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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rekindling Historically Unofficial Déjà vu


Many years ago, when I was a young Sergeant in the SA Police stationed at head office Wachthuis in Pretoria, the man in charge of our department, a wise grey Colonel nearing pension-age, asked me for a lift home. I felt most honoured to oblige, but also nervous as my old faithful rusty Ford did not have the appearance of a reliable vehicle.

While driving home, the old Colonel remarked casually that the old car was running quite well. He then paused for a second, and before I could remark on his pleasant compliment, he said, “all it needs is a new body and a new engine!”

Don’t ask me why, but this story also reminds me of another incident that happened way back in the year 1615. It is in fact a most interesting story about the first South African ‘settlers’ that put foot on Cape soil. No, they were not who you think they were! They were a shipment of English convicts that arrived in Table Bay. It was the first party of English convicts ever to have been transported from England. Allow me to briefly explain:

The idea of “transportation” was not entirely new, for as long ago as 1597 Queen Elizabeth’s parliament had passed an act authorizing judges to sentence wrongdoers to transportation as an alternative to the death sentence.

Accordingly we find King James granting a reprieve in January 1615 to seventeen Newgate men who had been sentenced to death. They were handed into the custody of the English East India Company, and sailed from England in February 1615 – the first party of English convicts ever to have been “transported”.

The fleet reached Table Bay on 5 June 1615 – a good voyage, since they “only buried three or four men”. There were, however, some thirty “sick and lazy”. A meeting of ship’s captains was held to decide whether to land the convicts. There was disagreement so eventually Captain Keeling of the Dragon, into whose custody the convicts had been given, agreed to only land ten of them.

According to Samual Purchas in his book Purchas his pilgrims the ten men landed at the Cape were Henry Cocket, Clerke, John Crosse, Brand, Bouth, Hunnyyard, Brigs Pets, Matcalfe, and Skilligar.
Source for the above: The unofficial history of the Cape, by Jose Burman – Page 22.

So there we have it - the very first settlers to arrive in South Africa were convicted criminals! How ironic that today, in the year 2011, criminality still rules the roost. 

The moral of the above stories, however, have nothing to do with criminality.

Every day I hear people telling me how well it is going with this country, but they obviously don’t read the news! The current ongoing saga in South Africa reminds me of that old Ford of mine – it kept on running while the bolts and screws were falling off its body and engine. 

President Zuma is apparently in France right now. I wonder if his briefing to the French will resemble the 1615 English captain’s report when he said, “it’s been a good voyage – we only buried three or four men - the rest are sick and lazy.”?

A quick scan of the latest news does not paint a pretty picture of a happy ship cruising safely:
(External links will open in a new window)

On the other hand, I suppose we should be grateful that things have not become as chaotic as LibyaYet!

11 comments :

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Readers who are interested in knowing what happened to the English convicts mentioned in this posting will have to wait for my next article.

Others who know the history, are welcome to share their knowledge in the comment section of this post.

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Please take note that I have made a minor addition to this posting. It was a negligible error I only discovered after posting it. I have added the words “the rest are sick and lazy” (in yellow) at the end of the final paragraph, which starts with… President Zuma is apparently in France…

Any suggestions for an appropriate name for this posting?

Macaw said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Fantastic article. I had no idea of this episode of SA. With regards to a title I am afraid I cannot come up with something at the moment.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Very interesting article Tia. What about: 'History repeats itself' as a title?

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ Anon 9:00 PM

Thanks – that’s a good suggestion for the title!
Shall we wait for other suggestions, before changing it?

Let’s set the deadline for tomorrow 3 March @ 09:00AM - SA time (GMT+02:00

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/durban-s-top-doctors-in-the-dock-1.251012

These were transplanted into kidney patients, mainly Israelis, who paid over $100 000 (R642 140) to fly to South Africa for the operations at St Augustine's Hospital.

The 110 fraud charges related to documentation in which it was stated that the donors and recipients were blood relatives and no money had changed hands, prosecutor Hans Cheetan Lal told Magistrate E Le Grange on Tuesday.

The 110 assault charges related to allegations that complications and other "important considerations" were not explained to the donors and that the operations were a "serious assault on them".

The contraventions of the Human Tissues Act related to the payments to the donors, he said.

Only Haffajee's advocate put up a fuss about the proposed bail amount, the rest agreeing to each pay R50 000.

Suggesting the amount be reduced to R5 000, advocate J P van der Veen said: "My client put in the kidneys... he did see the affidavits... the only real contention is whether or not he knew they were false... he was not involved in some big international conspiracy."

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Hi Tia

How bout De' ja' vu

Keep up the good fight

Groete Boerelander

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Tia, sorry about the irrelevant comments about JP vd Veen and the body parts saga. I saw the debate between Lara Johnstone, Iluvsa and VD Veen and thought this is useful information to see what kind of academic criminals this guy defends. I was not able to post it on Why we are Refugees.

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@ Anon -- March 3, 2011 9:55 AM

No need to apologise!
I have unfortunately not been following the news related to that saga, so I cannot really comment on it. It is I suppose in a weird warped sense somehow related to this posting.

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Thanks for the suggestions with the name change.

I’ve changed it to “Rekindling Historically Unofficial Déjà vu”.

This is something I hardly ever do, but these things happen sometimes when one is in a mad rush and the mind strikes a blank!

I had the same problem with Savage dogs, vicious criminals, and the ANCYL, dated April 8, 2010. The posting also included three seemingly unrelated stories that eventually connect. In the posting about the savage dogs, etc.. I was actually targeting the Manifesto of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).

I’ve noticed that this older posting now has many dead links, including a dead link to a brilliant posting on the old SAS blog called, “On the Eve of War Part 1” – (Don’t know when I’ll get the time to fix all this!)

Some people have no idea what backdrop-chaos ensues when blogs get shut down!!!

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Readers who are interested in knowing what happened to the English convicts mentioned in this posting, can read the full story on the blog of the Tia Mysoa Bookstore

The story is split into 3 parts.... Part 1 is here

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