No. 68, December 2013


Book reviews

In Memoriam


In the peer reviewed articles for issue 68 of the New Contree aspects of the environmental, military, financial as well as social history of the Western and Eastern Cape region of South Africa prominently features. Poverty, personalities and their initiatives are eminent. The entry article on White settlement and irrigation schemes: CF Rigg and the founding of Bonnievale in the Breede river, 1900-c.1953 covers a valuable sample of imperialismembedded settlement history in the heyday of British empire governance in South Africa. The entrepreneurial activities of the Scottish emigrant Rigg in the Breede River paved way for accommodating poor whites on his so-called Riggton plots, which eventually contributed to the establishment of the town Bonnievale.

Then follow Perspective on John Graham and the Fourth Cape Eastern Frontier war of 1811-1812. The outstanding military and intellectual skills qualities of Graham in this War against the Xhosa are critically reviewed for its short term successes but a failure in securing long lasting peace and stability in relations with the Colony’s Xhosa neighbours.

The next article moves further back in time to the period of rule by the Dutch East Indian Company (DEIC). In Public finances under private company rule: The Dutch Cape Colony (1652–1795) the expenditures and revenue sources of the Company at the Cape are under review. Interestingly it’s pointed out in the discussion that the Company’s expenses exceeded its revenues throughout the period under review and that the tax system was broadly progressive. At the time the DEIC apparently did not invest outrageously to secure the economic development of the Cape Colony.

In Early roots of 'coloured' poverty: How much can 19th century censuses assist to explain the current situation? the authors review the pervasive poverty among Coloureds since 1865 from a socio-economic angle, based on census data. The last peer reviewed contribution stand uniquely on its own but with a distinctive point of departure on a probably controversial perceived topic, namely: Threats of Communist expansion in Apartheid South Africa: NP claims versus CIA intelligence perspectives in the years 1960 to 1990. The authors engage with the apparent perception that the threat of Soviet expansionism during the time of South Africa’s Border War during 1966 to 1989 was a fabrication by the National Party government to motivate young men to fight to maintain Apartheid as the main political ideology. By occupying with CIA intelligence reports, these perceptions are contested.

The book reviews also fits nicely into the article offerings of this edition: Refreshing insights are provided on cultural memory and early civilization (author: Jan Assmann); the Slave society of the Cape of Good Hope (author: Karel Schoeman) and the multi-authored effort of WJ Constantine’s newacclaimed perspectives on the Anglo-Boer War.

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