This is a fascinating first person autobiographical account of one woman’s experiences and life in Southern Africa between the early 1880s and her final years in Johannesburg in the 1960s. Bertha Goudvis enjoyed a long and arduous life (1876 – 1966) during years of turbulent change and several wars. She was a first hand observer of the colonial world and lives on to comment on city life in modern Johannesburg.
South Africa General
I must start this review by declaring an interest... I am a committed, enthusiastic book collector. At times it is a disease but books are like bread and butter in my life. A book is an essential possession. When it comes to books I am a maximalist not a minimalist. At times they take over and one has to introduce discipline and order.
Reviews of two Denis Godfrey books. First up The Enchanted Door published in 1963 followed by Antiques and Bygones: Notes for South African collectors released in 1967. Both books were published by Howard Timmins.
I had not come across this book previously and found that it is a rare volume, as it was produced for family consumption and to commemorate the life of a remarkable South African early business entrepreneur Joffe Marks who established Premier Milling. As Marks died in 1951 aged 89, a book appearing some 50 years after his death is almost half a century too late.
A woman of many firsts. Among these is the fact that Nokukhanya Luthuli was among the first students in the early 1900s to attend all three of Durban's legendary mission education schools.
I first encountered the work of Nic Coetzer when searching for information about the South African presence at the series of Empire exhibitions held in Britain before the Second World War. I was intrigued by his analysis as to why the South African pavilion, for example at the Wembley Empire Exhibition of 1924/25 and again the Glasgow exhibition of 1938 at Bellahouston Park, should have been designed in Cape Dutch architectural style.
Review of the South African Saturday Book. By Eric Rosenthal and Richard F Robinow. No date but published circa 1948 to 1950. Hutchinson. London, illustrated 224 pages.
This is a newly published book and on the bookshelves of your favourite bookshop just before Christmas. It makes an ideal Christmas present. It is something of a stocking filler book which will delight and have wide appeal. Luke Alfred is South Africa’s own Bill Bryson. He writes with an easy flow of style. The book combines memoir, reminiscences, history, travel and reflection. There is a mix of past personal travel adventures and Sunday stepping out and about.
Married to Medicine Dr Mary Gordon Pioneer Woman Physician and Humanist by Jack Metz and Gordon Metz, published by the Adler Museum of Medicine, Faculty of Health Science, University of the Witwatersrand. 2016, 224 pages. ISBN 9780629690232
Royal Automobile Club of South Africa, Route Book, 7th edition, 1930 hard cover, 260 pages plus adverts.
Jill Weintroub is a Research Fellow at the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2006 she completed a M Phil at the University of Cape Town on the Bleek Lloyd archival Collection. It is this collection of notebooks and associated papers collected in the 1870s and beyond that in 1997 were recognized by UNESCO in their Memory of the World Register.
Emily Hobhouse, Beloved Traitor, by Elsabe Brits, published by Tafelberg, 2016, 336 pages, illustrated.
Emily Hobhouse died in 1926 in London. The Manchester Guardian carried a substantial obituary which featured her humanitarian work in South Africa during and after the Anglo-Boer War. However, her obituary in The Times (of London) saw her as a propagandist and agitator of note and attributed the woes of the Boers in the concentration camps between 1900 and 1902 to the ignorance of the Boers themselves. This contrast in obituaries highlights the controversy that surrounded Emily Hobhouse in death as much as in life.
This book could have fooled me! It is a large format, folio sized book in paperback binding. It is all about the Anglo Boer War. It is meant to look like a newspaper. It is a scrap book of the weekly edition of a local newspaper called the "War Reporter." Each issue is two pages long and the series runs from 1899 to 1901. It looks like a compilation of republished and neatly bound newspaper front pages. The paper is coarse grained and one step up from newspaper print. It is a large paperback.
I turned to this book on my shelves because I sought some background information on the Hal Hurst full length portrait of the elegant Mrs José Dale Lace. This now almost iconic Johannesburg society portrait hangs in the drawing room of Northwards. The illustration of the portrait features on the contents page of the Stevenson book but despite its prominent position in the book, there is very little discussion about the background to the portrait or the artist Hal Hurst.
This book by Brenda Schmahmann, Professor in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, is the product of research supported by the National Research Foundation. It is serious, scholarly, provocative and very readable. The work gives a fascinating insight into transition and transformation through the medium of the visual arts, university insignia and art collections assembled by South African universities.
For the Glory of South Africa and the Empire - Five Eastern Cape Soldiers and the Great War, Kathleen Satchwell published 2015 by Kathleen Satchwell, illustrated, 159 pages ISBN 978 0 620 687683
Max du Preez. Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets, unusual stories from South Africa's Past. Zebra Press 2004. 261 pages, paperback, no illustrations. ISBN 186872901x
The Book of Firsts. The Stories behind the outstanding breakthroughs of the modern world. South African Edition compiled by Ian Harrison and Peter Joyce. Foreword by Steve Fossett. Published by Jonathan Ball, 2005. Paperback 288 pages, illustrated.