Page 118. " It was a party-line, and two neighbours were talking "

A party line referred to a telephone system, in which two or more customers were connected directly to the same local loop.  Since all parties used the same line, it was possible for subscribers to listen in on other subscribers' calls.  In rural areas in the early twentieth century, additional subscribers and telephones were frequently connected to the single loop available, with numbers reaching several dozen, leading to extreme congestion.

Page 121. " he was hot about the native compound system in the mines "

Kimberly diamond mine compound
Public DomainKimberly diamond mine compound - Credit: PB Holthe
South Africa’s mines housed their black workers in tightly controlled closed compounds.  The system originated in Kimberly’s diamond mines in the 1880s.  Workers’ movements were closely regulated to prevent them smuggling diamonds out of the mines.  The system was later replicated in Johannesburg’s gold mines.  

Workers were housed in large dormitories in hostels.  Different tribes were allocated to different hostels.  The hostels were strictly for men – families had to be left behind in the rural areas. Workers would be locked within the compound for up to six months at a time.

The hostels became major flash points of violence during apartheid. 

Page 125. " the white gabled house of Vergelegen "

Vergelegen, in Somerset West
Creative Commons AttributionVergelegen, in Somerset West - Credit: Raymond Ellis
Vergelegen, which means "remotely situated" in Dutch, is an historic wine estate near Somerset West in the Western Cape. The estate was settled in 1700 by an early Governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan van der Stel.  Van der Stel used the resources of his employer, the Dutch East India Company, to improve the estate.  In 1706 a number of free burghers at the Cape drew up a formal memorandum complaining about van der Stel's activities. As a result, van der Stel and other officials were sacked, and three-quarters of the original Vergelegen estate was sold off.

Page 125. " Sarah Gertrude Millin's Life of Rhodes "

Sarah Gertrude Millin, née Liebson (1889 - 1968) was one of the most popular English-language novelists in South Africa during her lifetime. She also wrote biographies of Cecil John Rhodesand General Jan Smuts.

Her biography of Rhodes is still considered an authoritative source. It was first published in 1933. A revised edition appeared in 1952.

Page 125. " Engelenburg's Life of Louis Botha "

Louis Botha (1862 - 1919) was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.  Engelenburg was his private secretary.  Engelenburg’s book, ‘General Louis Botha’, was published in 1928.