Excellent journal for KZN lovers of history

2012-01-11 00:00

LIBERALS, according to a populist view in this country, played no part in the liberation­ struggle. If contrary evidence were needed, however, this latest edition of Natalia provides it. Prominent is a letter­ written in 1979 from prison by Nelson Mandela to Alan Paton that is full of appreciation­ and warmth. That Paton never received the letter, or two earlier ones, is a reminder of the mean-spiritedness of the prison authorities.

In an article on King’s School in Nottingham­ Road, appreciation too is expressed­ by politician­ Makhosi Khosa­ for how that remarkable, liberal haven provided her with a refuge during the political violence of the eighties.

“For me the school represented the ideal society we were fighting for. It gave me much of my confidence and optimism for later life. The Mitchells [the family that has owned and run Kings since 1939] were our white comrades.”

In this edition, interesting information is also provided­ by articles about a visit in 1910 to uSitaku, a son of King Mpande and nephew of King Shaka, that gives a glimpse of the old Zulu order­; detention without trial in Pieter- maritzburg­ and the midlands­ in the late eighties; World War 2 flying boats over the Zululand coast; colonial river-port shipping on the South Coast; and reminiscences of the early days of the Natal Parks Board. Included too is an article on the danger of lightning, and the phenomenon­’s place in Zulu culture, as well as a consideration of the appropriateness­ or otherwise of using the word “isiZulu” in English discourse.

Mortality also has a place, in the obituaries of Victor Bredenkamp, Bob Crass, Qedusizi Herbert Msimang, ‘Skonk’ Nicholson­, George Quicke and Patricia Rainier.

Being elegant and informative, Natalia­ makes excellent reading for KwaZulu-Natalians who have a love of history.

• Natalia is currently available from Bookworld at the Cascades Centre.

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