Page 127. " We set aside one-tenth of the land for four-fifths of the people "
The native reserves made up tiny pockets of land across South Africa
Public DomainThe native reserves made up tiny pockets of land across South Africa

South Africa's 1936 Native Trust and Land Act extended the land set aside for 'native reserves' from 7.3% to just under 13%. 

The Act forbade any ownership or purchase of land by 'natives' outside the stipulated reserves.


Page 127. " The Famous Speech at Gettysburg "
President Lincoln giving his Gettysburg address, 19 Nov 1863
Public DomainPresident Lincoln giving his Gettysburg address, 19 Nov 1863 - Credit: US Library of Congress

US President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on 19 November 1863, during the American Civil War.  The speech marked the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

Lincoln proclaimed that the sacrifices of the Union troops would achieve for the country "a new birth of freedom" in which "government of the people by the people for the people" would prevail.

The Gettysburg Address

Page 131. " Republic! Where would we be if we ever get a republic? "
HF Verwoed's open letter to white South Africans, urging them to vote 'yes' in the referendum for a republic
Public DomainHF Verwoed's open letter to white South Africans, urging them to vote 'yes' in the referendum for a republic

South Africa held a referendum on becoming a republic on 5 October 1960. The Afrikaans-dominated National Party, which had come to power in 1948, regarded South Africa's status as a Commonwealth realm as a relic of British Imperialism, and was strongly pro-republic.  The opposition United Party actively campaigned for a 'No' vote.

Prime Minister HF Verwoed wrote an open letter to South Africa’s voting population urging them to vote in favour of a republic, for the sake of their children’s ‘unity, safety and prosperity’.

The proposal was approved by 52% of voters.  The Republic of South Africa was constituted on 31 May 1961.

Page 146. " but there is a place called Hofmeyr already "
President Jan Smuts (right) and his Deputy Jan Hofmeyr (left)
Public DomainPresident Jan Smuts (right) and his Deputy Jan Hofmeyr (left) - Credit: from "Jan Hofmeyr, Heir to Smuts", by Tom Macdonald, published April 1948

Hofmeyr is a town in the Karoo, in the shadow of the Bamboes Mountain Range, about halfway between Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth. 

It takes its name from Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, who served as a Cabinet Member in the government of Prime Minister Jan Smuts.  Hofmeyr stood in as Prime Minister several times during the period of the Second World War, when Smuts was frequently abroad.


Page 146. " such unpronounceable names: Blyvooruitzicht, and Welgedacht, and Langlaagte, and now this Odendaalsrust "
Gold mine, South Africa
Public DomainGold mine, South Africa - Credit: Babakathy

Blyvooruitzicht is a gold-mining village about 80km from Johannesburg, near the town of Carletonville.

Welgedacht is situated in Utrecht, near Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal, and is a major coal mining area.

Langlaagte is the farm on which Johannesburg’s major gold reef was discovered.  On 20 September 1886, Langlaagte, along with the farms Driefontein, Elandsfontein, Doornfontein, Turffontein, Randjeslaagte, Paardekraal, Vogelstruisfontein and Roodepoort, were proclaimed as a public digging.

Odendaalsrus is a small town in South Africa’s Free State province. Gold was discovered on a local farm, called Geduld, in 1946.

Page 146. " the United Party, that stands for co-operation and fellowship and brotherly love and mutual understanding "
Prime Minister Barry Hertzog
Public DomainPrime Minister Barry Hertzog - Credit: Africana Museum, Johannesburg

The United Party ruled South Africa between 1934 and 1948. It was formed by a merger of most of Prime Minister Barry Hertzog’s National Party and Jan Smuts’ South Africa Party.  It drew support across several parts of South African society, including English-speakers, Afrikaners, and ‘Coloureds’. 

National Party members who were unhappy about the merger left the party to form the Reunited National Party. They went on to win power from the United Party in the 1948 election, and to introduce their policy of apartheid. 

Page 147. " not the kind they speak at Rhodes or Stellenbosch "
Rhodes University, Herbert Baker clocktower
Public DomainRhodes University, Herbert Baker clocktower - Credit: Rossvdlinde

Rhodes University is located Grahamstown, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The university, named after Cecil John Rhodes, was established in 1904 with a grant from the Rhodes Trust.  It is one of South Africa’s smaller universities, with around 7000 students. 

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe "Ou Hoofgebou" (old main building) Stellenbosch University - Credit: Dfmalan

Stellenbosch University, in the Western Cape, opened as the Stellenbosch Gymnasium in 1866, became the Stellenbosch College in 1881, and Stellenbosch University in 1918.  It is one of very few predominantly Afrikaans universities in the country.

Page 147. " he burns bright in the forests of the night, writing his extraordinary paper "

Plate printed by the author, 1794
Public DomainPlate printed by the author, 1794 - Credit: William Blake
Paton is referencing William Blake’s poem The Tyger, published as part of Blake’s collection Songs of Experience in 1794.  It begins with the verse:

“Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

Page 148. " Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, one of the great men of the mines "

Ernest Oppenheimer was born in Germany in 1880.  He began his working life at 17, when he entered Dunkelsbuhler & Company, a diamond brokerage based in London and owned by his uncle, Anton Dunkelsbuhler.  In 1902, at the age of 22, Oppenheimer was sent to South Africa to represent Dunkelsbuhler as a buyer in Kimberley.  In 1917, Oppenheimer founded Anglo American, a gold mining corporation.  Within a few years Anglo American had absorbed De Beers Consolidated, South Africa’s diamond monopoly.  Anglo American was established as a giant conglomerate, and the Oppenheimer dynasty was born.