Our latest newsletter presents some of the very best acquisitions we have had in years. These include landmarks of Africana, such as excellent examples of James Backhouse’s A Narrative of a Visit to the Mauritius and South Africa, John Barrow’s An Account of Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa, R Gordon Cumming’s A Hunter’s Life in South Africa, Mungo Park’s Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, and Travel and Adventure in South-East Africa by Frederick Courteney Selous. We have outstanding works on mining, such as Fred Cornell’s The Glamour of Prospecting, and a fabulous set of The Diamond Mines of South Africa, by Gardner F Williams. There are several Brenthurst Press books, also Harald Pager’s Ndedema, the lavish Human & Rousseau edition of Simon van der Stel’s Journey to Namaqualand in 1685, two copies of Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa, and uncommon works such as Leibbrandt’s Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope and the Transvaal republic’s De Locale Wetten der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek 1887-1890. As always, however, we also offer several very affordable books, because book-collecting should be possible for everyone.
We would like to focus, however, on a few titles relating specifically to our region, the Eastern Cape. The front page of the list shows a plate from R M Ballantyne’s Six Months at the Cape, demonstrating the method of unloading baggage and cargo at Port Elizabeth when the boys’ adventure writer visited: lighters would bring items and passengers from the anchored vessels on the horizon, and bearers would complete the final transport through the shallows. This past weekend, as we sat at an elevated lookout studying tranquil Algoa Bay with several boats far out at sea, it was easy to imagine how things were in Ballantyne’s time.
German involvement in Africa was fairly limited in the nineteenth century. For one thing, the Unification of Germany took effect only after the Scramble for Africa was well under way. South West Africa, Tanganyika and Togo would be added to the Kaiser’s realm, but there was also an effort to acquire a stake in Pondoland. This region of the Eastern Cape is today valued for its stunning floral beauty and unspoiled coastline. See the Pondoland scene from Duncan Butchart’s A Guide to the Coast and Nature Reserves of Transkei, shown here. Mining companies intent on exploiting the area’s titanium have of late aroused the ire of environmentalists. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, however, Pondoland remained independent long after other southern African states had been occupied by whites and annexed. This was to change when Herr Nagel and the Cape government began to notice the region’s potential, as three important blue books on Pondoland, offered together in this month’s list, make clear.
The telephone directory for East London and its hinterland includes numerous German surnames. The explanation for this curious fact is to be found in Sir George Grey’s settlement plan for German soldiers under Baron von Stutterheim who had been posted to the ‘Kaffraria’ region at the time of the Crimean War. Civilians followed, and, although the plan was not fully realised, there remain significant German communities throughout the Border area. For the full background, see the fascinating Copies or Extracts of any Despatches concerning German Emigration to the Cape of Good Hope, another blue book appearing in this month’s list.
We sincerely hope that we have something to entertain, stimulate and inspire you. The link for this month’s list can be found here: http://christison.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Newsletter-134.pdf
Lindsay & Wendy