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was followed by the first of three spirited launches of An
Entirely Different World, at which a copy was presented to our
special guest, the Russian Federation’s consul-general in Cape Town,
Mr Roman E. Ambarov. After the editor had explained to a fascinated
audience how he had come to compile the book, everyone filled the
house’s formal garden to enjoy a rich array of refreshments until
well after sunset.
Members settling down for the AGM
socializing in the lovely garden of Ravenswood after the AGM and
just before the launch...
spread for the party afterwards. which went on till late
spoke entertainingly again about the book at two further launches,
the one next day during UCT’s Summer School, at which he presented a
course on ‘Russians at the Cape’.
Boris Gorelik at UCT
and the other at Bookdealers bookshop in
Johannesburg on 11 February. Also, he was interviewed about his
volume on radio twice.
Boris and Council member Professor Jane Carruthers at the Bookdealers' launch in Johannesburg...
...and the obligatory party afterwards!
2015 Visit to PaarlMedia, our Printer
We started a tradition last year! On Tuesday 15th Ocotber 2015,
seven or our members visited PaarlMedia to see our book for this
year ('An Entirely Different World': Russian Visitors to the Cape
1797-1870) rolling off the presses! They were conducted round
the vast building by Jermayne Dryden and Rhosa Chamba who went out
of their way to make the visit entertaining, informative and just
unforgettable. Coffee and biscuits afterwards concluded a memorable
PaarlMedia's impressive frontage
In the entrance hall, the beautiful memorial to the workers who died
in the fire at PaarlMedia's old factory in 2008
And here they all are: Jackie Loos,
Allain Ravelo-Hoerson, Andrew Duncan, Sandy Shell, Francois Verster,
Peter Wight and Elizabeth van Heyningen...
... and their faithful cicerones, Rhoda
Chamba ans Jermayne Dryden
Sandu Shell holds up the cover
Jermayne displays the pages telling Posyet's story
Elizabeth van Heyningen was at there from
23 – 25 October to talk about Olive Schreiner’s letters. The talk
was well received, four new members were gained and a great time was
had by all. The Bookbedonnerd Fair has been running for several
years now. It's organised by Darryl David of UKZN, Pietermaritzburg,
who brings a delightfully relaxed and friendly atmosphere to the
event. Since there were no parallel sessions, everyone was able to
attend all the talks and, in between, authors and readers were able
to meet and chat.
A cheerful Elizabeth and other speakers!
Very fifties, isn't it?
Can you spot the Schreiner for sale?
The sessions, which were very bilingual, ranged
from talks by a Natal vet, to a number of poets reading in both
English and Afrikaans, a history of Barrydale and a volume on
Eastern Cape bridges. The latter sounds dry but the author won us
all over by his enthusiasm, as did many of the other speakers.
Richmond is a long way from anywhere and accommodation is limited
but it is a really worthwhile Fair.
In the evening, an "Elvis" concert!
Elizabeth says: "If I can possibly work it, I’d
like to make the VRS presence a regular. I had such fun that I’m
quite happy to go on my own account if Darryl can’t fund everyone.".
Here's the Boekbedonnerd website:
Book Fair Friday
13th to Sunday 15th June 2014
Our brave, noble and beautiful
volunteers: Sandra Commerford, Howard Phillips, Nigel Amschwand,
Tanya Barben, Stephen Craven, François Cleophas, Yvonne Reynolds and
Cora Ovens staffed the tiny "Publishers' Pavilion" in three shifts
every day. They recruited 12 new members and sold 23 of our
beautiful volumes. We thank them heartily!
Sandra and Nigel beguiling a customer!
Cora looking a bit apprehensive!
It was lovely meeting members new and
old and networking a bit.
Since we had received a lot of complimentary tickets from the
organisers, we sent out a quick email to Western Cape members
telling them that the first ten to phone would get a free ticket,
and members Patrick Tummon, Chris Rainier-Pope, the Librarian at the
Iziko Museum, Mike Bosazza, Ian Rauch, Joe Tyrrell, John Plummer,
Alain Ravelo-Hoërson, Wilhelm Snyman and James McFarlane got there
Moreover, Howard Phillips was interviewed on Fine Music Radio by
Gorry Bowes-Taylor and we offered a prize of one of our volumes to
the person who first phoned in the correct answer to a simple
question. Renate Krentz was the lucky winner!
Renate Krentz, holding the copy of
Trials of Slavery she has won
We have quite a few
soundbites on VRS matters! Gillian Godsell
interviewed our member Gerald Groenewald (whom some of you may have
heard lecturing on our volume 36, Trials of Slavery, which he
co-edited with Nigel Worden, in January 2009 at UCT’s Summer School)
about the VRS on Radio Today, a Johannesburg radio station, on
Tuesday 22nd September 2009. Click on
interview to listen in!
also have Randolph Vigne's
interview with Gorry
Bowes-Taylor on Thomas Pringle.
And the websites of two interviews with Peter Limb on A B Xuma, at
the pipeline for publication in future years are works in a
variety of genres, from 18th century travellers’ accounts
to diaries of long-time residents of the Cape and collected letters
by prominent South Africans. In the last category, for instance, are
the letters of politicians like M. T. Steyn (president of the
Orange Free State from 1896 to 1902) and Dr A.B.
Xuma (president of the A.N.C from 1940 to 1949), of novelists
like Olive Schreiner (author of The Story of an African Farm), and of doctors
like James Barry (about whose sexual identity far more has been
written than about his important medico-political work at the Cape
between 1816 and 1828).
the category of travellers’ accounts two forthcoming works stand
out, Peter Kolb’s Caput Bonae Spei hodiernum (‘The Cape of
Good Hope Today’), originally published in German in 1719, and
Ensign August Frederik Beutler’s account of his pioneering
expedition to the Eastern Cape in 1752, while in the category of
diaries, those of Lady Anne Barnard’s sometime manservant, Samuel
Eusebius Hudson, and of the Eastern Cape missionary, the Reverend
James Laing (1803-1872), will add richly to our knowledge of
emerging Cape society.
Despite their diversity, what all of the above have in common are
the fresh perspectives they will offer on South African history from
an array of contemporaries, fulfilling the VRS’s goal of enabling
its members to listen to the past in its own words.