Jacqueline Kalley is proud of her descent from Dick King, the Natal pioneer who stands tall as a folklore hero of the early 19th century when Durban was very young. He is South Africa’ Paul Revere because he made his epic ride in 1842 from Port Natal/Durban to Grahamstown to summons help when the early English settlers and troops were under siege by Andries Pretorius, the Boer leader, and his Voortrekker clan who sought to extend their own Republic of Natalia. King was young and adventurous, he was an elephant hunter and a trader. He came of 1820 settler stock.
Deneys Schreiner (1923-2008) was a liberal and an academic, a scientist and a Vice Principal at Natal University (Pietermaritzburg Campus). He was known as the man with the flowing beard, which he kept in place and sprouting from his face as a personal protest against the apartheid regime.
Once Natal became a British colony in 1843 there were opportunities for British immigrants to come as settlers, farmers and craftsmen. Over time thousands of such hopeful people arrived by sailing ship to start new lives, establish families and make their fortunes on farms and plantations and estates in Natal from about 1850 onwards or to populate the principal towns, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Ladysmith. Prior to railways, travel inland was arduous so these were pioneers who had to be resilient to survive and thrive.
This week I thought I would write about a Durban book as I am about to spend a couple of days there shortly. I have always had a liking for Durban. For me it was an exciting and welcoming holiday town and as a teenager how I looked forward to a fortnight’s holiday at one of the beachfront hotels enjoying sunshine, sea, sand, sunburn and a South African Christmas.