Roger Webster, storyteller, raconteur, heritage supporter, broadcaster and author passed away after a short illness on 6th January 2020. Roger was an enthusiast of South African heritage and history.
South Africa General
The SAR&H Magazine (South African Railways and Harbours) traces its origin to the Natal Government Railways Lecture and Debating Society, formed in the early 1890s in Durban. In December 1904, John McConnachie, the Chairman of the Society and a District Superintendent of the Natal Government Railways (NGR), forwarded a suggestion by a colleague HC Richardson, in a letter to the Secretary, AH Tatlow:
On the 5th December 2013, South Africa was shaken by the sad news of the passing of the “Father of the Nation”, the former President, Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. The beloved international icon of human rights, and reconciliation passed away after having suffered a long-standing lung infection. In commemoration of this towering figure, SAHRA takes a look at his extraordinary life through 6 national heritage sites that played a fundamental role in both Mandela and the Nation’s life.
During Heritage Month 2019 I gave a talk to a preservation group on the story of The Heritage Portal so far. Part of the presention involved unpacking some stats behind the platform. I always keep an eye on what stories are doing well week to week but I'd never done an overall look at the numbers. It was a lot of fun and I emerged from the research feeling deeply proud and humbled by the impact the Portal has had.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie chats to leading figures from South Africa's heritage community to unpack the meaning of the term heritage. The article was originally published on the Brand South Africa website on 25 September 2013. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Currently registered heritage bodies which are organised, funded and run by dedicated volunteers are battling against the lack of practical enforcement efforts by both Provincial Heritage bodies such as Heritage Western Cape as well as at Local Government Level in municipalities.
This week I dropped in to visit James Findlay’s bookshop situated in the basement of the Rand Club. If you have not yet visited the reborn Rand Club it is definitely worth it. Enjoy a coffee at the bar (or go for something stronger) and spend some time out in the bookshop. The Rand Club has come to life with a renaissance and reinvention.
Always in search of original South African photographic images from before 1915, the author recently acquired several photo albums from this era at a Pretoria based antique fair.
One of these photo album stands out in that the theme is purely tennis-based, spanning over a 4-year period (between 1909 and 1913).
It was heartening to hear our President, Cyril Ramaphosa wax lyrical throughout his State of the Nation Address (SONA2019), especially when he said “We also want a South Africa where we stretch our capacities to the fullest as we advance along a superhighway of progress.
Toys, like play itself, serve multiple purposes for both humans and animals (just picture the joy created whilst watching a kitten at play with an arbitrary toy).
Toys provide entertainment and fun whilst fulfilling an educational role at the same time. Although unlikely to have been the original intent, they also enhance cognitive behavior, stimulate creativity and aid in the development of physical and mental skills which are necessary in later life.
Recently the author acquired a Victorian Photo album which contained a number of Carte-de-Visite format photographs of Berlin Mission Society missionaries, all attached to the German Lutheran church in Berlin (dating from between 1865 and late 1870s).
Many readers will have heard the wonderful news that Herbert Prins received the Wits University Gold Medal last week (28 March 2019). The heritage community salutes a living legend! Below is the full citation.
Mr Herbert Prins is a distinguished architect and one of South Africa’s most eminent authorities in the field of architecture, design and heritage. He is renowned for his work in heritage objects conservation, a relatively new field, for which the modalities of practice are still being established.
The map above is of considerable interest as it shows the principal route of travel to South Africa and from the principal ports inland. By 1889 the railway had reached Kimberley from the coastal ports of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and East London; and in Natal the railway went as far as Ladysmith. The Lorenco Marques railway connection went inland as far as Komatipoort. From the terminal points the traveller proceeded by coach.
Many registered trademark ephemera of yesteryear have collectors competing at auctions, markets and antique fairs to find that one elusive, or previously unidentified item for their collections.
On such trademark is Kodak. Registered as a trademark during 1888, Kodak, which was also present in South Africa some years later, undoubtedly was one of the more successful brand names within both the history of marketing and photography.
Ordinances of the Transvaal 1903, 1904 and Statutes of the Transvaal 1907. Whoever wants to look at old, dry, dusty, obsolete law books? Law books date, they take up space on shelves and laws are repealed. Legal language is precise and unemotional. The Transvaal ceased to exist in 1994 and today a completely different provincial government structure has replaced the pre 1994 arrangement of four all white driven apartheid provinces and the 10 bantustans.
Last weekend (Sunday 3rd February 2019) I joined ten heritage stalwarts of Kensington who came together to acknowledge history and pay homage to a remarkable war memorial and the men whose names once appeared on it. We gathered because during January 2019 the memorial had been extensively and probably irreparably damaged. Erica Lűttich had together with her students created an art installation by wrapping the memorial in cloth.
Professor Lipmann Kessel MC, MBE, FRCS (1914-1986) was an eminent surgeon and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, who wrote several important works on orthopaedic surgery, but rather like another well-known doctor, Roger Bannister (1929-2018), Kessel is best remembered for what he did as a young man. In the case of Bannister it was breaking the four minute mile barrier (in 1954) and with Kessel it was his medical role during the famous Battle of Arnhem, in late September 1944.
First National Bank (FNB) just celebrated their 180th birthday on 15 December 2018. What makes this particularly significant is that the FNB storyline runs in parallel with South African history.
Following the true corporate trend, FNB, as it exists today, came about following a complex tapestry of buyouts and amalgamations to become the well-established bank it is today. This journey certainly did not occur without any upheavals – but the bank managed to stand the test of time.
An advantage of book auction sales is that they renew the stream of collectable books coming onto the market and give a fresh spurt to book collecting. New book collectors are encouraged to join the book community. Old book collectors have the opportunity to acquire that elusive appealing title on the wish list. There is nothing quite like the excitement of bidding on an auction sale for a desired treasure, and the market deciding who will be the fortunate new owner.
Forgotten men of the Indian Army left their imprint in Observatory, Johannesburg during the early 1900s. Although their story has been largely forgotten and lost to public memory, a monument at the summit of Observatory Ridge honours their memory. This Indian Monument stands as a memorial to Indians who fell in the Anglo-Boer War / South African War of 1899-1902, overlooking the valley where Indians served at a remount camp during the War. Erected soon after the end of hostilities, the Indian War Memorial was launched in the first flush of peace amidst a wave of