Preceding the arrival of the Dutch farmers in Algoa Bay, intrepid adventurers and naturalists were exploring the area. Amongst this band of hardy individuals was a Swedish naturalist, Carl Peter Thunberg, an apostle of Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. Due to Thunberg’s discoveries in the Cape Colony, he has been awarded the sobriquet of “the father of South African botany”.
Of all the observations made by Thunberg during his three-year stay at the Cape Colony, two of them resonate with me but for vastly divergent reasons. This is the story of Thunberg’s brief sojourn in the wilderness that was Port Elizabeth in the 1770s.
Main picture: Carl Peter Thunberg in later lifeContinue reading