily of national
monuments associated with Afrikaner Nationalism (another specific area of
perennial criticism of the NMC). Monuments with strong imperialist connota­
tions were more difficult to distinguish from those of great aesthetic value and
this breakdown was not attempted.
In the case of battlefields, sites were allocated twice (that is to both the sides
involved in the battle) it being a fairly simple matter to confirm relative
equality of connection to two interest groups.
The survey was done using the Natal entries on the National Monuments
Council's national computer database, 'Conserva,.3
The results of the survey (see Table I) confirmed that there exist distinct
gaps in the scope of current statutory protection of sites of cultural significance
57 National Monuments
Number of % of Interest group
monuments
total
161
22 12.0 Political connotations
. , : , ~ ..:::'.
: , . ~ : : : . " .
139 ,
..
t ~ : 9
' ..., ,'pfu:efWhite
: ,x .:·:-;·:,:"
9 4.9 Indian
7 3.8 Zulu
0 0.0 Xhosa
0 0.0 Coloured
0 0.0 Sotho
2 1.1 Immigrants
8 4.4 Natural
5 2.7 Industrial
Table 1: Analysis of Natal National Monuments by interest group, February
1991
in Natal. This did not come as a surprise, but the analysis did lend credence
to claims and suspicions regarding National Monuments in the Province.
Addressing the problem was of course the central issue and statistics tended to
lend support to the strategy which was subsequently devised.
At its meeting on 7 August 1991
4
the Natal Regional Committee of the
National Monuments Council adopted an affirmative action strategy aimed
specifically at addressing the problems raised by the analysis of the current
state of affairs.s In using the term 'affirmative action' the intention was not to
set quotas for the declaration of national monuments relevant to specific racial
groups (as is generally understood by American use of the term), but rather to
change the emphasis of future operations of the region. The strategy attempts
to ensure that the bulk of protections instituted in the future will adequately
reflect the reality of cultural diversity in Natal and in addition introduces
specific projects aimed at filling in existing gaps in the scope of present
coverage. It is hoped hereby to gain relevance and credibility in areas where
this is perceived to be a priority and where it is currently lacking. Ultimately
the purpose must be to better fulfil the stated intention of the National
Monuments Act that:
... the (National Monuments) Council shall ... preserve and protect
the historical and cultural heritage, ... encourage and ... promote
preservation and protection of that heritage, and .. . co-ordinate all
activities in connection with monuments ... in order that monuments
... will be retained as tokens of the past and may serve as an inspiration
to the future ...6
58 National Monuments
and primarily to accomplish this in a manner relevant and applicable to all
those living in Natal.
The strategy not only makes proposals regarding the manner in which this is
to be achieved, but at the same time sets out a system whereby those whose
interests have traditionally been a priority of the Natal Region will continue to
be protected as and when those communities feel that it is necessary. To this
particular end a system akin to the current catch phrase, 'privatisation', has
been instituted whereby people, or communities, who wish to see sites of
interest to themselves, but outside of the areas of designated regional priority,
declared as National Monuments may still do so provided that they do the
necessary research and provide the required documentation. This enables the
Regional Committee and staff to examine cases, with little effort, and where
appropriate make recommendations to higher authority regarding the institu­
tion of legal protections. This system has proved effective and in approxi­
mately 14 months of operation no community or person has yet objected to it.
This procedure has an additional advantage in that the motivation of a
community to protect a specific site may be gauged in this manner, it being
fundamental to successful heritage conservation that an element within the
community concerned be active in and demonstrate a desire to see a site
retained as 'a token of the past'.7 (This last statement must be qualified
regarding communities amongst which the concept of heritage conservation
has yet to be popularised and where its benefits to the community are not yet
understood. 8)
It has been recognised that the statistical situation with regard to the primary
relevance of National Monuments in Natal will not change overnight. The
current situation is the product of 60 years of activity and there are insufficient
resources to effect changes which will be of immediately noticeable signifi­
cance. This was an important motivation in adopting a strategy which commits
the regional organisation of the NMC to a course of action which the Regional
Committee believes to be necessary. It is hoped that implementation of the
strategy will in the short term also demonstrate that there is a commitment to
change.
As a rule the above mentioned factors are important for the following
reasons: it is an unfortunate fact that in the present economic climate cultural
institutions simply do not have the resources to immediately come into line
with new trends regarding the physical manifestations of their activity (ie:
what the public sees). There nevertheless exists a necessity to demonstrate by
means of policy commitments, strategies and, most importantly, actions, that
the thinking of the institution concerned is in line with changing social trends
and those internationally accepted professional practices which for reasons of
the country's past may have been ignored.
To return specifically to the activities of the National Monuments Council
and the belief that protection of conservation-worthy sites via legislative
means is too 'Eurocentric' a concept to survive the current era of change: it is
true when examining statutory cultural conservation and its South African
record that accusations of elitism, Eurocentrism and simple racism in past
practice are as justifiable as they are for most other areas of state intervention
in cultural, or for that matter any other area of human experience. To many the
only means of countering such accusations has been to rush about searching for
potential monuments which are 'relevant to Blacks'.
In Natal this has also occurred and several important pre-colonial archaeolo­
gical sites are in the process of declaration as National Monuments. Among
59 National Monuments
these are the Shakan pitfall traps at the confluence of the Black and White
Mfolozi Rivers and the Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter on the Mhlathuzana River
south of Hillcrest.
9
Plans for a survey of all recorded archaeological sites in the
province with a view to identifying sites which warrant statutory recognition
are also in an advanced stage. 10 In the case of archaeological sites it is indeed
more a case of recognition than protection since the National Monuments Act
makes provision for very strenuous protection of all archaeological sites
without regard to relative importance.!!
. While it is so that sites such as these warrant protection and recognition and
may well be relevant to the neglected majority of South Africans, one very
quickly runs into the problem that African culture does not leave behind it a
record which is of a manifest material nature and which is as evident as
architecture, the most obtrusive form which material culture takes in western
and oriental cultures. It is apparent that, despite the fact that there may be a
significant backlog in the protection of sites which readily exhibit evidence of
cultures not previously concentrated upon in terms of legislative protection,
there will never be the same volume and variety of sites exhibiting material
evidence of African culture which are protected in the form with which we are
familiar, that is as National Monuments, conservation areas, National Register
entries etc. (ie: the various levels of protection of the built environment
provided for by the National Monuments Act.)!2 This problem was one which,
if at all possible, needed to be addressed by a strategy if the concept of cultural
conservation by means of legislative protection is to enjoy any priority under a
new political dispensation. The problem did, however, appear to be the
apparently unavoidable one of retaining a majority of National Monuments
which were only of primary interest to a minority of the population.
Of course the activities of the National Monuments Council in recognising
and protecting sites do not focus solely on architecture and other forms of
material culture. There is also a significant domain which is covered by statute
and which is associated with occurrences or figures of historical significance.!3
This too represents an opportunity for extension into a realm deserving of
recognition, but which to many still very much wears the cloak of controversy.
Such are the sites associated with the 'struggle' or figures close to it.
The National Monuments Council has recently grappled with the issue of the
Alan Paton papers and the Sol Plaatjie House.
14
There are many in Natal, to
mention a few: Paton's birthplace in Pietermaritzburg; Albert Luthuli's
birthplace at Groutville (which falls under the jurisdiction of the KwaZulu
Monuments Council); the place at which Nelson Mandela was arrested near
Howick and, as part of its strategy the National Monuments Council will in
early 1993 conduct a survey of the many Gandhi sites throughout the Province.
These sites too are of undeniable significance and will doubtlessly in time be
recognised and adequately protected. One should not, however, be fool enough
to believe that their recognition alone will win cultural conservationists a
lasting place in the hearts and minds of compatriots.
The affirmative action strategy adopted by the Natal Region of the National
Monuments Council makes provision for concentration on the types of
activities outlined above and prescribes that no project which does not look at
the contribution of all South Africans to the cultural mosaic or does not
deliberately seek to fill the gaps revealed by statistical analysis can be
sanctioned. It is with this in mind that as a matter of policy surveys of the
building stock of urban areas in the province now look at all neighbourhoods,
not just those which were formerly white group areas, and that buildings of
60 National Monuments
not just those which were formerly white group areas, and that buildings of
significance to and of interest in all parts of a town should enjoy simultaneous
protection of a form suited to their importance. Such survey techniques have
become the primary manner in which the region identifies conservation-worthy
sites.
Much thought has gone into setting up projects which deliberately seek to
broaden the scope of the NMC in Natal. Many of these have been undertaken in
conjunction with colleagues at other institutions, most notably the KwaZulu
Monuments Council and the Natal Provincial Museum Services. Natal has for
many years been unique in the level of co-operation which exists between its
two monuments councils and the Provincial Administration and, apart from the
more obvious advantages of co-operation, joint projects have enabled the
institutions concerned to overcome certain of the administrative, political and
geographical divisions which exist in the region.
The problem of architecture as a transient cultural manifestation in the
purely African context has been dealt with at some length in this article and
one of the most interesting projects which has recently been undertaken and to
which it is hoped there will be an ongoing commitment in the future, is an oral
history survey which identifies sites of significance which are not in a built
form or necessarily of historical significance. This joint project has concen­
trated on analysing the strength and importance of oral traditions which are
associated with identifiable places. Such a 'place' may be a rock, tree, pool or
other manifestation upon which a community places significance and which is
as a result considered to be conservation worthy. The project took the form of
an oral history survey of the Stanger area and several such sites were
examined, the strengths of the tradition attached to them were tested. IS South
Africa is full of places such as these and, if conservation is to work at
grassroots level, and if cultural conservationists believe that oral tradition is a
cultural manifestation worthy of attention, there is a duty to identify and
protect such sites, thereby assisting to perpetuate traditions which are under
severe threat in urban areas.
Despite all that has been said so far and even if oral history does present a
possibility for creating a broad scope of sites protected in terms of the National
Monuments Act, this may still be insufficient to justify a commitment on the
part of a government or society to conservation of the form under discussion.
In short it is essential that it is realised that it is probably only in economic and
social terms that the continuation of such activity can be motivated on a
meaningful scale. There is nothing new in realising the economic potential of
conservation-worthy structures in a first world sense and Natal, as elsewhere,
has for many years seen business exploiting conservation potential for its own
gain and using historic buildings as an economically viable alternative to new
construction. (The 'Workshop' and Exhibition Centre in Durban is a good example,
as is the soon to be undertaken Colonial Building project in Pietermaritz­
burg.
I6
) This is particularly so in the current hard times and is something which
the NMC has always encouraged. The problem is, however, to demonstrate
that conservation of, in particular, the built environment can hold economic
and social benefits for the vast masses of the population of this country.
Tourism is an obvious means of doing this, but its promotion does not to any
great degree depend upon the conservationists themselves. As has already been
mentioned, rehabilitating and finding new uses for existing properties is an
increasingly popular practice the economic soundness of which is difficult to
ignore, but tourism and rehabilitation, while they may stimulate architectural
61 National Monuments
conservation in monetary terms, are probably not sufficiently close to the
interests of the vast majority of South Africans to mean anything more than
does the erection of a brand new building.
It seems that there will have to be more innovation than this and that
conservationists must strive to tie such projects in with the direct interests of
the community in whose areas a particular project takes place. In Natal nature
conservationists have had limited successes in this regard and certain museum
conservation projects (namely those at Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift) have tied
their development to self-help community projects. In architectural conserva­
tion few such projects have got off the ground, but the following three cases do
give some idea of how buildings with significant conservation value can play a
significant and meaningful role in projects which involve social upliftment.
They also illustrate how this can be accomplished without necessarily adding
to costs and often with very real financial advantages or benefits in terms of the
quality and size of facility relative to finances available for investment.
Girls Collegiate School, Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg
17
The restoration of the old Girls Collegiate School in Pietermaritzburg was one
of the first such projects in Natal to incorporate a significant conservation
aspect and although not without its funding difficulties has thus far been
successful. It is an unusual project in that it ties the conservation of an
important group of buildings, formerly an exclusive 'young ladies' school, into
a socially contradictory though reconcilable context: the development of
building skills among the less privileged sectors of our society. Academic
restoration of a type and quality rarely seen in South Africa is taking place on
the site. This has to a degree only been so due to the fact that the time
constraints of a normal building project do not exist on a site where the training
of builders is uppermost in the mind of the sponsors (various foreign and local
institutions). It is also interesting from an affirmative action point of view that
many of the trainees on the site are women. When the restoration of old Girls
Collegiate is completed in 1993, the buildings will become a basic skills
training centre for those of a similar background to the people currently
working on the project. It might be hoped that the builder training project will
be moved to another site with a conservation focus.
The old Merchiston Boarding Hostel, 231 Prince Alfred Street,
Pietermaritzburg
18
Another interesting project of similar nature concerns the building situated at
231 Prince Alfred Street, Pietermaritzburg. This building, formerly the
boarding hostel of the Merchiston School and then used by Grey's Hospital
before it moved to new premises, was in the latter part of the 1980s used by riot
police units before being abandoned by its owner, the Natal Provincial
Administration. As a result of years of neglect and abuse the building was
condemned, but being older than 50 years of age the owner was required to
approach the Natal Plans Committee of the National Monuments Council for a
demolition permit. The application was unsuccessful since it was felt that the
building was one of some quality and that possibilities for its rehabilitation
hence warranted investigation.
The provincial authorities undertook to attempt to find someone who was
prepared to take on a rehabilitation project and the success of this endeavour
resulted in the building being let out on long lease to a trust which runs a
62 National Monuments
therapy centre and specialist toy library for disabled children. The trust has at
its own cost renovated the structure and uses about twenty-five percent of the
available space for its own purposes, letting out the remainder to tenants whose
rents repay the loan which was required to fund the work which has made the
building usable. Ultimately it may be expected that rents will help to fund the
trust itself, or that additional space will be at the disposal of the trust as its
activities expand. While this project was not without it problems regarding
structural complications and resultant additional expense during rehabilitation,
the trust has acquired for itself a facility which had it attempted to build new it
would have found to have been far beyond its very limited means. The
conservation of this structure has also contributed to the long term financial
wellbeing of an organisation which has an important social mission which is
relevant to a variety of communities.
24 Morling Street, Howick
l 9
A third case concerns a house on the lower part of Morling Street in Howick.
This National Monument formerly housed the Howick Museum which in
mid-1992 moved to new premises close to the Howick falls, a more logical
location for an institution aimed at the town's tourists. Lower Morling Street
has in recent years seen a change in use from an area of middle-class housing to
taxi-commuter oriented commercial usage. The house, which is opposite the
magistrate' s court, no longer lends itself to the cultural use for which it was
restored.
The settler home, Morling Street, Howick: National monument,
formerly a museum, presently a clinic.
(Photograph: FGG Arcchitects)
63 National Monuments
At the time of the museum's move the Howick Municipality was looking for
a location on which to erect a new community clinic and the site occupied by
24 Morling Street seemed ideally suited to this purpose. However, there was
considerable concern that such a project on this particular site would have to
involve the demolition of a national monument, an occurrence which was
unlikely to be sanctioned by the National Monuments Council. In the event it
was ascertained that this would not be necessary and a new clinic facility has
been successfully erected behind the existing structure, visible sections
thereof, while of modern design, forming a successful foil to the existing
building which is now used as offices for clinic staff. While certain aspects of
the design of the new section of this building may have required additional
expense in order to make it compatible with the national monument to which it
has been attached, it would seem that this was compensated for by the
additional space provided by the existing building.
It is so that all three of the above-mentioned sites are owned by second or
third tier departments of government and this would seem to indicate that
generally this type of project is only viable if supported by that sector of the
economy which can afford to sponsor conservation projects without counting
the cost in terms of profits which might have accrued had the sites concerned
been developed differently. This is essentially a problem of the existing system
for architectural conservation which does not make allowance for financial and
planning incentives to private sector developers who incorporate a conserva­
tion element into development projects (ie. tax rebates, bulk transfers, zoning
relaxations, etc.). While this might seem to influence the relevance and
viability of the types of projects described above, this does not necessarily
impact as badly on the idea of socially relevant conservation as might at first
appear. Quite simply it is probably most important that it is the politicians
which control the public sector bodies to whom such projects are attractive
who understand that conservation indeed has a social role to play. It is after all
the politicians who through their elected offices can facilitate social upliftment
by encouraging this form of conservation and, most importantly, can justify the
projects in terms of the facilities provided.
In conclusion it would seem that if the continued practice of architectural
conservation is to be justified in the 'new' South Africa, architectural
conservationists are going to have to look for innovative projects like old Girls
Collegiate, or the Howick clinic and will have to find and encourage
organisations to take them on. Unfortunately there cannot be too many projects
of this specific type and innovation will have to include other methods of
proving that architectural conservation can be reconciled to the basic needs of
communities and does not of necessity have to compete for scarce resources. It
is probably only by showing the masses of this country what architectural
conservation can do for their personal upliftment that the battle to win a place
in the new society can be won. In order to succeed conservationists will have to
rid themselves of many of their preconceptions concerning what may now be
regarded as conflicting cultural values and their beliefs as to what is within the
realm of possibility. In Natal the NMC and its associates have taken the first
tentative steps in this regard and it is still too early to say how successful they
have been. If they do succeed, and that is not a foregone conclusion, cultural
conservation in the form in which it is practised by organisations like the
National Monuments Council may yet become a vehicle of cultural reconcilia­
tion and a means of sharing cultural resources in a new South Africa.
64 National Monuments
NOTES
1. This article is a revision of a paper presented at the conference of the Southern African
Museums Association, held in Durban in June 1992.
2. The Weekly Mail, 'Demolishing the Monument Myth', May 3 to May 9, 1991, p.lO; Business
Day, Thursday, June 20,1991, pp. 8-9; The Natal Witness, 'Try a shebeen crawl to find your
heritage', Thursday, August 1, 1991, p.13.
3. NMC - Natal Local Area Network, Rapid File computer database: File: Conserv2.rpd,
records of national monuments declared before 31 July 1991.
4. NMC - Natal Office: 4/4/3/212, Minutes of the Natal Regional Committee, 'Minutes of 7
August 1991', Item 91/9: Strategy for Affirmative Action in the Natal Region, p.7.
5. NMC - Natal Office: 9/P, Administration of Conservation, 'Strategy for Affirmative Action
in the Natal Region'.
6. Statutes ofthe Republic ofSouth Africa, Issue No. 25, 'National Monuments Act No. 28 of 1969
as Amended', (Pretoria: Government Printer), p. 115, Section 2A.
7. Ibid.
8. That is essentially those communities at which aspects of the strategy under discussion are
aimed.
9. NMC - Natal Office: 9/2141911, Lower Umfolozi: Shakan Pitfall Traps, Umfolozi Game
Reserve; Ibid, 9/2/403/2, Camperdown: Umhlatuzana Rock Shelter.
10. NMC - Natal Office: 9/412, Archaeological Sites and Objects, 'Comments on Archaeological
Occurrences'; Ibid, 'Statutory Recognition of Archaeological Sites in Natal: A Survey of
Existing Site Reports at the Natal Museum' .
11. Statutes ofthe Republic ofSouth Africa, Issue No. 25, 'National Monuments Act No. 28 of 1969
as Amended', (Pretoria: Government Printer), p. 135, Section 12(2A)(a)e).
12. Ibid, p.123, Section 5(9); Ibid, p.I77, Section 5(c); Ibid, p.135, Section 12(2A)(f).
13. Ibid, p.115, Section 2A.
14. NMC - Head Office: 9/4/5, Antiques; NMC - Northern Cape Office: 9/2/049/45, Kimberley:
Sol Plaatjie House. 32 Angel Street.
15. NMC - Natal Office: 9/2/418/5, Lower Tugela: Shaka sites, Shakaville, 'Research Project on
King Shaka Sites', Brooks H M.
16. NMC - Natal Office: H13/13/31211, Durban: The Workshop; Ibid, 9/2/436/11, Pietermaritz­
burg: Colonial Building and old Umgeni Magistrates Court, 241 Church Street.
17. NMC - Natal Office: 9/2/436/41, Pietermaritzburg: old Girls Collegiate School. cnr Burger
and Gutridge Streets.
18. NMC - Natal Office: 9/2/436112, Pietermaritzburg: Edugro Centre. 231 Prince Alfred Street;
Ibid, H13/56/411, Pietermaritzburg: old Merchiston School.
19. NMC - Natal Office: 9/21417/9, lions River: 24 Morlillg Street. Howick.
ANDREW HALL
Obituaries
Andre Racco de Villiers (1917-1992)
Several years ago Lennox Swift in his column Civic Viewpoint wrote:
The Reverend Andre Rocco de Villiers is a big man with enormous hands
- the sort you'd look for on a master craftsman.
He is an outspoken, blunt Presbyterian minister who says what he thinks
without worrying too much about the consequences.
That is how I knew him for over 40 years - a big man, a blunt man, a man
among men. Andre de Villiers had the spontaneity and magnanimity of
St Peter and yet the gentleness of St Andrew. His loyalty was rock-like. His
unshakeable faith in his Lord drew men to him.
Rev. Dr A. R. de Villiers
(Photograph: The author)
65
66 Obituaries
As a teenager, I was a member of his hundred-strong Minister's Class which
met every Sunday morning at Frere Road Presbyterian Church. He was the
sporting padre. He had played first league rugby, soccer and cricket. His
ministry was the very antithesis of the 'gentle Jesus, meek and mild' approach.
His was a robust faith. The call he extended on behalf of his Lord was
unequivocal and unremitting. He rejoiced in his calling as an evangelist. His
constant invitation was:
Let me commend my Saviour to you ...
Dr de Villiers was called to the Frere Road Presbyterian Church in January
1944 and occupied that pulpit for almost 27 years. It was as the minister of
Frere Road that he was appointed Mayor's chaplain in 1965 to the controver­
sial term of office of Councillor Vernon Shearer. In 1966 he was appointed
chaplain to Councillor Margaret May tom who was the first woman mayor of
Durban. Mrs May tom was a Roman Catholic but that did not deter her from
appointing Dr de Villiers as her chaplain. It was also as minister of Frere Road
that Dr de Villiers was elected in 1961 to the highest office of his church,
namely Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of
Southern Africa.
Andre de Villiers was born on 15 March 1917 and grew up in Cape Town.
His father died when he was two years of age and his mother had the difficult
task of bringing up three children on her own. Andre matriculated at
Observatory Boys' High in Cape Town at the early age of 15 years. He went to
work at the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society for three years and
then in 1936 was appointed Assistant Secretary of the YMCA in Cape Town.
His consciousness of a call to the ministry became stronger and stronger. He
was accepted as a candidate for the ministry by the Presbyterian Church of
Southern Africa. Training facilities were not available in South Africa and he
could not afford to study overseas so he entered the student probationer course
under the control of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed as probationer
minister to a small mining community church at Koffiefontein in the Free State
where he preached his first sermon on 7 August 1937 and served there for two years.
From Koffiefontein Andre de Villiers moved to George in June 1939 where
he was ordained on 19 August 1941. Last year the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian church paid tribute to his fiftieth anniversary as an ordained
minister (he had, in fact, been in the full-time ministry for 54 years!), and he
and his dear Mary celebrated their golden wedding. It was also from George
that he left for Egypt in December 1941 as a chaplain to the South African
Defence Force. On his return from 'up North', he served as chaplain to the
garrison on Robben Island and the air force base at George.
When the Reverend Mr and Mrs de Villiers arrived at Frere Road in 1944,
there was a small congregation of 200 members. When they left, the original
church had twice been enlarged, a ,new church built in 1959, and the
congregation numbered 1 150! The Stella Presbyterian Church and the
McDonald Memorial Church had been founded from Frere Road and Frere
Road had played a significant part in building the church in Merebank for the
Indian community.
Andre de Villiers was in great demand as a preacher, public speaker and
broadcaster in radio and television. He was invited by churches to conduct
evangelical campaigns all over the country and beyond. The demands became
so great that his congregation eventually restricted him to one campaign
annually! He invited innumerable theologians to occupy his pulpit, for
67 Obituaries
example Dr J. Edwin Orr, the Oxford revivalist scholar, and the Welsh
evangelist, the Rev. Ivor Pow ell. Andre de Villiers was invited to preach from
famous pulpits in various parts of the world. In Glasgow he was invited to
preach at St Mungo's cathedral; in Edinburgh he preached in the historic Kirk
of Greyfriars. He preached in the Rev. Dr Leslie Weatherhead's pulpit at the
City Temple in London which has been described as 'the Cathedral of
non-conformity'. Among many other preaching appointments was his invita­
tion to preach at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington,
DC, which had been the church of the minister and chaplain to the US Senate,
Dr Peter Marshall of A man called Peter fame.
One of the significant aspects of Andre de Villiers' s ministry was the part he
played in the ecumenical movement. At a time when Roman Catholics and
other denominations hardly associated with one another, he addressed the
congregation at Emmanuel Catholic Cathedral at the Requiem Mass for Father
Pat Holland. In December 1963 he was instrumental in organising a unique
'Demonstration of Christian Unity' which was held in the Durban city hall and
attended by over 3 000 people and 91 members of the clergy of all races and all
denominations. This was an extremely controversial event at the time.
However, it was such a success that it was followed in April 1964 by a second
'Service of Christian Unity'.
Andre de Villiers was awarded various bursaries and scholarships to study
abroad, for example, the Fulbright SCholarship and the Natal Education
Department Overseas Study Bursary. His visits to the USA and Britain gave
him the opportunity 'to observe and confer' and a period of study at Princeton
Theological Seminary. He was able to advance his study of ecumenism while
he was a guest of the Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the United
Presbyterian Church in the US. It was on this visit that he was invited to preach
the Baccalaureate sermon at the graduation ceremony of Ursinus College in
Pennsylvania and the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) was
conferred upon him.
His ministry extended far beyond the church. He visited the Holy Land over
20 times and al ways found an enthusiastic band of pilgrims to accompany him.
In 1970 he was appointed Principal Subject Adviser for Religious Education in
the Natal Education Department where he worked until 1982. His new parish
included all the Natal Education Department schools in the whole of the Natal
and KwaZulu region, including private schools. He did a great deal to promote
Biblical Studies as an examination subject, contributing greatly to drafting new
syllabi on the interdepartmental committee of the Joint Matriculation Board. A
textbook was not available so he hurriedly wrote one entitled, That you may
believe. It was not only read by prospective examinees. It became something of
a bestseller and went through 27 editions!
Dr de Villiers wrote a large number of books and pamphlets. I feel that I can
take a little credit for being instrumental in the writing of his last book, Endless
victory. After his retirement he held the post of Chaplain at St Charles School
for several years and he continued to preach regularly in various churches on a
Sunday, but he needed some work of his own. I suggested that he publish his
sermons. This did not appeal to him at first, but last year he decided to publish
his sermons and writings on the Easter message. He dedicated his book to
Raymond Slater who retired as Headmaster of Hilton College and had been
Andre's treasurer at the Frere Road Presbyterian Church and a life-long friend.
When Raymond Slater discovered that he had cancer and his life expectancy
would be limited, someone said to him: 'This experience will be the test of
68 Obituaries
your faith.' Raymond Slater replied: 'I hope it will be the proof of my
faith. '
On my return home from Andre de Villiers's funeral on Tuesday 21 April
1992, I found a letter from him and a copy of his newly published book,
Endless victory, in my postbox. On the flyleaf he had written: 'Now I know in
part; then shall I know fully .. .' (1 Cor. 13: 12). He had gone into hospital for
surgery for an aortic aneurysm and died on Thursday 16 April 1992, the day
before Good Friday.
Andre de Villiers married Mary Duthie on 1 July 1941. Her quiet strength of
personality provided the loving support and sometimes unobtrusive restraining
influence needed in his life and ministry. Mary created the family which he
was so proud of.
On Dr de Villiers's retirement from the Natal Education Department in
1982, the Director of Education, Mr Solly Levinsohn, wrote to him paying
tribute to his great contribution to his work in this Province .. Mr Levinsohn
wrote:
Your excellent human relations have served to draw people of very
different backgrounds together. You have been equally popular among
Protestants and Catholics, Jews and Gentiles, English and Afrikaans­
speaking communities. You have been blessed with something of the
quality exemplified by the Master, 'to draw all men unto you'.
Perhaps what Andre de Villiers taught most effectively through his life and
preaching was the Grace of God. How often over the years, have I heard his
sermons burst to a climax in the words:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
ANDRE L. LE ROUX
Dulcie May Somers Vine (1916-1991)
Adapted from an address given by Professor Deneys Schreiner at a Memorial
Service at the Congregational Church, Pietermaritzburg on 25 November
1991.
There will be those who knew Dulcie Somers Vine longer than I; there will be
those who had far greater knowledge of particular facets of her life; but I had
the privilege of working in the same institution; of learning considerably from
her and benefiting muchly from the association, both as her working colleague
and as her friend. I do not intend to separate Dulcie the 'Secretary to the
University and Registrar's Representative', which she was for 20 years, from
Dulcie the friend; for those attributes which made her the sensitive and fine
person that she was, the loyal and caring friend, the kindly encourager of those
in trouble, the generous giver of her time and love to others, were largely the
same as those attributes which determined her very real and significant
contribution to the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Natal.
69 Obituaries
Mrs D. M. Somers Vine
(Photograph: Public Relations Section. University of Natal)
People, speaking of their own experience of her, use common terminology.
They speak of her integrity; of her courtesy; of her kindness and helpfulness; of
her strong belief in discipline, both for herself, and in what she expected from
others. Perhaps, most frequently, they speak of her loyalty: to her own high
standards; to her work; to the university; and to her friends.
Dulcie Somers Vine joined the university in 1950, very shortly after the
death of her husband. It cannot have been an easy time for her, for she was now
in a new environment, and was also faced with bringing up her two young sons.
When she moved from being Accounts Clerk in the Library to a clerical post in
the Administration, in 1954, the boys were eleven and nine. It is a reflection of
the security of her personality, her serenity and her strong personal discipline,
that they remained, despite wide geographical separation, a tight-knit
family - so much so that Dulcie became, in her retirement years, a frequently
travelled grandmother, both to Benoni and to Tasmania.
A brief three years after entering the University Administration, Dulcie was
appointed 'Secretary and Registrar's Representati ve'. This despite the fact that
in 1952 she had, after careful thought, refused the offer of transfer to Durban,
when, in a major reorganisation of the University, the Principal, the Registrar,
and most of the Administration left for the younger campus. The centrality of
the position she reached so quickly is reflected by the many students on the
Pietermaritzburg campus who, despite the presence of other administrative
heads in the University, thought of her as 'The Administration', and asked the
question 'Is Mrs S-V still running the show?'
Only Dulcie would have divided the professors into 'good' professors and
'naughty' professors! The good were those who obeyed the rules; the others
were those who attempted to evade them. But even the 'naughty' ones were
70 Obituaries
forgiven if the evasions were not for their own benefit. What stirred in Dulcie a
long and lasting indignation was when she encountered duplicity, hypocrisy or
a lack of mercy. The high standards she expected from herself she expected
from others, and she was fearless in expressing her views when things were
done that she considered to be wrong.
After 1957, further promotions followed in the expanding University and
Dulcie ended her service to the University twenty years later as Principal
Administrative Officer. But the highest compliment was, perhaps, that al­
though she reached the compulsory and final age of retirement in 1976, she
was appointed for a further 3 years post superannuation. Fortunately for
Dulcie's principles, this was within the 'rules'. Unfortunately for the Univers­
ity she decided halfway through this period to retire, which she did at the end
of June 1977.
Her 27 years saw the University grow fourfold, and yet she remained the
person who knew most about it and its inhabitants - their peccadillos and
their serious offences - and she exercised a wise, yet merciful, discretion
about what needed further action or what was better not noticed.
But there was another side to Dulcie Somers Vine. She had a wonderful
property of quietly and positively enjoying life, of appreciating the beautiful
things around her, of remaining serene when troubles abounded. One of her
close friends said of her 'Everything she did, she did well'. Thus, as a
foundation member of Mrs Allison's Embroidery School, she did beautiful
embroidery all her life; she cooked well; collected stones discriminatingly; she
gardened not only with enthusiasm, but with delicate skill and perception. She
suffered from that common insanity that all orchid enthusiasts are prone to, but
she knew her plants well, and intended at one stage to become a formal judge
of them. She won prizes for her plants at orchid shows, and awards for best on
show, but she appreciated them for their beauty, as she did many of the
beautiful parts of this country. I have delightful memories of her striding
through the grass of the foothills of the Drakensberg and joining those strange
worshipping groups of kneeling orchidists who had just found some small
ground orchid almost totally hidden in the grass; of Dulcie on the top of a
mountain south of Caltizdorp, moving through the montane fynbos to enjoy
flower after flower, and enthusing not just at the floral beauty but the whole of
the surroundings.
Flowers were not only to be enjoyed outside. Dulcie's room at the University
was well known for her African violets, tended with the same intense care that
she gave to those less fortunate than herself, to whom she read when their sight
weakened, or whom she encouraged when they were depressed by undergoing
experiences which she herself had already conquered. But Dulcie's love of her
African violets was strong enough to postpone for six months a sensible
re-shuffling of administrative functions in the Administration building. This
would have involved her moving to another room, in which the sunlight and
temperature would have been unsuitable, not for herself, but for her African
violets. The proposal was met with an obstinate refusal.
She was a most gifted puppet-maker, deriving much pleasure from the act of
creating them, but far more pleasure from the delighted enjoyment of the
young people to whom she gave them.
'Not for herself' might prove a suitable title for a future biography of this
remarkable and lovable woman. We have all been the richer for knowing
her.
DENEYS SCHREINER
71 Obituaries
Geoffrey Sutherland (1941-1992)
The following obituary was written by the General Director of the Natal
Performing Arts Council.
The unexpected death in August of Geoffrey Sutherland - NAPAC's Director
of Musical Theatre and one of Natal's best known arts personalities - has left
a huge gap in the creative life of the Province and of the country, because of his
profound influence on the national musical scene.
Born in Britain 51 years ago, he trained in movement at the famous Laban
School and first came to South Africa in 1967 to lecture in movement at the
Speech and Drama Department of the University of Natal in Durban.
One of Geoffrey's first major theatrical productions in Durban was the
remarkable open-air production in Mitchell Park of the danced Nativity,
Navidad Nuestra - which, in many ways, was a perfect introduction to his
work for he had not only conceived, produced and choreographed the piece but
designed and danced in it as well. It incorporated what one gradually came to
recognise as trademarks of a Geoffrey Sutherland production: theatricality and
excitement, originality and innovation which avoided resorting to gimmickry
and the courage to use simple but theatrically-valid effects. Above all, it had an
infectious enthusiasm and energy that made it irresistible.
He later moved to Johannesburg where he formed his own dance group,
Kinetika, mounted the musical Man of la Mancha, choreographed The
Canterbury Tales and lectured in the Drama Department of the University of
the Witwatersrand.
Mr G. Sutherland
(Photograph: NAPAC)
72 Obituaries
It was at this time that he first began working with the Performing Arts
Council of the Transvaal, choreographing dance sequences for opera produc­
tion. However, his major breakthrough in the Transvaal was with the
spectacularly successful musical Joseph and his amazing technicolour dream­
coat which has remained one of the biggest hits in the South African musicals
scene and which he revived a number of times - most recently for the
Christmas season last year at The Natal Playhouse.
He later became resident producer and choreographer for PACT and created
ballets and directed a number of major productions for the organisation.
He first worked for NAPAC in 1971 when he directed a new stage adaptation
of the delightful A. A. Milne stories about Winnie-the-Pooh - and I disco­
vered that in addition to his creativity and artistic skills, Geoffrey was one of
the most meticulously well-organised persons with whom I have ever worked.
His attention to detail was astonishing, his total absorption in his current
project and the sheer professionalism which he brought to everything he did,
was a revelation.
Over the years since then, there has been a stream of highly successful
Geoffrey Sutherland productions for NAPAC; productions of a consistently
high standard. Of course, there were some productions one liked or admired
more than others - but I never felt that Geoffrey had let NAPAC (or himself)
down by a bad production, a cheap shot or a facile approach.
When NAPAC decided to create a Musicals Department in 1986, there was
no one else in South Africa that we even considered for the post. If Geoffrey
Sutherland had not been interested or available, NAPAC would probably have
dropped the idea.
It proved to be a mutually beneficial step in every way and Geoffrey
Sutherland turned NAPAC's Musicals Theatre Department into one of the
most innovative and exciting arts departments in all of the Performing Arts
Councils.
Perhaps the Trilogy season and Queen productions set the final seal on his
vision about what musical theatre could, and should, be: and everyone who saw
those productions realised we were taking part in the making of South African
theatrical history.
All who have regularly attended theatre in Natal will have memories of 'a
Geoffrey Sutherland production'; shows which enriched our experience at the
time and so live on in our memory. As they range across such a wide variety of
styles, genres, moods, they also give some indication of the enormous
versatility of the man. I must include memories of ...
the huge, white-winged angels in Navidad Nuestra, as they swooped
across the grass in Mitchell Park on a summer night more than 25 years
ago;
Geoffrey as 'Quasimodo', clinging to the giant, clanging bell as the
curtain fell slowly on his Hunchback of Notre Dame, the closing
performance by the NAPAC Ballet Company at the old Alhambra;
the simplicity and sincerity of the revue Pia/, which opened The Cellar;
the fun and exuberance of the hard-hat Pirates of Penzance, the first
production in the Opera of the Natal Playhouse;
73 Obituaries
the enormous impact of the combined forces of the NPO, singers, dancers
and Geoffrey's concept in a starkly dramatic Carmina Burana or later in
his Peer Gynt - both at the old Alhambra;
the wonderfully-atmospheric Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, which
was exceptional by any standards - but even more remarkable as part of
the Trilogy which Geoffrey conceived, put together and made;
the delightful Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat - in all
its manifestations and revivals, productions and re-productions - which
always had a light-hearted and gentle charm that made me feel
good ...
the sparkling vitality of Ain 't Misbehaving; the charm of the under-rated
Romance, Romance; the beautifully-staged production numbers in shows
like Fair Lady, Camelot, Seven Brides, Hello Dolly, Singin' in the Rain,
Queen;
and so many many more ...
Geoffrey Sutherland's creativity, integrity and sense of style made his
productions unique. Perhaps his greatest genius lay in his ability to conceptual­
ise a piece of music or a whole show that was fresh, alive and inevitable.
His death is a major loss to the South African theatre as a whole, and
especially to the people of Natal where he worked.
ROBERT N. CROSS
Fred Clarke (1925-1992)
(A eulogy delivered at his funeral by Trevor Warman)
It is fitting that we should gather in this beautiful church on Broadway to pay
tribute to our much lived and admired Fred. This central part of Durban North
was his village, and he was a vital part of the community for more than 42
years - ever since, as an enthusiastic 25-year-old, he opened his first shop,
the Kensington Pharmacy, on Broadway. In those days there were only eight
shops here, very few houses below Kensington Drive, and no Glenashley, La
Lucia or Glen Hills. He was a man not only of all seasons, but of Durban North.
Two years after opening in Broadway, he started Ellis Park Pharmacy in an
area opened up by the same developers of Durban North.
With his abiding interest in people and medicine, it was almost inevitable
that Fred would take up medicine as a career. At the age of 31 he moved with
his family to Cape Town and enrolled at university, but spent every holiday
back in Durban running the two pharmacies.
During his pharmacy career Fred built up a reputation for having genuine
concern for, and love of, people. The residents of Durban North who supported
him did so because of his enthusiasm, his charisma and his unfailing and
wonderful sense of humour. He was known for his own Crucible products, and
74 Obituaries
Or F. C. Clarke
(Photograph: Mrs Shirley Clarke!
a cough mixture which he dispensed proved so popular that it was top of the
market for generations.
In 1948 Fred had to cope with the devastating shock of having his left leg
amputated because of radium burns following a wartime injury. That episode
of his life is a tale of great heroism and courage. It also gave him, in later years,
a deep understanding of the pains and tribulations of his patients. Within hours
of the leg being amputated he was sitting up in bed entertaining no fewer than
nine friends. And never at any time thereafter did he feel bitter or complain
about the crippling and painful loss of his leg. When one considers that he was
a hurdler of note during his schooldays at the Durban High School, setting a
record which stood for many years, one can really appreciate his fortitude.
Someone once dared him to hitch-hike from Cape Town to Durban, wooden leg
and all. He was dropped on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg and hobbled 20
miles before getting another lift!
Many stories were told of his artificial leg. When Fred was inducted into the
Provincial Council, Peter McKenzie was delegated to march with him to be
presented and sworn in. A mistake was made, however, and instead of Peter
and Fred marching up the aisle good leg to good leg, they marched up bad side
to bad side - thus swerving outwards on one step and bumping each other on
the next. In an aside, the Leader of the Opposition was heard to say 'At least
you have one good pair of legs between you'!
Fred's career at the University of Cape Town was one triumph after another.
75 Obituaries
In 1961 he graduated amongst the top ten students, was first in anaesthetics,
and was awarded the gold medal. He then served as a houseman at Addington
before opening his successful practice in Durban North. His patients wor­
shipped him, and all the children simply loved him. There are many grateful
parents today saying 'he saved my daughter's life', 'he cured my son', 'he gave
my child such good advice'.
Yet Fred might very well have been lost to the people of Durban North. He
considered two assistant specialist posts, offered to outstanding men in their
fields, but ultimately turned both down. Why? Because he was a marvellous
family doctor, one of the few to continue home visits, and because he wished to
dedicate himself to general medical practice.
Fred always had a hankering to speak, which he did very well, and to
represent people in presenting their views. He was a member of the Durban
North Ratepayers' Association and was asked many times to stand for
Parliament. He decided, however, to serve his country at provincial level. In
1977 and 1981 he won the seats of Umhlanga and Durban North respectively.
He was then appointed Member of the Executive Committee, holding the
portfolios of Health, Hospitals, Museums and Libraries. Great was the joy
among provincial medical staff and hospitals at Fred's appointment. He was
the first doctor in over thirty years to hold the post. Fred was one of the last
elected MECs of Natal, serving for five years before the Provincial Council
system was abolished. He was a fearsome and knowledgeable debater, never
ever varying from his rigid standards of behaviour. He was one of the co­
founders of the Natal-KwaZulu Indaba and served on its steering committee.
He was also active in pharmaceutical and medical politics, and achieved the
unique honour, at different times, of being President of the Natal branches of
both the Pharmaceutical Society and the Medical Association. One of the
proudest moments of Fred's life was when he was made an Honorary Fellow of
the Pharmaceutical Society for outstanding services to medicine and the
community whilst a practising doctor.
He was also responsible for establishing the Natal Ambulance Service, and
served as its first chairman. At the time of the accident which ultimately led to
his death he was president of the St John's Ambulance Association, a member
of the Natal Sharks Board, of the Coronary Care Unit and of the Adoption
Committee. His many interests included freemasonry, which he served with
faithful dedication for most of his life. He was Sovereign Grand Inspector­
General of Scottish Masonry in Natal.
As a result of the acute pain Fred so frequently and uncomplainingly
suffered, he supported the Addington Pain Clinic. Because the clinic always
needed financial support, Fred focused interest on it and encouraged contribu­
tions for its survival. He did not wish to have memorials, but the Prince
Mshiyeni Hospital, Umlazi stands as a record of his support and encourage­
ment. I know that he always regretted that the training hospital planned for
Cato Manor had been scrapped.
Fred had many hobbies. He became interested in military uniforms and
memorabilia and his collections are now housed in the Natal Provincial
Museum Services in Pietermaritzburg. Shirley, his wife, collected apothecary
articles over a long period, and these are now in the Talana Museum.
The love of his family was a strong part of Fred's life, particularly his
grandchildren. None of the family will ever forget the fairy garden that Fred
built. One opened the tiny door of the mushroom house, and there were the two
little gnomes. 'Peepa' will be sadly missed by all his grandchildren.
76 Obituaries
I do not need to speak here of the circumstances of Fred' s passing. We salute
the family for the fortitude with which they have borne the last years in which
he lay in a coma. It was a landmark decision of the Natal Supreme Court which
at length authorised the discontinuance of support systems for an existence
which had long ceased to enjoy any of the qualities of human life. This will
become an important legal precedent. As one who had signed a 'living will',
Fred Clarke would undoubtedly have approved of the outcome.
TREVOR W ARMAN
Reginald Bhekumuzi Hadebe (1957-1992)
(Editorial reprinted from the Natal Witness, 28 October 1992.)
Another prominent political figure has been assassinated in the mindless war in
the Natal midlands. The brutal murder of ANC leader Reggie Hadebe cannot
be justified. It is part of the madness with which we have lived now for far too
long.
Ultimately, political affiliation is unimportant; another life has been lost. A
young man has died in the long litany of violence which threatens to
dehumanise all of us. The savage irony is that Hadebe was returning from a
peace meeting in the Ixopo district when the fatal attack took place. He was on
his way to a meeting which was to consider ANC participation in the
Pietermaritzburg forum, launched to design a city for the new South Africa.
His death will undoubtedly bedevil this process to the detriment of all in this
city.
It will remain forever as a tragedy of the old South Africa. Violence in Natal
is again threatening to boil out of control. Scores of people are being
slaughtered on the South Coast. The death of Hadebe can only raise tensions in
the midlands. Many of the youthful supporters of the ANC will undoubtedly
want revenge. They will develop their own perceptions of who their targets
should be. The danger of the spiral into open warfare cannot be overesti­
mated.
Those guilty of this assassination must be apprehended and punished to the
full letter of the law. More and more the seed is taking root that political crimes
can be committed with impunity. This has to be stopped. The forces of law and
order must, at all costs, stop the senseless murder of Hadebe deteriorating into
the wild orgies of killing to which we have become so accustomed.
Notes and Queries
Restoration of Fort Napier
Graham Dominy, Editor of Natalia, has provided this note on a praiseworthy
project.
The Natal Provincial Administration deserves congratulation for the
careful and sensitive repairs and restoration work undertaken at Fort
Napier (now part of the Midlands Mental Hospital), making a virtue of
necessity. In other words, it has been cheaper to restore old buildings for
hospital use than to build new ones. The Provincial Works Directorate
has spent considerable effort on the restoration of historic military
buildings for hospital purposes. 'A Ward', which is arguably the oldest
building extant in Pietermaritzburg, having been built as the core of the
fort between 1843 and 1845, has been reroofed and the original artillery
bastion below the water tower has been repaired. The finest work has
been done on the corrugated iron 'Cavalry Officers' Mess' which was
erected at Fort N apier in the 1890s. This building, thanks to the careful
planning and control of NPA architect, Nigel Robson, and National
Monuments Council representative, Andrew Hall, has been restored to its
former glory.
Fort Napier, 'the Cavalry Officers' Mess' in the late 1890s shortly after completion.
(Photograph: Natal Museum)
77
78 Notes and Queries
Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift
After many years of controversy and allegations of neglect, the Natal
Provincial Administration and the KwaZulu authorities are rightly proud of
their new museums and interpretation centres on the historic battlefields of
Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift. These projects have also been planned as part of
rural upliftment exercises and side by side with the new museums go new
schools and community projects.
Barry Marshall, the director of the KwaZulu Monuments Council, describes
the opening of the Isandlwana Interpretation centre by King Goodwill
Zwelithini on 18 January 1992 as a great success that evoked a fantastic
response from people all over KwaZulu. Representatives of the Royal Reg­
iment of Wales (successor to the 24th Regiment), the Natal regiments and the
Zulu amabutho all participated in the ceremonies.
Two days later the Rorke's Drift Provincial Museum was officially opened
by the Administrator of Natal, Mr Con Botha. Dr John Vincent, the head of the
Natal Provincial Museum Service provides the following note.
It may be considered an exaggeration to say that 'after 113 years Rorke's
Drift-Shiyane has a museum'! However, one could say 'at last' with
some justification.
At a ceremony on 20 January 1992, the Administrator of Natal,
Mr C.J. Botha, officially opened the Rorke's Drift-Shiyane Provincial
Museum, and dedicated it to the brave men who fought and died in the
battle on the night of 22 January 1879.
To some the term 'museum' may be a misnomer, for it does not contain
much contemporary material that can be attributed to or associated with
the event. Perhaps 'interpretative centre' better describes what is now
there. It is housed in two separate buildings.
Exhibitions in the first explain the background to Rorke's Drift­
Shiyane - its prehistory, James Rorke, the missionaries, etc. and des­
cribes the build-up to the Anglo-Zulu War. A large relief model vividly
illustrates the surrounding country and the British and Zulu movements
during the days preceding the battle.
The second building houses a series of displays dealing with the
Rorke's Drift-Shiyane battle - preparations, the battle for the hospital
and later events, culminating in some of the aftermath of the war. Most of
the figures are life size, whilst another relief model represents the night
of the battle, with more than 2 000 figures 22 cm high, each hand-painted
and some recognizable, giving a sense of reality and drama. Other
innovations are illuminated maps, a recorded commentary and sound
effects.
It was not easy to do full justice to the events that took place, but
certainly the museum is a vast improvement on what was previously
there. The comments of visitors - most complimentary and some
constructively critical - have been encouraging and gratifying. Most
satisfying though has been the feeling -that 'at last' the valour of
combatants on both sides has been recognised.
As part of its drive to raise funds to provide the museum and educational
projects related to it, the KwaZulu Heritage Foundation commissioned Natal
sculptor Gert Swart to produce a bronze maquette, of which a limited edition of
twenty castings has been offered for sale. The work depicts Zulu and British
79 Notes and Queries
soldiers locked in confused close combat, a Victoria Cross, the horns of the
Zulu battle formation, and King Cetshwayo seated above all. The first copies
of the maquette were presented to the reigning Zulu monarch, King Goodwill
Zwelithini, and to the Prince of Wales in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief
of the Royal Regiment of Wales.
Gert Swart also presented a copy of the work to the Natal College of
Education, which in turn made it over to the University of Natal to serve as a
floating trophy to encourage the work of first-year students of history on the
Pietermaritzburg campus. The late Vice-Principal saw the work and was
pleased to approve of this project, and the award was, with his blessing, named
the Colin Webb Trophy.
Collecting 'The struggle against apartheid in Natal'
Museums are playing an ever more important role in the affairs of the
community. Graham Dominy has provided a note on an important initiative by
the Natal Museum.
In an Africa-wide competition, the Natal Museum has been awarded a
grant of US $11 000 by the New York-based Social Sciences Research
Council and the American Council of Learned Societies, to undertake a
scientific collecting programme of artefacts and reminiscences of the
long, fraught years of the 1980s and earlier struggles against apartheid.
The Natal Museum has made a collection of relics and signage of the
apartheid system and, with the American funds, it has embarked on
collecting 'the other side of the story'. Political ephemera such as
posters, banners and T-shirts are being collected together with oral
testimony and photographs. The symbols and stories of a wide cross­
section of communities and organisations are being sought. A valuable
collection of photographs from a peace monitoring group in the Natal
Midlands has been donated to the Natal Museum as part of the project
and is being processed. An exhibition is planned for 1993.
Hermannsburg Mission House Museum
Also on the subject of museums, Gilbert Torlage writes of an aspect of the
recent interest in German settler affairs.
On 19 September 1854 a small party of German Lutheran missionaries
and colonists arrived at the farm Perseverance near Grey town. Their
intention was to settle and to convert the Zulu people to Christianity.
They quickly constructed a small building where they ate, cooked, and
housed a smithy. Within weeks, however, sparks from the smithy set the
thatch roof alight. Fortunately the timber of the beams was still wet and
did not burn. One year and one week after their arrival, the missionaries
moved into the substantial home that they had completed. Out of these
buildings grew the village of Hermannsburg, centre of one of the German
communities of Natal.
The first building and part of the large home have now been turned into
a museum in which items from the mission and the wider German
community are displayed. The displays have recently been redesigned
and renovated by the Natal Provincial Museum Service.
80 Notes and Queries
Fittingly, the refurbished museum and displays were officially opened
on 19 September 1992 - exactly 138 years since the first arrival of the
Germans. The visitor to the museum encounters an early missionary, his
wife (predictably working away in the kitchen) and his son, as well as a
stonemason engaged in building a church, and finds a number of other
insights into the South African German settler community's history and
culture.
The museum is open from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and noon,
or visits can be made by appointment with the curator by telephoning
03345-405.
Grahamstown Cathedral bells restoration - Natal contributes
Dr Dai Herbert notes an unusual venture in which, in a reversal of historical
roles, Natal has provided help to the Eastern Cape.
This year, 1992, marks the 150th anniversary of Dick King's famous ride
from Durban to Grahamstown to summon help for the beleaguered forces
in Natal. Perhaps coincidentally, but nevertheless quite appropriately, in
this same year the business community in the Durban area has been of
assistance to the city of Grahamstown in a somewhat unusual way.
This involved the project to restore the bells of Grahamstown
Cathedral launched by the South African Guild of Church Bell Ringers in
conjunction with the Grahamstown Guild of Church Bell Ringers. For
many years the Grahamstown Cathedral bells, and particularly the frame
which supports them, have been in a poor state of repair. Ringing of all
eight bells in full-circle ringing has been virtually impossible because of
the excessive movement of the bell frame within the tower. In 1991
members of the above-mentioned guilds decided that, in order for the
cathedral's bells to continue to call the faithful to worship, they needed to
be rehung in a new frame.
An appeal for aid was therefore launched. Because of the current
economic recession it was thought that cash donations would be hard to
get, so donations in kind were solicited. It is in this respect that industry
in Natal has made a major contribution. The ball started to roll when Eric
Webster of the Durban Guild of Church Bell Ringers contacted Frikkie
Koch of Cut and Supply Steel Centre in Pinetown. In a very generous
gesture this firm has supplied all the necessary steel and constructed the
frame in accordance with the design specifications of Eayre and Smith
Ltd, an overseas bell hanging specialist. After this, the steel was
sandblasted by R.J. Southey (Natal) (Pty) Ltd, Durban, and was then
galvanised by Voigt and Will eke (Pty) Ltd, Umbogintwini. Transport of
the frame to and from these various companies in the Durban-Pinetown
area was undertaken by Turner's Transport of New Germany, and
Grindrod Transport of Mobeni, leading eventually to its arrival in Durban
docks. From there the frame was shipped on board the M.V. Barrier of
Unicorn Lines (Pty) Ltd to Port Elizabeth 'by favour of the Captain' (i.e.
free of charge). Portnet kindly waived harbour fees at both ports.
Transport for the final leg of the journey, from the dockside at Port
Elizabeth to Grahamstown, was provided by Eskom. The new frame,
much to the delight of all concerned, was unloaded at the cathedral on
February 14, 1992.
81 Notes and Queries
This was an enormous boost to the restoration effort - the new frame
was now sitting in the cathedral and had cost the appeal no more than a
few phone calls. The old frame has since been removed and the new one
installed under the supervision of a bell hanger from Eayre & Smith. New
bearings and fittings still need to be attached to the bells. To this end
much work remains to be done and a good deal of money needs to be
raised. In connection with this the Durban Guild of Church Bell Ringers
has provided funds for the printing of appeal leaflets aimed at generating
funds to see the restoration through to completion.
This project is undoubtedly an historic initiative that will help to
perpetuate an interesting aspect of South Africa's cultural heritage. Since
the estimated cost of the new frame, installed in the cathedral, was of the
order of RlOO 000, the contribution of companies in and around the
Durban area has been a major one.
Pietermaritzburg Bird Sanctuary - some historical notes
The note that follows has been adapted from a submission made by
Mr D.P. Taylor, Primula Rd, Pietermaritzburg on behalf of the Centre for the
Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Durban, to the Environmental Committee of the
Pietermaritzburg City Council.
The foundation for a bird sanctuary was laid, albeit unconsciously, by the
[Coronation] Brick and Tile Company, ancestor of Corobrik. In the
process of excavating raw materials, for amongst other things, the
imposing Pietermaritzburg City Hall, they created a large pit. This, by
1935, had outlived its usefulness and had become simply another relic of
the march of progress.
The mayor of the city at that time, Mr Albert Allison, was impressed
by the number of birds that subsequently came to roost in the skeletons of
wattles, syringas and blue gums which had grown and then drowned in the
rain water running off into the clay pit. Inspired by this, he persuaded the
City Council to buy the land, including the pit from the Brick and Tile
Company and to declare the area a bird sanctuary. This was done on
14 January 1936.
A stream was diverted from the Dorpspruit to fill the pit and created a
lake of some five acres in extent. Large numbers of egrets and herons
came to roost and breed in the summer months with a few hardy
individuals staying over winter. By 1940 the bird population was
estimated to be 25 000 during the summer. In September 1948 the
sanctuary was officially named the Albert Allison Park.
Not only were birds naturally attracted to the sanctuary, but a
conscious policy of introduction was pursued, ranging from mallard duck
and Egyptian geese sent by a Dannhauser farmer and two pairs of mute
swans from the king's swannery on the River Thames, England. The
latter came, with royal permission, through the agency of Miss Doris
Mellor, headmistress of Wykeham School, whose uncle was the 'Keeper
of Swans'. The area also featured a pair of black swans from Australia,
peacocks, tortoises and English fallow deer. By 1941, over sixty bird
species were to be found in the sanctuary.
Trees and shrubs were planted throughout this time, many of them
82 Notes and Queries
donated by Albert Allison himself, who also planted an acorn from
Windsor Great Park, England, on the day of King George VI's corona­
tion. The oak that grew from this still stands in the sanctuary today. Other
persons of note were also asked to plant trees and their contributions are
likewise still to be seen, including yellowwoods planted by Field Marshal
and Mrs Smuts in 1939 and the King and Queen of England during the
royal visit of 1947, a sneeze wood by Col F.e. Stallard and a cherry tree
by J. H. Hofmeyer.
A cloud fell over the future of the sanctuary in 1955, when the
proposed route of the new national road, approved by the City Council
in 1948, was made public. The route cut through the south-eastern
portion of the sanctuary, involving the uprooting of the nest-site trees on
that side and the reduction of the lake area by 30%. Construction
eventually began in 1963 and the bird population seems to have been
severely reduced.
In 1969, in a move of questionable wisdom, the Natal Parks Board
killed all the fish in the lake (which had previously been introduced
to control water insects) and re-stocked the water with game fish for
sport anglers. By 1975 the area had become substantially degraded ­
photographs in the Natal Witness for that year show dead egrets,
entangled in fishing line, hanging from the trees. The area had become
the haunt of tramps, drunkards and stray animals including cats, and
undoubtedly the birdlife was adversely affected.
Little has changed in recent years and bird numbers appear to be
decreasing annually. The area is far from the sanctuary that it used to be
and is little used as a recreational facility by the residents of the city.
Moves are afoot within municipal circles to reassess the viability of the
sanctuary from an environmental viewpoint and in the light of changing
social behaviour and needs.
Ready Aye Ready
John Deane notes a significant anniversary in Natal's educational history.
Merchiston Preparatory School boys wearing their light and dark blue
colours, and their badge with lion rampant and motto 'Ready Aye
Ready', are part of the Pietermaritzburg scene, and the school celebrated
its centenary in 1992. Its founders were the Misses Elizabeth Allan and
Agnes Rowe. The former was from Scotland, and her friendship with
Dr John Rogerson, Headmaster of Merchiston Castle School in
Edinburgh, resulted in her obtaining permission to name their estab­
lishment Merchiston House School. There has been regular contact
between the two schools over the years. The centenary celebrations in
1992 included a procession of pupils through the streets of Pietermaritz­
burg, from the present school buildings to the former school in Burger
Street, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled. In 1953 Natal
historian Professor A. F. Hattersley recorded the first sixty years of
Merchiston's history in a small volume, long since out of print.
Hattersley's work was reprinted as the first part of an attractively
illustrated centenary history published this year, which now gives the
whole story to date, in one volume.
Notes and Queries 83
Providence Terrace and the Pietermaritz/Chapel Street sluits
Ever alert to the depredations of 'progress' in the townscape, Shelagh Spencer
has offered a note on a piece of restoration that has interesting criminal and
geographical aspects to it.
After watching with trepidation the deterioration over the years of the
double-storeyed block of shops on the Chapel StreetJPietermaritz Street
corner, it is pleasing to see that it has been restored, maybe not quite as it
was originally, but certainly in keeping with its period.
This building, Providence Terrace, as it was called, was erected when
the lot belonged to George Franklin (1808-1897). George, a builder and
[-=­
-------- - .
CEORCE KINC. ", STEPHEN KINC
0..
15 ::' 'ET:'RMARlfL STREET 16 C f" 'JRC H ST REET
PIETERMARITZBURC
I
!
:r
...... ... "f;. ..... •. .:; ... .

<.l
El ---' __
I "+: ..':" I
Providence Terrace
(From a plan in the Natal Archives Depot)
84 Notes and Queries
tinsmith from Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales, emigrated to Natal on
the Nile in 1850. Initially Franklin and his family lived on the land
allotted them in the Lidgetton area as settlers emigrating under the
auspices of R.M. Hackett and John Lidgett. By September 1857,
however, the Franklins were in Pietermaritzburg, where Franklin was
making a living as a 'tinplate worker'. He bought the land on the corner
of Chapel and Pietermaritz Streets (viz. Lot L of Erf 16 Church Street) in
January 1858. It has not been possible to establish when Providence
Terrace was built, but it was a reality by the time Franklin became
insolvent in Nov. 1865, because four houses and a workshop in Chapel
Street were listed among his assets. One of the accounts submitted by
creditors in his insolvent estate was for 'glazing, etc. at Mr Franklin's
New Buildings'. When the block was advertised for sale by auction as
part of his insolvent estate in the Times of Natal, 1 September 1866, it
was described thus: 'the very neat row of two-storeyed cottages named
Providence Terrace ... situated at the corner of Chapel Street and
Pietermaritz Street, including the old established store'.
The accompanying plan of Providence Terrace is part of a larger plan
dated October 1871 of the corner of Pietermaritz and Chapel Streets. The
original was prepared by the firm of surveyors, Holgate & Spence, and
submitted as evidence in a Supreme Court rape case (SC 1/1/20 in the
Natal Archives). The dotted line shows the route taken by the accused,
William Jones, and the victim, from the house diagonally opposite
Providence Terrace to a dwelling behind it. The original is coloured, and
an interesting feature is that the position of the sluits is shown, as well as
the direction of the flow (by means of arrows). The Chapel Street sluit
between Church and Pietermaritz Streets was positioned on the opposite
side from Providence Terrace (not shown on this diagram), while the
Pietermaritz StreetlBerg Street block of Chapel Street was watered on
both sides. The Pietermaritz Street sluit ran along the north side of the
street, and apparently under Chapel Street. On the original plan the
arrows indicate that in the Chapel StreetiWest Street block the water
flowed towards West Street, while in the Chapel Street/Commercial
Road block it gravitated down Pietermaritz Street to Commercial Road.
Fit for a king
The state of King's House in Durban has been a cause of concern in recent
years. John Deane notes a marked change for the better.
King's House, on a Berea hilltop in Durban, has been renovated and
refurbished after a period of neglect and uncertainty about its future. It
was built in 1903 on land given by the Durban Town Council 'in full and
free property to the Colonial Secretary of Natal, his successors in office
or assigns, to be used only for the purpose of a Marine Residence for the
Governors of the Colony, in perpetuity.' After Union the Governor­
General and later the State President of the Republic became 'successors
in title', and the list of those who have stayed in the house includes
visiting royalty, governors, governors-general and prime ministers. The
building apparently became known as 'King's House' only after the visit
of King George VI and his family to South Africa in 1947. While in
Durban the royal party (including the 21-year-old Princess Elizabeth,
85 Notes and Queries
now Queen Elizabeth 11) temporarily exchanged the staterooms of HMS
Vanguard for the stately home on the Berea.
Originally the house was not fully furnished, extra furniture being
hired when there were dignitaries in residence, but in 1934 stinkwood
pieces from Westbrooke in Cape Town were brought in and new items
were purchased. During the Second World War the house was used as a
hospital and convalescent centre, and during this time some furniture was
moved to official residences in Pietermaritzburg, Bloemfontein and
Pretoria, but was brought back to Durban after the war when the house
was once more in periodic use by the Governor-General.
As time passed, the prevalent republicanism in government circles led
to a neglect of many things with strong colonial or royal associations.
King's House fell into disuse and disrepair, and some of the furniture was
again removed. The people of Durban and Natal became aware of what
was happening, and a 'Save King's House' campaign led to a petition
containing 10 000 signatures. The state was prompted to acknowledge its
responsibility, and in August 1988 the Minister of Public Works issued a
statement that must have caused some wry smiles in Durban: 'The
cultural-historical heritage of the colonial period is near to the heart of
the Government. The legacies of the colonial past rightfully belong to all
of us and it is of particular concern to the Government that they should be
preserved - in the case of King's House, not only for Durban, but also
for Natal and the Country. King's House is the responsibility of the
Government and it has every intention of meeting that obligation. But it
is more than an obligation; it is a commitment, a commitment to restore it
to its pristine glory and to let it play its intended part in Durban's social
and cultural calendar.' These fine words were indeed backed up by the
return of the furniture that had been dispersed, and a two-and-a-half
million rand restoration and renovation of the house.
And so King's House is once more in its 'pristine glory'. The restoring
architects must be complimented on having undone some of the unfor­
tunate alterations which over the years had compromised the integrity of
the original design. The internal appointments are more than pristine,
with temperature control and plumbing far beyond anything available in
Victorian and Edwardian times. The house is under the control of the
State President's Office, but it is also at the disposal of the Administrator
of Natal for occasions when the use of such a venue is appropriate.
Compiled by MORAY COMRIE
NAT22_F
Book Reviews and Notices
KINGDOM IN CRISIS: THE ZULU RESPONSE TO THE BRITISH
INVASION OF 1879
by JOHN LABAND
Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press, 1992, viii + 272 pp. illus. maps,
R93,50 (hard cover).
ISANDLWANA
by JOHN LAB AND and JEFF MA THEWS
Pietermaritzburg, Centaur Publications in association with the KwaZulu
Monuments Council, 1992, 6 + 98 pp. illus. maps, R19,75 (soft cover).
The most cursory examination of any historical bibliography or index,
including the index to the first twenty volumes of Natalia, will reveal the
enormous and una bating concentration of scholarly and popular historical
energy on the Anglo-Zulu War. One of the most prolific and influential writers
on the subject is Professor John Laband and the publication of his doctoral
thesis under the title, Kingdom in crisis, is most welcome.
In his introduction, John Laband accuses many historians, including some
recent writers, of underplaying the Zulu perspective on the war, while
repeating the story from the imperial, the British military and the Natal
colonial perspectives (p.l). Ironically, Professor Shula Marks levels the same
criticism at Professors Laband and Thompson: In her review of Andrew
Duminy and Bill Guest's Natal and Zululand from earliest times to 1910: a
new history (Pietermaritzburg, 1989), she claims that they are 'far better on the
motives and calculations of imperial actors than they are on those of the Zulu'
(Journal of Natal and Zulu History, Vol XIII, 1990-91, p.1l3). Shula Marks
would be unable to make the same point about Kingdom in crisis.
John Laband has applied the techniques of the 'war and society' school of
history to the study of the war from the Zulu perspective and produced
fascinating new slants on what is a well known series of historical events.
Laband's research is thorough, well presented and deeply nuanced. Kingdom in
crisis is written in an easy, flowing style which will keep the attention of
critical and lay readers alike.
Laband has reinterpreted many individual aspects of the battles of the
campaign in his other works, so many sections of this work have a familiar ring
to them. Kingdom in crisis is, however, an important and original contribution
to our knowledge of the period and the war because its primary focus is on the
functioning and disintegration of the Zulu polity under the stress of the war.
This is a unifying theme that keeps the reader's attention despite the familiar
sections on individual battles. Today we are subjected to a barrage of
86
87 Book Reviews and Notices
ill-informed propaganda in certain sections of the national and international
media which seeks to portray the Zulu people as a united force in the South
African body politic. Laband's painstaking research reveals that even during
the heyday of the Zulu Kingdom, the unity of the state was fragile, the Zulu
people were divided and many of their leaders abandoned the 'national' and
royal cause and turned to the British in defence of their economic, regional and
lineage-based interests as soon as it was practical or expedient for them to do
so. The richly textured analysis of the disintegration of the Zulu state is
probably the most substantial contribution to Anglo-Zulu War scholarship in
this book.
Laband's explanations of the traditional and spiritual reasons for so-called
Zulu 'atrocities', such as the disembowelling of the British dead are also of
great interest. He also supplies a formidable array of evidence demonstrating
that the British were equally guilty of atrocities in the aftermath of battle. The
British undoubtedly killed scores, if not hundreds, of Zulu wounded after
Rorke's Drift (Only three wounded were taken prisoner and 'ostentatiously'
cared for by the British medical personnel - see pp. 107-8). Further slaughter
of fleeing and wounded Zulu occurred after the battles of Khambula and
Ulundi.
Kingdom in crisis is in fact a joint publication of the University of Natal
Press and the Manchester University Press. The international edition is
published in the 'War, Armed Forces and Society Series' under the general
editors hip of Dr Ian Beckett. Strangely enough, this is not acknow ledged in the
South African edition. It is clear, however, that the printing of the book in the
United Kingdom may have made the work more expensive for South Africans:
R93,50 is a high price to pay for what is really a small book, even if it is nearly
three hundred pages in length. Technically the work is well produced and the
maps are as accurate as those we have become accustomed to from the
University of Natal's Cartography Unit. Unfortunately, the maps have been
reproduced in dull tones and they are not as striking as those in Laband's other
works.
Dull maps are not a failing in the other Laband work under review.
Isandlwana, the fourth work in the KwaZulu Monuments Council's series on
Zulu history, is co-authored by John Laband and Jeff Mathews. It is a short,
simply written, synthesis of the latest research on the Isandlwana campaign
which is aimed at visitors to the battlefield, lay readers and school groups. It
includes a section of exercises for school children and its layout is suited to the
attention span of young readers and the 'guide book' needs of battlefield
visitors. There are lavish illustrations and plenty of colourfully outlined
'boxes' containing information on familiar questions and myths, such as the
'ammunition box' controversy, the disembowelling of the British dead by the
Zulu, and which provide statistical data that could otherwise burden the
narrative.
The maps in Isandlwana are most striking and the product of the latest
computer-enhanced imagery. It is the first time in South Africa that this
technique has been applied to the making of historical maps. Congratulations
are due to Helena Margeot for her pioneering breakthrough. Another 'first' for
this book, as far as the KwaZulu Monuments Council is concerned, is that it
appears in both English and Zulu editions.
GRAHAM DOMINY
88 Book Reviews and Notices
THROUGH THE ZULU COUNTRY: ITS BATTLEFIELDS AND PEOPLE
by BERTRAM MITFORD with an Introduction by IAN KNIGHT
London, Greenhill Books, 1992, xxvi and 257 pp. illus. RI 00,00.
'BY ORDERS OF THE GREAT WHITE QUEEN': CAMPAIGNING IN
ZULULAND THROUGH THE EYES OF BRITISH SOLDIERS, 1879
by IAN KNIGHT
London, Greenhill Books, 1992, 272 pp. illus. maps, RI 00,00.
THE ROAD TO ISANDHLWANA: COLONEL ANTHONY DURNFORD IN
NAT AL AND ZULULAND 1873-1879
by R. W.F. DROOGLEEVER
London, Greenhill Books, 1992, 272 pp. illus. maps, RI00,00.
These three volumes are the latest in Greenhill Books's African Colonial Wars
series, which combines reprints of classic contemporary accounts (usually
without a modern introduction), and more recent compilations and interpretat­
ive works by historians.
Bertram Mitford's Through the Zulu country, which describes his visit in
1882 to the sites of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, combines evocative
descriptive writing with invaluable interviews with many Zulu who had fought
in the war. It is thus both an important source for historians of the period, as
well an inspiration for the modern traveller setting out for historic Zululand.
First published in 1883, it was last reprinted in 1975 in a limited edition by
Griggs of Durban. This handsome new edition is enhanced by nineteen
photographs and an introduction by lan Knight, a well-known historian of the
Anglo-Zulu War who, since he has first-hand acquaintance with the locations
Mitford visited and described, expertly sets the context and the scene.
'By orders of the great white queen' is lan Knight's latest full-scale work,
following up his well received Brave men's blood: the epic of the Zulu war,
1879, London, Greenhill Books, 1990. As a compilation of eye-witness
accounts and reminiscences of the Anglo-Zulu War by a dozen officers, a
soldier in the ranks and a war correspondent, linked together by Knight's
narrative and commentary, it necessarily bears comparison with the late Frank
Emery's The red soldier: lettersfram the Zulu war, 1879, London, Hodder and
Stoughton, 1977.
Emery's celebrated work has the advantage of being the first of the genre,
and of presenting a wider range of voices, speaking with more immediacey
through their letters than through the memoirs on which Knight mainly draws.
Nevertheless, there is a decided point in Knight's making these reminiscences
(usually long out of print) available to a modern audience. The problem is that,
although biographical notes are provided, bibliographical details are not set out
in the same systematic manner at the end of the book as in Emery's, making it
difficult for the reader to track down the sources. In comparison, sources were
made much clearer in The red soldier, where the layout also differentiated the
quoted passages from the commentary much more effectively.
The illustrations in Knight's book deserve comment. Drawn mainly from the
Penny Illustrated and similar popular papers, they present an unabashedly
vulgar vision of the war, unfamiliar to those used to the more genteel
engravings in the Illustrated London News and Graphic.
Shortly after the battle of lsandlwana, Sir Theophilus Shepstone wrote to his
son Offy, characterizing Colonel Anthony Durnford as 'plucky as a lion but as
89 Book Reviews and Notices
imprudent as a child'. This might well stand as his epitaph. Durnford's brother
Edward, and his devoted admirer, Frances Colenso, tried their best for many
years to reverse this view and, in particular, to exonerate him from blame for
the Isandlwana disaster. R. W. F. Droogleever, in his biography of this contro­
versial figure, whose career in Natal and Zululand was scarred not only by
Isandlwana in 1879, but by the B ushman' s River Pass debacle in 1873, seeks to
create a creditable portrait. In many ways he succeeds, and Durnford gathers
substance under his treatment as a real personality. His humanitarian as well as
his military concerns are given their due place, and help explain the abiding
friendship ofthe Colenso family.
However, this book suffers from a serious shortcoming. It derives from the
author's doctoral dissertation of 1982. This in itself should have been its
strength, guaranteeing its scholarship. However, the work does not appear to
have been thoroughly revised or updated. If the select bibliography is any
indication, most of the last ten years' works in the field have not been
consulted. Thus, in the very selection of his title, the author should have been
aware that Philip Gon's The road to Isandlwana had already pre-empted him
back in 1979, and with a form of spelling, moreover, that conformed to modern
Zulu orthographic practice. More seriously, Dr Droogleever seems unaware of
Dr Jeff Mathews's authoritative work on Chelmsford which, while being
highly critical of the General's mistakes, also convincingly points the finger at
Durnford's culpability on the day of Isandlwana. Some acquaintance with Dr
Paul Thompson's work on the Natal Native Contingent and the Natal border
levies would not have gone amiss either. This book, though interesting and
filling a gap in the literature, is dated in a way it should not have been, for
presumably there must have been opportunity while being prepared for
publication for its revision in the light of the latest research.
JOHN LAB AND
THE NATAL PAPERS OF 'JOHN ROSS'
by CHARLES RA WDEN MACLEAN, edited by STEPHEN GRAY
Durban & Pietermaritzburg, The Killie Campbell Africana Library & The
University of Natal Press, 1992, 210 pp. illus. R55,55 (soft cover).
This book is published as no.7 in the series Killie Campbell Africana Library
Publications.
The legend of 'John Ross' is firmly established in the popular history of Natal,
and seems destined to survive, with the assistance of some substantial material
objects. The modest tiled commemorative tablet at Durban's Old Fort has been
joined, over the years, by the thirty-storey John Ross House (with more than
life-size bronze sculpture) on the Victoria Embankment; by the John Ross
Bridge carrying the main road to Zululand across the Tugela River; and by
John Ross College in Richards Bay. With such solid reminders, and a
television serial made in 1987, the public can be forgiven for looking no
further than the romanticised and mythologised story of a boy's journey on
foot from Port Natal to Delagoa Bay and back, to fetch medicines and other
necessities.
Stephen Gray has some hard words, however, about historians who have
90
Book Reviews and Notices
overlooked or undervalued the Natal Papers of Charles Rawden Maclean,
whom the world wants to know only as the youthful 'John Ross' of legend.
Although Maclean's own version of his Natal years has been available to
English readers since the 1850s - and readily accessible in library
collections in South Africa since the 1950s - it is fair to say that the
many writers who have felt themselves capable of writing his biography
- who have come to be considered authoritative on the man - have not
felt the need to consult these sources. Rather, with a self-generating will
of its own, and in a state of blissful unawareness, an entire sub-literature
has accumulated around 'John Ross' without reference to the primary
facts. (p.22)
And later, in trenchant summary:
The evidence shows that historical myths are constructed by an accumu­
lating process of selection and omission. Anyone reading Maclean' s
thick stew of data will be shocked at the thinness of the gruel we are
usually served. (p.23)
He speculates on a possible reason for this: '[Maclean's] declared method is
to follow the vagaries of recollection over "a long vista of years". He writes
associatively, not systematically. His chosen discourse is thus more literary
that scientific. Possibly this is one reason why his text has not to date been
found congenial to historians, because of the difficulty it presents in the
extraction of simple facts - dates, places and events. But as a literary text ­
a childhood autobiography - it is not only unique in terms of our history, but
in fact rather orthodox. Literary critics are well placed to respond to its
depiction of personal anxiety, to its formal attempts to shape a "tale" and to its
general skill in dramatising the great theme of the haphazard contingencies of
providence.' (p.143) But there is no doubt in Gray's mind that such a source
must impact on historical scholarship:' ... we have a document that is so
contrary to our received expectations from the legend-makers that it is not too
exaggerated to say that Maclean's text demands not only new ways of reading,
but a fresh attitude to the historical evidence he presents.' (p.145)
Gray notes that Laband's entry on 'John Ross' in the 1987 Dictionary of
South African Biography (Vol. 5, p.659) is 'the closest to accurate that South
African history has produced in a cycle that has lasted over a century and a
half.' He considers that careful study of Maclean' s Natal Papers can contribute
to historical re-evaluations of the attitudes of the Zulus towards the British at
Port Natal; of the supposed unity of purpose and combined intention of
Farewell, Fynn and King; of the person of Shaka and the nature of his rule; and
of the role of all European groups in south-eastern Africa in the first three
decades of the nineteenth century.
Although Maclean's Natal Papers have been known and available to scholars
for a considerable time, this is their first appearance in book form. Gray's
energies have been largely devoted to biographical research and careful
editing, and this does not constitute the sort of re-evaluative work he considers
necessary.
Yet that is the challenge that Maclean's Natal Papers represent for us
today: beginning again. This is not the place to make the attempt. Let it
91 Book Reviews and Notices
be sufficient here to give some notes towards a redifinition of 'history' in
Natal that the Maclean documents provoke, with illustrations from this
particular small - but crucial - case. (p. 23)
Despite his disclaimer, I believe Gray, in his Introduction and Commentary,
has in fact begun the process, clearly and boldly pointing out a flaw in our
historiography, suggesting some changes of emphasis and interpretation, and
providing scholars with a conveniently accessible collection to work with.
After spending part of his boyhood in Natal and Zululand, Maclean became
a master mariner shipowner, and eventually held important public office in the
Caribbean colony of St Lucia. The Natal Papers consist of eleven instalments
published in The Nautical Magazine between January 1853 and March 1855,
under the title Loss of the brig Mary at Natal with early recollections of that
settlement, and as a sort of postscript, a letter to The Times of 3 August 1875,
prompted by reports of the trial in Natal of Chief Langalibalele. In this letter
Maclean mentions that by coincidence Langalibalele was also the name of 'a
chief appointed by King Shaka . . . to command a party of thirty warriors
charged with the escort of the writer to the Portuguese settlement of Delagoa
Bay.' And, 'though it was at a time a perilous journey, nobly and faithfully did
the chief and his men perform their duty.' The main intention of the letter to
The Times is, however, to plead for a more favourable interpretation of the
modern Langalibalele's 'disobedience' and his refusal to obey the Governor's
summons. Maclean's knowledge of the Zulus leads him to claim that such a
summons in the Shakan context would be nothing less than notice of execution
to follow. He argues that Langalibalele's actions may have arisen from 'sheer
panic', and appeals for a redress of the injury and wrongs done to the Hlubi. He
ends his brief letter with an eloquent quotation from his earlier piece in The
Nautical Magazine:
I owe them [i.e. the Zulus] a debt of gratitude that leads me to wish and to
hope my countrymen, whosoever they be, will exercise that mercy and
kindness towards them which I experienced at their hands in the day of
their rule. Those are yet living to whom I am indirectly indebted for my
life, and I trust their goodness will meet a just reward by kindness and
forbearance at the white man's hands.
One may regard the Loss of the brig Mary at Natal with early recollections
of that settlement as the vivid experiences of an intelligent and observant boy
recollected in the tranquillity, and with the perspective, of mature years.
Whatever the extent of his education when he was a young 'apprentice to
Mr James King', Maclean became in addition to all his other attainments, a
very good journalist. For a time he was one of the most prolific contributors to
The Nautical Magazine, capable of producing sustained, well-written pieces in
which 'hypotheses [were] argued out in stages, justifying a procedure and an
attitude to contemporary life.' His Natal recollections run to about 37 000
words, and he wrote on other subjects too. At the conclusion of the Natal
series, the editor of The Nautical Magazine makes some very complimentary
remarks, which suggest that the quality of Maclean's writing owes little to
editorial intervention and improvement.
For the present reviewer, this is the first encounter with Maclean's Natal
Papers, and they make delightful reading, with their many new insights into,
92
Book Reviews and Notices
and perspectives of, circumstances at Port Natal, early 19th century Zulu life,
and the court of Shaka in particular.
Here is a worthy addition to the library of Natal history. Its interest lies
equally in the original material and in the editor's case for historical
reconsiderations. Gray's Commentaries form a final section of the book, and
readers are advised to follow the reading of each of Maclean's eleven pieces
with the relevant Commentary, rather than undertake a 'cover-to-cover'
reading.
J.M. DEANE
ROCK PAINTINGS OF THE NATAL DRAKENSBERG
by J.D. LEWIS-WILLIAMS & T.A. DOWSON
Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press, 1992,68 pp. 61 illus. RI9,80.
Enormous strides have been made in the interpretation of the Natal Drakens­
berg rock paintings over the last 20 years. They began with Pat Vinnicombe's
publication People of the Eland in 1976 and have been continued mostly
through the research of David Lewis-Williams and his students, who have
produced a constant stream of publications on the subject. Ever aware of the
need to communicate his findings to a wider audience Lewis-Williams has
published many pieces aimed at the lay and informed public. But this book,
written with his student Thomas Dowson, is his first popular work to
concentrate exclusively on the Natal Drakensberg, one of the richest rock
painting areas in the world.
Lewis-Williams and Dowson set themselves the task of trying to answer
what they believe to be the major questions that 'lurk at the back of our minds,
even when we are just admiring the beauty of the art' (p.2). These are: 'Why
did Bushmen paint these pictures?' and 'What do they mean?'
The rock painting chapter titles - 'Bridging worlds', 'Exploring the Spirit
World' and 'Varieties of Visions' - capture the reader's imagination and
suggest that something out of the ordinary will be furnished by the book. It is in
these chapters that this book comes into its own. In exploring the reasons for
the paintings and what they mean, the authors use good examples from the well
known sites of Battle Cave, Main Caves and Game Pass Shelter, as the public
has access to them. Their explanations, however, apply to the paintings
throughout the Natal Drakensberg. The book is well illustrated with redraw­
ings and colour photographs of paintings which will assist the reader in
identifying the images discussed in the text and on the rockface. The only pity
is that the illustrations were not numbered as this would have helped the
readers to work between the text and the illustrations more effectively.
Concerning the interpretations of the paintings, Lewis-Williams and
Dowson lead the readers on a journey through San
l
religion and into the spirit
world and from the spirit world to the rock paintings. It is a world rich in
thought and feelings. Their perceptions and arguments are informed by
knowledge about the San and their religion, mostly derived from records
collected in the northern Cape and Lesotho in the last century and from the
Kalahari during the last forty years. To the authors, realism, symbolism and
non-reality are the 'three interacting elements at the heart' (p.28) of the rock
93 Book Reviews and Notices
paintings which enable us to 'see' the paintings in a new light. Understanding
how these elements intermesh in the San world enable us to comprehend
paintings and images that were previously inexplicable. Paintings, such as the
half-human, half-animal figures, lines emanating from the top of heads and
connecting figures, humans bleeding from the nose and elongated human
figures are demystified. They are shown by the authors to represent what
medicine people saw and felt while they were in trance. As you begin to 'see'
the paintings in this way, your appreciation of them is taken to greater heights.
You may even end up agreeing with Lewis-Williams and Dowson (p. 1) that
'the paintings can take their place next to any of the world's great art'. I
certainly do.
Having dealt with the positive aspects of this book I feel I should express
some of my reservations. These relate mostly to the 'Preserving the Drakens­
berg's Past' and 'Bushmen of the Berg' chapters in which the authors provide
background information about the history of the San in the Drakensberg and
also consider the preservation of the rock paintings. Unlike the chapters
dealing with the paintings, these two chapters, and particularly that on San
history, do not sufficiently reflect current knowledge. For example, we no
longer have to say that 'we know that Bushmen lived there for many thousands
of years (p. 18), but can mention that Middle Stone Age people ephemerally
occupied the Natal Drakensberg before 25 000 years ago and that the recent
San occupation of this area dates back 8 000 years, as is evidenced by a
radiocarbon date from Good Hope Shelter. But these reservations do not in any
way detract from the main thrusts of the book which are the meanings and
motives behind the paintings.
My advice to those wanting to 'see' the rock paintings through a new pair of
eyes is to buy this inexpensive, well illustrated book, put it in your backpack
and see for yourselves. Doing this will enhance your understanding of the San
and their history which tragically came to an end in the Natal Drakensberg
about one hundred years ago. The San may never return to the Natal
Drakensberg but armed with a good understanding of their paintings you will
never feel that their departure was final. As the authors conclude in their book,
the voice of the San, through their paintings, calls 'us to a more humane
southern Africa' (p.57).
NOTE
1. I use the term San in preference to Bushmen.
ARON D. MAZEL
RENISHA W: THE STORY OF THE CROOKES BROTHERS
by ANTHONY HOCKING
Bethulie, OFS, Hollards SA, 1992, 320 pp. illus. hard cover.
Family histories are like the proverbial curate's egg - good in parts. This
family history is like the bishop's egg, good throughout, provided that it is
judged as an egg and not as a full breakfast. Family histories give readers a
wealth of fascinating detail about individuals and generations within families
that broader histories gloss over. On the other hand, family histories often
94 Book Reviews and Notices
ignore wider social issues and, even worse, attempt to whitewash family heroes
to the point that critical readers are inclined to dismiss the genre altogether. A
family history that manages to place the family in a broader social context is a
good read.
Anthony Hocking has succeeded in missing most of the pitfalls in the path of
the family historian. Renishaw: The Story of the Crookes Brothers, is a very
sound, highly readable history of one of Natal's most important sugar families
which is presented in a most attractive format. With plenty of 'sugar baron'
money behind the production of this work, it is technically outstanding, of high
quality and printed on glossy, durable paper in hard covers. The illustrations
are well chosen and beautifully enhance the text. The only quibble I have is a
personal prejudice against a brown-on-white finish, it may enhance sepia
photographs, but it makes pages of text look mdre dull than black-on-white
does. Most of the technical apparatus is in place: a comprehensive index, a full
list of illustrations, a chronology and an elaborate family tree (which will be of
great interest to genealogists as it gives all the ramifications of the Crookes
clan). Regrettably, there is no list of sources, but it seems that Hocking had
access to family and business papers which enabled him to write from the
inside.
The Crookes have been among Natal's grandest sugar barons since their
ancestors arrived in the 1850s and 1860s. The sugar enterprise was founded in
the 1870s by Samuel Crookes and the well known firm Crookes Brothers was
founded by Samuel's sons in 1913. Since then the company has expanded
(there are estates in Swaziland), diversified (Crocworld near Scottburgh is one
of the modern enterprises) and survived despite the domination of the sugar
industry by financial conglomerates. Hocking has produced a well rounded
history of the family including mentions of internal feuds over control of the
company and the estates, a saga which he brings up to the 1990s. He also
brings in the involvement of the workers who cut the cane and kept the sugar
barons in the state to which they were well accustomed. This is unusual in
South African family histories which often convey the impression that fame
and fortune was gained solely by white entrepreneurship and the role of black
labour is totally ignored. Hocking avoids this over-simplification. It is difficult
to know how much labour history has not been told, because the emphasis is on
workers who have been 'loyal' to the company and the family, not on those
who went on strike or deserted. The section on the strikes of 1987 lays much of
the 'blame' on an 'outside agitator'.
The book is also a fascinating local history. Not much has appeared in print
on the development of the South Coast and Renishaw provides us with valuable
information on the development of the Scottburgh and Umzinto areas. Again,
all credit to the author who has done extensive research and still managed to
produce his findings in easily digestible form.
All in all Anthony Hocking has succeeded admirably in telling the story of a
remarkable family involved in developing Natal's most important industry.
This he has done without resort to cant or undue praise. The role of the usually
unmentioned groups who make these large achievements possible is given
credit and the book provides the reader with information on local and regional
histories as well as on family history. It is also a book that will look impressive
on the bookshelves of a boardroom or a company office.
GRAHAM DOMINY
[Reprinted with acknowledgements to the Natal Witness.]
95 Book Reviews and Notices
THE NATAL MAIN LINE STORY
by HEINIE HEYDENRYCH and BRUNO MARTIN
HSRC, Pretoria, 1992, 176 pp. 120 photographs, many maps, hard cover.
Whether a revamped doctoral thesis can ever entirely hit the 'pop market'
remains a matter of question, but Heinie Heydenrych (on whose dissertation
the major portion of the text is based) has found ramifications and reverbera­
tions in our railway politics (he takes us up to 1895) such as have certainly
eluded any previous author on Natal's main line. That Disraeli was a bogey
figure in colonial Natal for blocking railway progress, that the Langalibalele
incident directly retarded the start of construction, that the tracklayers were
mostly Delagoa Bay Tsongas, that a 'corridor' was maintained for them to
come through Zululand, and that Cetshwayo derived considerable income from
the paypackets of these 'navvies': these mini revelations demonstrate the web
of association that Heydenrych has spun round his story. He unties a delicious
'knot' whereby Garnet Wolsely 'buys' the Times of Natal to support (against
The Natal Witness) a pro-federation railway contractor. And he notes the
political battle over free outspanning for trek oxen: the Railway called it 'a
system of free dinners' !
Here and there I could wish that 'popularisation' had led the authors to
sterner editing. In the earlier chapters, the careful reconstruction and even
mapping of stillborn railway schemes can never really grip the non-specialist
reader. It is a text that invites selective reading - the cherries are somewhat
buried, but (helped along by a mouthwatering selection of some 120 photo­
graphs) the 'going' is amply rewarded (rather like a Natal railway journey).
The really exciting chapter is No. 6, 'Negotiation Politics'. The research here
makes one nostalgic not so much for creaking railway rides in those wonderful
NGR sleeping saloons, but for a time when one's political destiny was still
within reach of local negotiation, local colour, local drama. Remember: the
Natal mainline rapidly became the colony's biggest source of revenue. As
Heydenrych points out, the lossmaker of the early 1880s was, by 1889, putting
£535 000 into the treasury, and by 1896, over a £million (the reward, in effect,
for not being complicit in the Jameson Raid.) We are reminded of the days
when Cape Colony and Natal Colony were, for all their common imperial
heritage, bitter rivals for Kruger's goodwill. Heydenrych takes us through
some marvellous cloak-and-dagger dramas where frock-coated gentlemen
meet at the opening of tunnels and smile at the 'Kodak', but are actually
wrapped in intrigue with each other for very survival. (A pity we don't get to
the story of the line through the Anglo-Boer War itself.)
In Chapter 8, Bruno Martin supplies a nicely-assembled survey of the actual
track-expansion and the development of locomotive power. He notes for
example Natal's vital role in testing and applying the Garrett locomotive. And,
oh dear! - he reminds how unlikely it was that we would ever have been
steam enthusiasts back in the 1920s and '30s, when the 'new line', with its
succession of tunnels, was built between Durban and Cato Ridge. The arrival
of Durban's first electric train, back in 1936, (the photo shows Durbanites
looking like Al Capone) was a red-letter day - no more smoky corridors and
smutty seats.
All in all, about a third too long to be 'a good read', but a major new step in
well-cited research, and with a nice spicing of rare photographs and excellent
maps to help along the non-specialist reader. '
W.H. BIZLEY
96 Book Reviews and Notices
NATAL RESEARCH JOURNALS
Professor Shula Marks, in her important review of Andrew Duminy and Bill
Guest (eds), NataL and ZuLuland from earLiest times to 1910: a new history
(published in the JournaL ofNataL and ZuLu History XIII, 1990-91), claims that
it is a measure of white Natalians sense of their own identity, that this is the
only province where historians have 'attempted a single-volume synthesis of
the past'. Natal is in fact a province will served by research journals as well as
being the focus of regional histories. These journals cover natural history and
the environment as well as human history and the social sciences.
The Natal Museum produces two high quality journals. The AnnaLs of the
Natal Museum has been published regularly since the establishment of the
museum in 1904 and is devoted to research in the natural sciences. The 1992
volume appears in two parts and contains important papers in the fields of
entomology and malacology. The Natal Museum JournaL of Humanities first
appeared in 1989 and has now reached its fourth volume. It is the publication
medium for valuable research papers on archaeology, anthropology and
history. Volume 4, 1992 was published in October and contains papers on
stone age archaeology, the Zulu metalworking industry and the construction of
Fort Napier. Important papers on Thomas Baines's art of the Langalibalele
Rebellion, Zulu beadwork, historical Zulu horn carvings and stone and iron age
archaeological sites appear in earlier volumes. Enquiries can be addressed to
the librarian, Natal Museum, P/Bag X 9070, Pietermaritzburg, 3200.
The JournaL of NataL and Zulu History has made a welcome return to the
bookshelves having overcome its technical problems and caught up with its
publishing schedule. Vol. XIII, 1990-1991, contains a number of articles
which reveal new perspectives on old themes such as the Anglo-Zulu War and
the colonial garrison and others which explore new themes in twentieth century
and economic history. There is also an important bibliography of early writings
on the natural history of the region. Information on the journal can be obtained
from the editor at the Department of History, University of Natal, King George
V Avenue, Durban, 4001.
The Natal Parks Board's journal Lammergeyer continues to appear and
propagates the research findings of the board in relation to the province's
wildlife. The Institute of Natural Resources also produces important research
papers focusing on environmental issues in the region.
The editors of Natalia welcome information on other research publications
with a Natal focus and encourage the reading public to support them.
Select List of Recent Natal
Publications
[Other Natal publications are reviewed elsewhere in this journal]
BAKER, Ken. The maritime postal history of Natal, 1824-1901. Pretoria:
Postmark and Postal History Society of southern Africa, 1991. (Occa­
sional paper, No. 11)
CONNERTY, P.E., et al. Africa: four centuries of maps from the Don
Africana Collection: an exhibition held in the Paper Gallery, 5 Feb. 1992
-1 March 1992. Durban: Durban Municipal Library, 1992.
COOPER, J. A. G. Shoreline changes on the Natal coast: Tugela River mouth
to Cape St. Lucia. Pietermaritzburg: Natal Town and Regional Planning
Commission, 1991. (Natal town and regional planning report, Vol. 76)
COOPER, J. A. G. Shoreline changes on the Natal coast: Mkomazi River
mouth to Tugela River mouth. Pietermaritzburg: Natal Town and Re­
gional Planning Commission, 1991. (Natal town and regional planning
report, Vol. 77)
DURBAN. City Council. Conservation Awards Committee. Rewarding con­
servation, 1986-1991. Durban: the Committee, 1992.
ECONOMIC development of North Western Natal: proceedings of a workshop
held at Talana Museum, Dundee, 25 July 1990. Pietermaritzburg: Natal
Town and Regional Planning Commission, 1991 (Natal town and
regional planning supplementary report, Vol. 36)
ELLIOTT, Aubrey. Zulu: heritage of a nation. Cape Town: Struik, 1991.
GILFILLAN, Robin. The Old Hiltonian Club centenary family album,
1892-1992. Pietermaritzburg: Old Hiltonian Club, 1991. .
LEA, J.D. Maize production in KwaZulu: a handbook for extension officers
and farmers. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal, Institute of Natural
Resources, 1991.
McCRACKEN, Donal P. The Irish in Southern Africa, 1795-1910. Durban:
University of Durban-Westville, 1992.
MINNAAR, A. de V. Conflict and violence in NatallKwaZulu: historical
perspectives. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, 1990.
NEWMARCH, David. Tree notes from the Durban Botanic Gardens: a
heritage for the subtropics. Durban: Durban Botanic Gardens, 1991.
PATON, Anne. Some sort of job: my life with Alan Paton. London: Viking,
1992.
POOLEY, Tony. Mashesa: the making of a game ranger. Halfway House:
Southern, 1992.
97
98
REPORT on invader plants in Natal. Pietermaritzburg: Cedara Agricultural
Research Station, 1991. (Report N/A/91119)
SCHROEDER, Bert. Joseph Zulu. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter and Shooter,
1991. (2nd ed. 1992)
SPENCER, Shelagh O'Byrne. British settlers in Natal: a biographical reg­
ister. Vol. 6. Eagle to Fyvie. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press,
1992.
STEYN, M. et al. An assessment of the community-based health programme
(CBHP) in KwaZulu. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council,
1991.
Notes on Contributors
MORAY COMRIE is Senior Head of Department at the Natal College of
Education, Pietermaritzburg.
ROBERT CROSS is the Director of the Natal Performing Arts Council,
Durban.
GRAHAM DOMINY is the Editor of Natalia and the historian at the Natal
Museum, Pietermaritzburg.
COLIN GARDNER is a Professor of English at the University of Natal,
Pietermaritzburg.
ANDREW HALL is the Natal Regional Manager of the National Monuments
Council and a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. He received a
Fulbright Scholarship to read for an MSc in historic preservation at the
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1988.
IAN KNIGHT is the author of Brave men's blood: the epic of the Zulu war,
1879, former secretary of the Victorian Military Society and a graduate of the
University of Kent, Canterbury.
JOHN LABAND is an Associate Professor in the Department of Historical
Studies at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He is the author of a
number of publications, the most recent being Kingdom in crisis.
ANDRE LE ROUX is the Rector of the Edgewood College of Education,
Pinetown.
HANS-JURGEN OSCHADLEUS is an MA student at the University of Natal,
Pietermaritzburg.
CORNELIS PLUG is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the
University of South Africa, Pretoria. He has published several articles on the
history of South African science.
DENEYS SCHREINER is a former Vice-Principal of the University of Natal,
Pietermaritzburg.
TREVOR W ARMAN is a former Mayor of Durban and a former Chairman of
the Natal Provincial Council.
99