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The Van Riebeeck Society was founded in 1918 with the purpose of making primary sources available in a readable and enjoyable form to anyone interested in Southern African history. Since then a volume has been published every year, with very rare exceptions. The Society depends for its survival on its members, whose fees finance the publications; and its editors, who have selected and edited the volumes. Society publications have achieved a high academic standard and out-of-print volumes have become valuable Africana.


Our latest publication is the following:

The World's Great Question:
Olive Schreiner's South African Letters 1889 - 1920

Edited and Introduced by Liz Stanley and Andrea Salter

ISBN 978-0-9814264-5-7

Book Fair 2014

Have a look at our activities page for a report!

Visit to PaarlMedia

Again, have a look on our Activities page for some lovely pictures!

Stop Press – 2014 volume – Launches

The Cape Town launch will be held in the Kalk Bay Community Centre, 26 Main Road, St James at 15h30 on Saturday, 9th August 2014 (Women's Day). And very suitable too, since Olive Schreiner was a fiery protagonist of women's rights. The book, The World's Great Question: Olive Schreiner's South African Letters 1889–1920, will be introduced by editors Liz Stanley and Andrea Salter. The launch will be preceded by the AGM of our Society at 14.15 sharp. Here's the Community Centre

and there will be directions (and a map) of how to get there in our latest newsletter (no. 45) which will be sent out shortly!
But the exciting news is that there will be three Eastern Cape launches!. The first one will be in Cradock at the Schreiner Karoo Writers' Festival on 25th to 27th July. Liz Stanley and Andrea Salter will be there as well as Howard Phillips – and a lot of Schreiner volumes!
Next, at the Rhodes University Cory Library, Cornelius Thomas will host a launch featuring council member Nick Southey and editor Liz Stanley on 28th July, and the next evening, 29th July, Nick Southey and Liz Stanley will be at the Bayworld Museum, Port Elizabeth, at a launch hosted by Emile Badenhorst!
So you can take your pick!

2013 Volume

This year we are publishing as our annual volume the diary of Ensign August Friedrich Beutler's exploratory overland journey to the Eastern Cape in 1752. Its title is Into the Hitherto Unknown (as Beutler's instructions put it) and it will include the original Dutch text face-to-face with a lively, first-time ever English translation (by Thea Toussaint van Hove and the late Michael Wilson). The volume is introduced and edited by Hazel Crampton and Jeff Peires who have added exhaustive footnotes to elucidate the rich text which, inter alia, reveals a very different situation on the ground in the pre-colonial Eastern Cape to that currently presented by historians. In addition, Carl Vernon has recalculated Beutler's route (the original compass readings given by Beutler would have landed him in the middle of the Indian Ocean!) and mapped the route accordingly in this volume. Portions of the expedition's original colour map by Carel Wentzel are also included.
The Cape Town launches as well as the Eastern Cape ones, were great successes! For story and pictures, see the Activities page.
We have our first review from Grocott's Mail - have a look at
And here's a good long one in the QB: beutlerreview2.pdf

We have a volunteer!

Mrs Emile Shreve started with us on Wednesday 26th February. She will be coming into the office every Wednesday all the way from Somerset West to help with parcelling, receipting, filing and other jobs. We are so happy to have her - and hope she will be happy working for us. Welcome, Emile!

New subscription rates for 2014

We have increased our local SA members' subs by 10% to R165 per annum. Student members will now pay R120 for their first two years of membership and SADC country members will pay R200 per annum. The foreign memberships will remain at 25, US$45 and €35.

New office hours

From February 10th 2014, the VRS Office in the Centre for the Book will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (not Fridays) from 9.30 to 13.30. Sandra Commerford will be on duty on Mondays and Cora Ovens will be in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Gift Token

We designed a gift token (to be used for either gift memberships or volumes) a couple of years back. Exco decided it should be available on the web - and here it is! With Christmas coming soon, what could be a better gift than a membership or a favourite volume of one of our books? Simply download the gift token, complete it and send to us with your payment (R150 for membership; consult us about prices for books). We'll stamp it and forward it to the lucky recipient!

 Changed Banking Details

Our Standard Bank branch at Adderley Street has closed down (without warning us). Our new banking details are: Standard Bank, current account, Thibault Square, Branch code 02 0909, Account no 07 051 2035


We are happy to announce to our foreign members ONLY that we now have Paypal. To pay your subs (of $45), simply click on the Subscribe button. South African members pay, as usual, by cheque or direct bank transfer (EFT).


We're now on Facebook!  Click on  to add your views and comments on this innovation

Extra-special offer for members only – rock-bottom prices!

In order to clear some space in our store room, we have decided to make a special offer to members only: you may order any of the back volumes on the list at a price of R50 post free (within South Africa) – as many copies as you like and as long as stocks last! Contact Cora Ovens to place your orders at vanriebk@mweb.co.za or 021 423 8424 (Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays 9.30 to 13.30 or leave a message when no one is in the office).