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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.


A lively sketch of some Capetonians by

Alexey Vysheslavtsev,

Our latest publication is the following:

'An Entirely Different World': Russian Visitors to the Cape 1797-1870

Edited by Boris Gorelik

ISBN 978–0–9814264-6-4


2015 AGM and Launch

As Boris Gorelik, the editor of our 2015 volume, An Entirely Different World: Russian Visitors to the Cape 1797-1870 can be in Cape Town only in January 2016, we would like to hold our 2015 AGM then, to coincide with the launch of the volume. The details of our AGM and launch are therefore as follows: The AGM will be held at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday 28 January 2016 at Ravenswood House, 110 Hatfield Street, Gardens (see attached map A). Parking is available in and around Hatfield Street. The AGM will be followed at 6.45 p.m. by the launch of the volume, at which Boris Gorelik will be the main speaker. If you are unable to attend this launch, please join us at a public launch of the volume on Friday 29 January 2016 during the UCT Summer School at 1 p.m. in the cafeteria area in Leslie Social Sciences Building on UCT’s Upper Campus For maps of and directions to the launch venues please consult our Newsletter No 48
Please RSVP by 18 January 2016, indicating which launch(es) you will attend.

New Administrator

Rolf Proske has been appointed in Cora Ovens’s place as administrator as from 1 February. He will be in the VRS office from 09h30 to 12h30 on Wednesdays and Fridays. He will also be present at the AGM and launch at 17h30 on 28th January at Ravenswood House, 110 Hatfield Street, Gardens  – come and meet him there or talk to him on the phone or via email or visit him at the VRS office. He’s longing to meet our members!

Increase of subscriptions

With great reluctance Council has decided that the annual subscription will have to be raised to R230 p.a. in 2016 to cover increased postal, administrative and printing costs. We regret this unavoidable step.

2015 PaarlMedia Visit

Seven of our members saw the presses rolling at our printers and watched our 2015 volume in the making! To read about it, go to the Activities page. 'An Entirely Different World': Russian Visitors to the Cape 1797-1870 is nearly ready for posting - you'll be getting your copy by the beginning of November. As soon as it goes out, you will be able to read all about it here.

New office hours - Please Note!

From 1st October 2015, there will be a change in the opening hours of the VRS office, as follows: From that date we will be open on Mondays from 9.30 to 13.30 and on Wednesdays from 9.30 to 12.30. However, e-mail and phone queries will be handled promptly and books dispatched as usual.

History Prize Winners at UWC

The prize for the best blog in HIS231 in 2015 went to Roxanne Gouws and Kumbula Xebo who led a blog group called 'Am I not a woman and a sister?' The women of the Atlantic slave trade. This group worked very hard and produced a well-researched blog about female abolitionists in Britain and the USA.  They included many illustrations and much information not covered in lectures. There were 14 group members but not all contributed. The VRS kindly donated copies of Trials of slavery as prizes. But in the end we only awarded two copies to Ms Gouws and Ms Xebo (who was unable to be at the final lecture). The prize giving was in the final lecture of the academic year. A third copy was awarded to Brent Abrahams, the top student in the Honours course: Family, sex and gender in the VOC world.

Roxanne Gouws with Andrew Bank

Book Price Increase

It has been a very long time since we have had increases in the prices of our back volumes - and the time has come when we have had to raise them. For details, see Order a publication. There are still some volumes which we are willing to see at R50 each (see the bottom of this page) but we have had to add postage since the recent horrendous increases in postages.

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 (R165 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 (within South Africa) – as many copies as you like and as long as stocks last! Contact the VRS office to place your orders at vanriebk@mweb.co.za or 021 423 8424 (Mondays, and Wednesdays 9.30 to 13.30 or leave a message when no one is in the office). Unfortunately I shall have to charge you postage since the horrendous rise in postal charges in April 2015.