To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of approximately 4 000 British settlers on the frontier of the Cape Colony in 1820, the Eastern Cape branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa has published this substantial volume of local history, 1820 Settlers and other early British Settlers to the Cape Colony, edited by John Wilmot. At over 600 pages and 175 chapters, this book is a massive chronicle with many descendants contributing stories and family reminiscences about their ancestors.
This is a history of chieftaincies, tribes, rivalries, land congestion, conflict over land and a repeated pattern of rural violence placed in historical context but also with an eye on the intractability of current politics. The background is set with a quick documenting of early history on the Tambookie frontier of the Eastern Cape of South Africa (take a look at the map of the Tambookie or nort-eastern frontier in circa 1845. The focus switches to the colonial attempts to organize and order the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Province, an area of South Africa much
‘Then and Now’ books of photographs are becoming popular. I recently reviewed Vincent Van Graan’s Cape Town: Then and Now (click here to view). There is an appeal in matching old photographs that open a window on the past and then to return to the exact same spot to see the same place as it is today. What has changed and what has remained? It is a form of heritage treasure hunting.