Port Elizabeth of Yore: The First Official South African Cricket Test

Due to its overwhelming British influence, Port Elizabeth was regarded as the most English of all the towns in South Africa during the nineteenth century. Therefore it is fitting that the first official test match – of that most quintessential of English sports, cricket – should be played in Port Elizabeth between the English and South Africa.

Main picture: The South African team in the first test

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John Dunn: Part 1 – Background to the Bondelswarts People & the SAC

Now faded in the mists of time, the Bondelswarts Rebellion of 1922 is a mere footnote to the history of Southern Africa. In the early years of the 20th century, the whole of the area was in tumult. South West Africa was captured by the South Africans from the German colonisers in 1915. With South West Africa now controlled by South Africa in terms of a League of Nations mandate, the khoikhoi peoples of southern SWA became restive, mainly for legitimate reasons. 

This series of blogs covers the first-hand account of a South African Police Force officer, John Dunn, who was involved in the suppression of a rebellion by the Bondelswarts people in southern SWA. 

Part 1 provides context to this rebellion, the Bondelswarts way of life and their homeland and only provides a terse introduction by John Dunn into being assigned second-in-command of the S.A. Police Mobile Squadron. 

Main picture: John Dunn in later years

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John Dunn: Part 5 – Through a Desert Wonderland to Kalkfontein

Now faded in the mists of time, the Bondelswarts Rebellion of 1922 is a mere footnote to the history of Southern Africa. In the early years of the 20th century, the whole of the area was in tumult. South West Africa was captured by the South Africans from the German colonisers in 1915. With South West Africa now controlled by South Africa in terms of a League of Nations mandate, the khoikhoi peoples of southern SWA were also restive. 

This series of blogs covers the first-hand account of a South African Police Force officer, John Dunn, who was involved in the suppression of a rebellion by the Bondelswarts people in southern SWA. 

In Part 5 of the series, John Dunn describes in exquisite detail the beauty of the trip from the Orange River through the dusty town of Warmbad to the railhead at Kalkfontein. 

Main picture: John Dunn in later years

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John Dunn: Part 4 – Unspeakable Cruelty to the Donkeys

Now faded in the mists of time, the Bondelswarts Rebellion of 1922 is a mere footnote to the history of Southern Africa. In the early years of the 20th century, the whole of the area was in tumult. South West Africa was captured by the South Africans from the German colonisers in 1915. With South West Africa now controlled by South Africa in terms of a League of Nations mandate, the khoikhoi peoples of southern SWA were also restive. 

This series of blogs covers the first-hand account of a South African Police Force officer, John Dunn, who was involved in the suppression of a rebellion by the Bondelswarts people in southern SWA. 

In Part 4 of the series, John Dunn provides in graphic heart-wrenching detail the level of unspeakable cruelty inflicted on the donkeys during the convoy’s journey through impassable sand between Steinkopf and Goodhouse on the Orange River. 

Main picture: John Dunn in later years

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John Dunn: Part 3 – From Port Nolloth to Steinkopf

Now faded in the mists of time, the Bondelswarts Rebellion of 1922 is a mere footnote to the history of Southern Africa. In the early years of the 20th century, the whole of the area was in tumult. South West Africa was captured by the South Africans from the German colonisers in 1915. With South West Africa now controlled by South Africa in terms of a League of Nations mandate, the khoikhoi peoples of southern SWA were also restive. 

This series of blogs covers the first-hand account of a South African Police Force officer, John Dunn, who was involved in the suppression of a rebellion by the Bondelswarts people in southern SWA. 

In Part 3 of the series, John Dunn provides his personal reminiscences of Port Nolloth and the trip to Steinkopf. 

Main picture: John Dunn in later years

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John Dunn: Part 2 – The Journey by Sea

Now faded in the mists of time, the Bondelswarts Rebellion of 1922 is a mere footnote to the history of Southern Africa. In the early years of the 20th century, the whole of the area was in tumult. South West Africa was captured by the South Africans from the German colonisers in 1915. With South West Africa now controlled by South Africa in terms of a League of Nations mandate, the khoikhoi peoples of southern SWA were also restive.

This series of blogs covers the first-hand account of a South African Police Force officer, John Dunn, who was involved in the suppression of a rebellion by the Bondelswarts people in southern SWA.

In Part 2 of the series, John Dunn provides his personal reminiscences of a fraught sea voyage in the SS Hypatia from Cape Town to Port Nolloth in hurricane force winds which almost resulted in the loss of the ship itself.

 Main picture: John Dunn in later years

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Corruption in Action: An R11m Bridge in Qwaqwa

A report about two decades ago by a reputable development agency stated that the cost of infrastructural development in Africa was up to ten times most expensive than what it is supposed to be through cost inflation as a consequence of corruption. They sited the case of a modest dam in Kenya which had cost at least five times more than it should have cost. 

Hidden from public view, South Africa also has contracted this contagion. This is an example of the same phenomena occurring in our own homeland. 

These photos were taken at the opening of this impressive bridge

Main picture: Opening a R11m bridge in Qwaqwa

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Lost in the Mists at Magoebaskloof

Tempis fugit. Time flies.

This trail has been the entrée of many a person into hiking. So it was with Malcolm Royal about 20 years ago and his fellow Outbound Adventure Mate, Peter Glover, five years ago. In the case of the latter, it was contemporaneous with a decline in hiking standards within the Quo Vadis Hiking Club. Whether Peter was instrumental in this decline in refusing to adhere to hiking norms such as carrying a hiking pack or whether he merely epitomised the general lowering of standards as the members of the Club reached old age, I am not sure. Whatever the reason, we have now set the bar so low that hiking is optional. So it was this weekend.

Main picture: One of the numerous bridges on the Magoebaskloof Hike

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: From Sandy Hills to Tent Town to Sandy Hills Once Again

For the Settler, this voyage would be the quintessential destination to a terra incognito, not only from a location perspective but also from a livelihood point of view. Most had not been selected psychologically with the criteria of the rugged pioneer in mind nor did many possess any farming skills or aptitude. Apart from the tiny Deal Party, Port Elizabeth, or “landing place with fresh water” as it was shown then on the maps, was merely a waystation en route to the Albany District. As such, their initial impact on this hamlet was minimal; more like that of any itinerant or peripatetic soul. 

Yet their impact would ultimately be immense as those without the requisite farming skills would drift back to the area to apply their skills and their trade. It was only then that the hamlet would be converted from sandy hills into a vibrant fast-expanding town vying with Cape Town as the Colony’s largest city. 

This is the story of this transient herd, their travails and their experiences whilst in Port Elizabeth. By now, the story of the 1820 Settlers is well known and does not form part of the history of Port Elizabeth per se. As such, this blog will focus on the salient facts but not the minutiae of the Settlers’ experiences.

Main picture: Arrival of the 1820 Settlers

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The First Dam

The saga of how Port Elizabeth acquired an unsuitable dam on a trickle of a river as its primary water supply in the 1860s, is explained in this blog. Coupled to these considerations was the fact that the water was not potable, should have raised warning flags. Perhaps it is emblematic of the era where visions were limited by parsimony and despite the Council’s laudable motives, its chosen solution never stood the test of time. 

For all that, the Town Council did protect the interests of its residents by not financing the project itself and when bankruptcy did occur, no losses were borne by the denizens of the town. 

Main picture: Opening the value at the Frames Dam in 1863

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