searching4abook

Finding Hidden Treasures In the Used Book World !

KNOW YOUR RHODESIA & NYASALAND 2 March 24, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — alnic2013 @ 1:49 pm

Three-In-One Garden Memorial

nurses2

The second article I found in this book of articles by The Rhodesian Herald published in 1956 also relates to pioneer nurses in Rhodesia, this time in Mutare. It concerns a memorial situated about a mile and a half on the Umtali ( Mutare) side of the road to Penhalonga.  On a small road that branches off to the east at a junction was a sign which read “Pioneer Nurses Memorial”.

The article tells that if one were to follow the sign’s directions  a short climb up the road would bring you to a delightfully situated and well-kept garden facing west.

The garden is described as having terraced flower beds, a fine fig tree, and flowering shrubs.

The first memorial in the garden was in the form of a seat made from concrete blocks set in a stone surround, with a metal plaque that reads;

” On this spot Bishop Knight-Bruce’s Nursing Sisters, Rose Blennerhasset, Lucy Sleeman, Beryl Welby, after an arduous up-country walk from the east coast and within a day of their arrival in Mashonaland opened a Camp Hospital and thereby inaugurated Nursing Services in the colony 14th July 1891″

I googled the memorial and Zimfieldguide.com tells me that the seat was constructed under a great fig tree known as the “IndabaTree” Sadly the tree is no longer there. The seat was erected by Rezende Mine in 1941 to mark the 50th anniversary of the nurses’ journey from Beira. ( should anyone reading this want to know more about the nurses’ journey be wanting to visit the site go to http://zimfieldguide.com/manicaland/nurses-memorial where you will find directions and a whole lot more  very interesting information )

Another wonderful site worth visiting, to learn more about these intrepid nurses especially Rose Blennerhassett  is http://www.blennerhassettfamilytree.com/Rose-Blennerhassett.php. Here I learned that at the time of their trek from Beira Rose was aged 40, Lucy 26, and Beryl 30. Apparently Rose and Lucy wrote a book entitled “Adventures in Mashonaland so that is definitely one to look out for if you are intrigued to learn more!

002

A second memorial takes the form of a sundial mounted on a stone pedestal. Stuated on the westerly edge of the garden this memorial bears a metal plaque with the following inscription;

Erected in 1950

To the Memory of those who came first.

Col. P. D’Andrada

P.A. Campion

G. Crampton

G.B. Dunbar Moodie

W.J. Harrington

O.W. Harris

W.V. Harrison

O.D. Holliday

J.H. Jeffreys

E.De Kergariou

C.De Llamby

T. Luther

J.S. Maritz

Baron De Rezende

A.Vaughan Williams

These men were in this valley prior to the occupation of Rhodesia.

In an effort to find out what I can about these men I tuned to friend google! Col. P D’Andrada was apparently a soldier in the Mozambique Company bent on establishing Portuguese claims in Rhodesia by some sort of occupation. He was a compatriot of Baron De Rezende. They both ended up at loggerheads with the  Chartered Company. You can read the story in the following PDF.

I will update this as and when I come across info on the others.

There is also a third memorial in the garden in the form of the gate which bears the initials C.J.R and the date 1953. It is a Rhodes Centenary Memorial.

 

Advertisements
 

KNOW YOUR RHODESIA & KNOW NYASALAND 1 March 21, 2019

Filed under: Books — alnic2013 @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , ,

003

This very informative book published by The Rhodesian Printing and Publishing Company in 1956 encompasses 300 selections from The Rhodesia Herald.

Combining my love of books, history and writing, I thought, before selling it on, it would be interesting to blog about some of the articles I  have found amidst it’s pages.

The Story of Salisbury’s Hospitals

002

This article to be found on page 251 of the book, informs me that Father Hartmann, a chaplain to the Pioneer Column, opened the first hospital in Salisbury in 1890. The hospital consisted of three huts a marquee and a couple of tents situated on land near the Makabusi River. It could accommodate +/- 12 patients and was run by a Dr. Rand and one Police orderly.

muk10

(pic of Makabusi River now known as Mukuvisi from http://zimfieldguide.com/harare/mukuvisi-woodlands-wildlife-and-environment-centre)

Father Andrew Hartmann

Wanting to know more of the “Father Hartmann” mentioned above I took to Family Search to see if I could find more details among the records that can be found in their online archives. Yes, my luck was in and I managed to find his death notice providing me with a lot more insight into the man who opened the first hospital. His full name was Andrew Hartmann and he was born in Austria circa 1851.  At the time of his death on the 27th of December 1928  he is recorded as being single with his usual place of residence being Hartmann Hill.  His occupation was recorded as Priest in Charge.  Father Hartmann  died at Salisbury Hospital and the death notice records his intended place of burial as Chishawasha Mission.

Perhaps I could find out more about Father Andrew Hartmann by consulting my copy of the Historical Dictionary of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe by R. Kent Rasmussen? Once again I was in luck! This dictionary further tells me that Father Andrew Hartmann a Jesuit Missionary travelled to Bulawayo as a priest in the “Zambezi Mission” of 1888. He then spent two years with a Peter Prestage at “Empandeni” before serving  as a Roman Catholic Chaplain with the “BSAC Pioneer Column”  On behalf of the Jesuits he accepted a tract of land near Salisbury where he and Prestage founded the Chishawasha Mission. In later years he returned to “Empandeni” where he stayed until 1924.

chishawashamission

( Pic – http://www.lind.org.zw/history/old_zimbabwe/churches/chishawasha.htm)

It seems somewhat fitting that the hospital that Andrew Hartmann originally opened should provide a place for him to spend his last days and that a mission, Chishawasha, also founded by him should provide his final resting place.

 Dr. Richard Frank Rand

So who was the Dr. Rand mentioned in the article as being the person who ran the first hospital in Salisbury? I dug around in my bookshelf and eventually found mention of him in my copy of the book Men Who Made Rhodesia A Register Of Those Who Served In The British South Africa Company’s Police. by Colonel A.S. Hickman. Here I read that the person in question was one Richard Frank Rand,  a Surgeon Captain with the B.S.A.C. He was born  in Essex and educated in Edinburgh,  his full title being, Surgeon- Captain Richard Frank Rand, F.R.C.S. ( Eng.), M.D. (Edin.) Rand practised in Jamaica before travelling to Kimberley in South Africa where he met Rhodes who persuaded him to give up his practice in in Johannesburg and join an expedition to Mashonaland as senior medical officer of the Company’s Police. Rand is described in the book as being earnest, studious and sincere with plenty to say for himself whilst having  a refreshing and dry sense of humour. He was a member of the first local body, the Sanitary Board established in Salisbury in 1891. He was not however in favour of the Hospital Board, established in 1892, and thus resigned from the service of the Company and became the first Private practitioner in Salisbury.  He was resident surgeon at Mother Patrick’s first hospital  and was apparently famous for his fever cure known as “Rand’s Kicker”, which was said to be an effective but most unpleasant mixture.  Jeannie Boggie’s book Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women also mentions “Rand’s Kicker!  Apparently a Mr. J Caruther’s referred to it as a beastly mixture that left its nauseous taste for hours afterwards, but was however a sure cure.  Mr W.H. Smart of Gwelo asked Dr. Rand why it was called “Kicker” to which the doctor replied “Well, it’s either because people kick so much against swallowing it or the mixture kicked all the fever out of them.”

Later Rand ran a practice  from a hut in Pioneer Street where a white house was eventually built behind the surgery. He is said to have been looked upon with great affection by his patients. In his spare time Dr. Rand was a keen botanist whose passion for plants and flowers meant much of his spare time was spent collecting and identifying them. His investigations led to a number of species being added to the herbarium of the British Museum.

001

(From Men Who Made Rhodesia – Col. A.S. Hickman. Surgeon Capt.Richard Frank Rand is in the back row)

A delightful story concerning Dr. Rand  is recorded in Hickman’s book. It tells of how, called to a patient in Mazoe, Dr. Rand rode off with his surgical bag only to find the Gwebi River in full flood. Having decided that it would be best for the horse to swim across while he held its tail , Dr. Rand stripped off, made a bundle of his clothes and bag,  and tied these to the horse’s saddle. Both he and the horse did reach the other side, however the horse was slightly ahead and thus got up the steep and slippery bank before the good doctor could! He trotted on ahead with Rand trailing behind in only his hat. One by one the doctor’s boots fell off the saddle. He retrieved them both and arrived at Mazoe behind his horse still wearing only his boots and hat!

By 1894 Rand was reducing his involvement with medicine and had become managing director of the Mount Darwin Syndicate, a mining company. He served in the South African War of 1899-1902  returning to Rhodesia in 1910 but due to deafness hampering his work he returned to England until he once again served with the South African Forces as a Lieutenant Colonel in World War I. He later practised in Hartley  until retiring to England where he died at Brightlingsea, Essex in 1937.

Mother Patrick and the Dominican Sisters.

002

(pic- Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women – Jeannie M. Boggie)

In July 1891, Mother Patrick arrived with 4 other sisters and took over the hospital. They moved to new premises at the end of that year. By 1901 the hospital work had become too much for the sisters and Miss Ronaldson took over as matron.

The story of Mother Patrick and her work in Rhodesia is well known but wanting to know more about the other four Dominican sisters who travelled with her I did some internet searching and have learned from information I found online that they were Sister Berchmans Dreier aged 26 ( German), Sister Bonaventura Kaltenstadler,  aged 20, ( German), Sister Amica Kilduff, aged 35, of Irish stock but born in South Africa. and Sister Constantia Frommknecht aged 24 ( from St Ursula in Augsburg Germany). They travelled  more than 1200 miles by ox-wagon to Fort Salisbury arriving on July 27 1891. they took up their duty at the primitive hospital there on the 1st of August. Amazing how little time they took to recover from such an epic journey! ( info from https://dominicanmissionarysisters.org/about-us/our-story/ )

Family Search gave me more info on some of  the Sisters in question.

Sister Berchmans Dreier lived until the ripe old age of 92 and  was residing at the Borrowdale Convent at the time of her death on 31st January, 1957. Her death notice tells us that she died at St. Anne’s Hospital and was to be buried at Salisbury Cemetery.  She was at the time known as Rev. Mother Mary Berchmans and her surname is recorded as Dreyer.

Sister Amica Kilduff lived until age 89, she died at The Anglesey Borrowdale Road on the 8th of December 1943. Her death notice records her as Catharine Kilduff ( Mother Amica).

According to my copy of Jean Boggie’s  book Experiences of Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women the pioneer band of Sisters travelled in a double-size wagon which the troops who travelled with them affectionately named “Noah’s Ark.” They took with them a tent to serve as a chapel and in it Holy Mass was said daily.

There is a description of the first hospital that the sisters arrived at in Fort Salisbury    “The hospital consisted of a few wattle and daub huts, which had belonged to Father Hartmann, a large marquee and a few tents, but the only couch for the sick was the damp earth. Calico was used as windows. in place of glass. Huts were erected for the Sisters, but were not completed when they arrived, so for some time they lived in their Noah’s Ark.” The book goes on further to describe the new buildings constructed later in 1891- two wattle and daub wards, two huts for women, and a canvas ward for eight patients. There was also a canvas “house for the Sisters. Both canvas buildings had a corrugated iron roof, supported by posts.

By 1892 the Sisters were terribly overworked at the hospital( 308 patients had passed through the hospital in the first few months of that year) and reinforcements were sent for. Boggie’s book tells us that when eventually brick building were erected to house the hospital a “joyful bonfire” was made of the old thatched wards! In September 1894 the B.S.A. Reports recorded that a new large brick hospital was being erected . According to Boggie’s book this took the form of three sides of a square, had boarded floors, post- mortem room, mortuary, operating theatre, etc.  ” So at last dear Mother Patrick was going her rounds in a beautiful new hospital , saying:’Oh, the delight of a wooden floor to walk on; real beds, real windows, and real doors, which actually open and shut!’.”

In 1912 after much debate the new Salisbury Hospital was erected on it’s present site.

By 1956 when the book was published there were a number of hospitals in the capital.

St Anne’s was run by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary.

The Lady Chancellor Nursing Home for maternity cases  had originally started in premises on North Avenue and was named for the wife of Southern Rhodesia’s first Governor.

The Princess Margaret Hospital which was at that time  for Coloured and Asian patients only was opened by its namesake in 1953.

 

 

CHOO CHOO …. South African Railways Enthusiasts, All Aboard ! November 18, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — alnic2013 @ 3:36 pm

It seems to me that there are book addicts and train addicts and then there are those who are a combination of both!

There are a few books that satisfy the addiction to both, in equal measure.

The first one I would like to share with you is a delightful little book entitled Historical Railway Postcard Journeys in Southern Africa by David Hind and Michael Walker. This hardback was published in a limited edition in 1996 and has 286 pages plus a fold-out map enclosed at the back.

As you turn the pages you are taken on a pictorial postcard rail journey and the scenes en-route that existed in South Africa at the turn of the century, the stations, the bridges,  and the fashions.

The Postcard index of stations records 94 stations from Abbabis to Wynberg and the list of maps contained in the book includes, Southern African Railways 1904. This is the large folded map found enclosed at the back cover. Other maps  included in the pages of the book are The Route of the Rand Tram, The Swakopmund- Windhuk Railway and The Beira to Umtali Railway.

 

 

011 (3)

The book is illustrated with facsimile reproductions of several hundred old postcards.

What an absolute treat and insight into the South Africa of a bygone era.

Have a look at my sales listing on Bidorbuy for more pics, just click on the BOB button on the top right-hand side of my blog page. 🙂

 

 

Elusive Aunty Agatha ! – South African Genealogy/ Family History Look-ups offered. ( From my extensive collection of various Who’s Who of South Africa ( 1912 onwards) Women of SA 1918 Cape Of Good Hope Civil Service Lists 1900 &1908 and many many more SA genealogy related titles.) November 8, 2014

de.smidt

While considering the ultimate question, “How can I combine another of my passions with my business” it suddenly occurred to me that there is a way!

I have been collecting books for many years now especially those that may contain info on South African family history and/or genealogy. My bookshelves are now bulging with various editions of the Who’s Who of Southern Africa with the earliest being 1912, The Cape Civil Service lists for 1900 and 1908. Women of South Africa, more than 50 editions of Africana Notes and News, and BSAP Men Who made Rhodesia amongst many, many ,other  scarce and relevant titles.

I love nothing more than trying to help people find out more about their family history. The excitement that an interesting snippet of information hidden away in a dusty old tome can bring to someone who is building their family tree, and the story that goes with it, is always a joy.

Hence I have decided to offer look ups  If you are wondering if you can trust me with your hard earned cash, as you can see, if you hit the Bob button on the right of this blog I have been selling books on Bidorbuy since 2008 and am a verified seller with more than 1000, 100% positive ratings, from my customers.

I am excited to get going on this new adventure and hope you are too! J

Best wishes

Nikki

How will this work and what will it cost?

1.)  Simply make an enquiry via this blogs comments section giving me details of name, area, dates etc relating to a specific person, or just a surname if you are collecting information on a particular family name ( This would obviously result in a lot more info) . ( Please do not leave details of living individuals out of respect for their privacy).

2.) I will search through my books and should I find relevant information will answer your enquiry with  a quote based on the amount of information I would need to type up ( at a rate of 20c per word and R5 per scanned photo).

3.) Should the quote be agreeable to you

I can accepts payments via EFT or Paypal

How will I receive the information?

Once you have placed your order  and paid the agreed amount, I will type up the relevant information and send it to your email address as an attached Word document and/or photo attachment. I will endeavour to get the information to you as quickly as possible. The time it will take me is obviously related to the amount of information I have found.

An example below, with a scan of the relevant head and shoulders photo ( see above), would cost you R17

Extract From 1912 South African Who’s Who

“DE SMIDT, John Pascal Larkins, Magistrate, Rhodesian Civil Service; b. 8th Feb., 1871, at Clanwilliam, C.C.; s. of the late Wm. De Smidt, M.L.A. Educ. Diocesan College, Rondebosch; m. 11th Sept. 1900, Henrietta Eliza Foster; 3 sons. Joined Cape Colony Civil Service Jan., 1890. Transferred to Rhodesia Nov., 1897. Mem. Bulawayo Club. Add., Bulawayo Rhodesia.”

 

 

Not Old Prunes …..but Prunitians June 5, 2014

IMG_6370 IMG_6372 IMG_6374 IMG_6376

Now here is another of my treasures that I have had stashed away for a while now and am reluctantly adding to my auction listings. (Excuse the noise, it is my family giving me a round of applause !)

BUT before I do let me share a little!

Garnered on a particularly fruitful book buying expedition ( pardon the pun!!) , this book is another of those unprepossessing looking  tomes that holds  a wealth of history of days gone by, between its covers.  I chuckled to myself when I saw the title as I immediately wondered if Old boys from this Rhodesian school were known as Old Prunes but I have since educated myself via friend Google and established that they are in fact known by the far more flattering title of Old Prunitians.

The book is written ( and SIGNED I might add!) by  J.B. Clarke who was the headmaster of the school at the time of publication ( 1978). From my cyber- investigations  I gather it is a pretty scarce volume which contains, amongst other delights, especially from a genealogists point of view, a Roll of Honour and wonderful name lists for various sports, heads, etc.

I particularly love the entry for “ Attendance Record”

“ H.B. ( Chookie) Watson started school at the tender age of 4 years and 4 days. When he left in May 1932 he had been at Plumtree for 14 years, 8 months and 19 days. Joey Rackham is the runner-up with 13 years and 5 months.”

And in the beginning……. The first school was conducted in a Rondavel  in the garden of a Mr Smith  before it moved to the Dining room of The Plumtree Hotel which was managed at the time by a Mr. Barclay. It then moved, along with a dozen or so pupils who included children from the  , Clark, Van Rooyen, Lees , Roods, Smith and Webster families among them, to the Customs House.

According to an old account book, the school, on its present site, was built in 1902 on Stands 8 and 9 of Plumtree Trading Lots.

The book relates Edgar Lloyd’s description of the building operations he was tasked with!

“  We determined to begin by building huts, and some five huts were planned to be built in a half circle to serve as a nucleus for a school and a chapel for boarders. At first these were to have been quite humble huts. Somehow they grew bigger and finer and proved a more onerous and costly business than we had anticipated. The BSA Co in the person of Mr. Marshall Hole gave permission for us to cut great numbers of poles. These were transported by the wagon of Mr. “Bulala” Taylor, who gave us a good deal of help in those days. We were cast pretty much on our own resources though I got many hints about building from well-wishers and especially from members of the B.S.A.P stationed at Tegwani. John Hallward the Railway Chaplain ( he had succeeded Mr. Foggarty) would appear from time to time in the course of his perigrinations up and down the line……..I can see him in my mind’s eye at this distance of time with his big bulk on a skeleton roof, hammering in nails, which as often as not refused to enter the hard Mopani wood. Then someone told us of the advantages of bit and brace.  We finished off speedily all our bits the first day. I can still recall our exasperation and consternation when this calamity happened. I was eager, impatient and impetuous …..(but) big John would say “ This is just part of our day’s work, don’t let us have the lust of finishing it upon us”. He was a big man in more ways than one. He took long views and had the strength that comes from repose and a disciplined spirit…. His wisdom often stood me in good stead.

“We learnt by experience, the right kind of cross pieces wherewith to thread our roofs. The first roof got riddled with borers, the result of the lack of knowledge …..Very early in the work the thatcher took himself off, and I had to thatch for myself as well as train certain raw Barotse……..  I can still see myself at the very apex of one hut…….sewing and beating up the grass…..One learned how to clean grass, tie it in bundles and lay it rightly…….We saw ourselves laying the rude foundations of a great school.”

I never cease to be amazed at the resilience of people living Africa in those early days.  We may be grateful that  these days, parent’s efforts toward assisting schools, seldom  means getting involved in the actual building operations , thatching, plastering with mud or the removal of  anthills!!

BUT …. then again, there is something magical about those days and starting things from scratch don’t you think?

Keep reading!

Nikki  🙂

 

Perusing Pages Pertaining to…..South African Prisoners of War ! May 29, 2014

IMG_6013 IMG_6016 IMG_6017 IMG_6018

I guess that you all know by now that I grow rather attached to some of the books that I find. This one was a very well hidden little gold mine. Its black cover with nothing on it to reveal it’s hidden depths had obviously fooled less pedantic perusers of the shop which was guarding it. Until my  particularly probing proboscis arrived to sniff it out that is!

As my eye’s fell upon its pages, my mind did a little victory dance. Inside it had been bound five 1945 issues of a small magazine entitled  “Our  Prisoners of War” or “ Ons Krygsdevangenes” in Afrikaans.

These publications, produced by The South African Prisoners-of-War Association, were issued to next-of –kin, free of charge. The text is in both English and Afrikaans.

As the granddaughter of a man who was held as an English POW in Oflag VIIB I found the contents of these magazines both heart-wrenching and exciting. Exciting in that they hold details of the circumstances of so many brave men that would be lost forever had publications such as these not been produced. They contain extracts from letters from the camps, photos of missing men, small details that the history books containing only cold hard facts do not provide.

They talk of camp rugby games, friendships formed in camps and give interesting explanations of how the prisoners passed their time.

One  heart-warming extract from these magazines was extracted from a letter written by a Pvt.  C.D. Humphry , who had taken the time to write and reassure a Mrs. R.V. Dawson of Toise River Cape Province about the safety of her husband.

His letter was dated Dec 11th 1944

“  I am afraid that this letter will be a great surprise and a very welcome one. Perhaps I had better identify myself before continuing. I’m an ex PoW, and only reached home yesterday, after escaping and crossing the German line last month. I have been with your husband Leslie since our day of capture until 23rd October this year. On that date he was safe, well fed, well housed and absolutely fit, and I am certain that you need have no fear of his wellbeing since then.

He, George Acton ( from your district), two other friends and myself found refuge after the capitulation of Italy with some very fine Italians and remained there till the time I set out to try and reach our Forces. Les and the others decided to wait for our Armies and you need have no fear as to their safety.

I met Leslie and George at our first camp in Italy and formed a friendship then. There were four from my regiment, Leslie, George, Bunny Broster and Ralph Galpin and we slept together and kept together through every camp till we went working in April ’43 when Ralph and Bunny were separated from us. Leslie, George and myself worked on one farm for four months. When Italy surrendered, our sentries fled, some just walked out. Fourteen of us hid on a farm, but when it became obvious that our forces would be a long time in reaching us, we decided to split. Leslie, George and myself returned to our original farm, and the remaining two of the “famous five” took refuge nearby; after the area being raided by Jerry we moved, all five, to a very wealthy family.

We were housed on the third floor of the house, had beds and a stove installed. As regards Christmas, we had every imaginable luxury last year, and equal to any Christmas dinner I’ve had, and I am sure this Christmas will see them equally well provided for.

Security regulations forbid me giving you the exact location but when our Forces near them you can expect good news: till then you will have to continue being patient. I can only assure you that Leslie is in comparative safety, perfect health and amply housed for the winter, and when I left him and the others on 23rd October 1944, he was cheerful and naturally very anxious to send all his love to you and his parents”

One can only imagine the scene when Mrs Dawson received this letter. The relief, after a time of not knowing what had happened to her husband. How kind and thoughtful it was of the writer to take the time to send her re-assurance.

I have had a look to see if I can find out any more information regarding the people mentioned in this extract but have so far been unsuccessful. I hope that sometime members of their families will stumble upon my blog and therefore find this wonderful story to add to their family history album.

If you have arrived here and by chance these are your family please leave me a comment.

I will endeavour as time allows to blog around more of the stories/ letters in this book. I can’t help feeling that they need to be recorded for future generations of their families to find.

Keep reading

Nikki

Update 1 June 2014

 

IMG_6379

Since this post was uploaded Ralph Galpin’s son has left a very interesting comment ( see comments section below this post). He mentioned that his Dad is recorded as having been interned in Stalag IXC. I have therefore added two pics from the book of a group from this camp. The picture above is captioned

“Sent in by  Mr. J.C. Smit, PO Box Grootvlei, Transvaal. Group from Stalag IXC. Pte W.A. Smit, third from left. ( standing)

IMG_6380

This one is captioned “Group from Stalag IXC Standing fourth from left, Pte Louwrens. Sent in by Ms C.F. Louwrens, Lower Cross Street, Mossel bay

Unfortunately the other men in the photos are not named but I am secretly hoping that Ralph Galpin is among them. Wouldn’t that be amazing!! – Nikki

 

 

 

A Scrapbook and a Scarce Piece of Rhodesiana ! May 21, 2014

IMG_5991 IMG_5984 IMG_5980IMG_5978

Sometimes little treasures can appear on the outside to be a tad scruffy. See my previous blog post “ Never Judge a book by its cover” ! I , however, am never discouraged from investigating where others fear to touch. It was due to my experience in the fact that the older or more interesting the book, the more the wear and tear and general grubbiness may put less intrepid treasure hunters off, thereby leaving little gems waiting for me to spot them in dusty corners.
The little scrapbook mentioned in the title of this post is just such a find. To all intents and purposes it looked like a rather battered school exercise book but I couldn’t resist a browse through its yellowed and somewhat wavy pages. What an absolute delight. Pasted onto its pages are more than 120 newspaper cuttings from circa 1938 all recording various events that occurred during the Voortrekker Centenary celebrations that took place that year. Ladies in Bonnets, men on wagons, gatherings at monuments and Voortrekker, Free State and Transvaal flags flying in the wind. All situated in various towns and cities around South Africa. I can only imagine the excitement that the young hand which pasted in these cuttings must have felt at being able to be part of such a grand piece of South African history.
I have listed this little gem on my auction listings ( click on Bob link top right of my Blog page if you would like to see more) along with another scarce title related to Rhodesia.
Having pounced upon and purchased this book entitled “A Mirror over Rhodesia”, I set about trying to find out more about it. That was easier said than done, The ONLY other copy I could find on the net had been sold some 4 years ago which I think qualifies my use of the word scarce! This weighty tome of more than 800 pages was written by Rowland Fothergill and printed for private circulation by The Argus Printing and Publishing Company in Johannesburg. It is subtitled The Rhodesian Press 1962-1980 and covers such topics as The Rhodesian Front, Politics, The War etc. It was the previous property of a Rhys Meier an editor of a number of Rhodesian newspapers, including the Herald, whose name/signature appears on the inside front cover.
As you know the bibliophile in me always competes with my genealogical leanings so it would be remiss of me not to give you a little background to the previous gentleman owner who retired from the post of Editor of the Herald in 1974.
“ Meier was born in South Africa and began his working life as a farmer. After a long and severe illness he went to Rhodesia in 1937 as assistant on a tobacco farm at Macheke. That lasted six months. He then decided to try journalism instead ( his father’s profession), and in January 1938, returned to East London as a reporter on the staff of the Daily Dispatch. He was with the daily Dispatch for two and a half years before being transferred to the Daily Representative at Queenstown. After two and a half years there he joined the Johannesburg office of the South African Press Association and was later made news editor. …….Another northward migration took him in 1953 to Lusaka as the editor and manager of the Astonian Press and Central African Post. From there he joined the Company as assistant editor of the Northern News at Ndola, being transferred to the Herald as assistant editor in 1956. His next appointment was as editor of the Sunday Mail and then as editor of the Evening Standard simultaneously. In 1967 he became editor of the Chronicle, reaching Salisbury on his final assignment with the Company at the end of 1970.”
The author of the book Rowland Fothergill succeeded Meier as editor of the Herald.

I have held on to this book for a some time, kind of hugging it to myself and occasionally taking it out to pat myself on the back for tracking down such a scarce and wonderful treasure. But if I tell you that my daughter is getting married in a couple of months time you will understand my need, no matter how reluctantly, to add it to my auction listings!!!

Keep reading – Nikki 