• DATE: TUESDAY 9th JULY 2013
  • VENUE: KwaMUHLE MUSEUM, Bram Fischer Road [Ordnance Road] Durban.
  • TIME: Meeting commences at 17h30; Refreshments will be served from 16h45.
  • PARKING: Off Bram Fischer/Ordnance road [next to the Museum]; security person is present who will raise the boom; please wait for him
  • FEATURE: STEPHEN COAN will talk on “SIR HENRY RIDER HAGGARD in Natal” and will focus on Haggard’s time spent in Natal as a young man when he came out on the staff of Sir Henry Bulwer, Lieutenant Governor, in 1875. Stephen Coan is a feature writer on ‘The Witness’, Pietermaritzburg’s daily newspaper, and he has just moved to Durban prior to the launch of a Durban edition of ‘The Witness’.


Recently we have had such a feast of presentations of the early days of Durban what with Franco’s photos of Smith and West Streets in the early days and last month the splendid PowerPoint presentation by Dr Sally Frost of Early Durban and the Royal Natal Yacht Club with evocative photos of an earlier era including photos of some of Nigel Hughes’ paintings [with kind permission!]; reminiscences and stories were included in all the facts given. A most enlightening evening! Amongst the photos shown were a couple of the earlier clubhouses up to the present RNYC, where we, as a Society, are fortunate to have this year’s AGM – more later!


SANS visit to Botha’s Hill: 14h00 13th July 2013
Thanks to Robin Lamplough the proposed circuit covers about 20 km and should take about 2 hours Directions are as follows:

  1. Follow R 103 up Botha’s Hill to Kearsney College gates on left.
  2. Enter Kearsney Gates and pass hockey field on right to congregate in parking area at Greyhound Pavilion, about 300m from gates on right. (Security has been advised of visit.) Please plan to reach this point before 14h00.

The plan is to visit three sites:

  1. A vantage point overlooking the Assagay valley and the location of a Boer homestead.
  2. The remains of Clough’s Halfway House at Alverstone.
  3. The probable site of Botha’s Halfway House.

The party will then follow Robert King to his home at Everton for tea. Robert has generously offered this as a fund raiser for the Killie Campbell Bursary Fund and there will be a charge of R20. We are hoping to attract visitors so do please encourage your friends!


A bottle of wine has been promised for the person who comes up with a ‘catchy’ phrase to go on the letterhead and the NEW website. Have you remembered? The Chairman looks forward to your ideas!
This ‘extra housekeeping’ means that the auction [of the stamps] will be postponed.


In 1909, Sir Thomas Lipton presented the magnificent silver-gilt Lipton Cup to the Table Bay Yacht Club (which later became the Royal Cape Yacht Club). The cup itself was manufactured by British Silversmiths, in Birmingham, during 1908 of solid sterling silver, and then hand gilded with gold plate. The Cape kept a firm grip on the Lipton Cup for well over a decade; in 1985 a Durban club claimed a victory when the University of Natal’s Element won the event. The Royal Natal Yacht Club, the oldest club in Africa, managed a spectacular victory last year at the 2012 Lipton Challenge Cup in False Bay, winning by a mere one point, bringing the prized silverware back to Durban. The Lipton cup is irreplaceable and has enormous historic and sentimental value for sailing and indeed Southern Africa, especially as one of the ‘conditions’ was that “any recognised yacht club that had headquarters between Walvis Bay and Beira could compete for the cup with one representative yacht”. Of interest is that ‘the enamelled plates around the cup are the ‘coats of arms’ of the “five Colonies” being South West Africa [now Namibia], Cape, Natal, Mozambique and Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe]’ The latter was a strange inclusion considering the event was to ‘promote deep-sea sailing’! The Lipton Challenge Cup is a one design class event, meaning that every single yacht is the same design, same length and same weight making the contest a battle of wits, testing the crews’ skill and capabilities out at sea. The victorious team not only takes the ‘holy grail of the aquatic sport of sailing’ back to their club’s trophy cabinet but also hosts the next Lipton Challenge Cup. Defending champions, the RNYC, will host this sailing event offshore, in Durban, from 7-12 July.

It is 95 years ago that Nelson Mandela was born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918. At primary school in Qunu his teacher Miss Mdingane gave him the name Nelson, because it was the custom to give school children “Christian” names. He was born in the tiny village of Mvezo, on the banks of the Mbashe River in the Transkei. “Rolihlahla” in the Xhosa language literally means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but more commonly translates as “troublemaker.”! How appreciative we are of this ‘troublemaker’, who was not afraid to challenge things that were wrong and we wish him well at this time.

It is almost 500 years ago that the flagship of King Henry VIII, the Mary Rose, sank in the Solent on July 19, 1545, whilst leading an attack against an invading French fleet. It was raised from the seabed in 1982 and from May 2013, the new Mary Rose Museum houses many of the 19,000 artefacts raised with the ship, including wooden bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments and combs complete with 500-year-old head lice!! In the chief carpenter’s cabin lies a remarkably preserved backgammon set. Outside was found the skeleton of the carpenter’s dog, a whippet terrier cross that had strong jaws to catch rats.

It was in June 157 years ago that Rider Haggard was born and we look forward to Stephen Coan’s talk, chiefly about the time Haggard spent in Natal.
See you then!

Naureen Craig
22 June 2013

Newsletter July 2013