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noticeThe following articles were originally published in the Amathole Museum's newsletter, Imvubu. Strict adherence to copyright refers. Full reference needs to be made to any of the text in these articles.

Catha Edulis: Research Update

 © Hirst, M. 2004 Imvubu 16: 2,3 

In the April 2003 edition of PlantLife Manton Hirst questioned the conventional wisdom that chewing the fresh leaves and buds of Catha edulis (Vahl) Forsk. ex Endl.(Celastraceae) decreases libido by pointing out that Xhosa users in the Eastern Cape regard igqwaka or ikambi as a sexual analeptic. The claim that qat decreases libido is above all contradicted by the genealogies of Xhosa chewers.

Read more: Catha Edulis: Research Update

Faeces: A Source of Understanding Wildlife

© Kigozi, F. 2002 Imvubu 14:2, 2-3.

Faeces, scat, droppings, pellets or wastes are a source of an enormous amount of information about animals in the wild.

Read more: Faeces: A Source of Understanding Wildlife

Why Lions have Manes?

© Wingate, L. 2005 Imvubu 17: 3, 7

The lion's mane has long been an iconic symbol, yet there has been no clear answer as to why male lions have manes or what function they serve.  Peyton M. West and Craig Packer have spent the last seven years addressing the question using a wide variety of information collected through observations, experiments and physiological assays, such as hormone analyses. Their findings are as follows:

Read more: Why Lions have Manes?

Hares & Rabbits: Similarities and Differences

© Thibedi, L. 2008 Imvubu 20:2, 6.

Hares and rabbits are small, shy, furry mammals found in nearly all parts of the world and classified as Leporidae. They have been valued for centuries as food and for their fur. Domestic breeds are popular as pets. They are also used for experimental purposes in laboratories. Although they have long incisors like rats and mice, they are not rodents. They are lagomorphs, which are distinct from rodents because they have a second set of incisors, though they look alike and are often mistaken for one another.  They have fewer similarities than differences. At first glance, it is easy to mistake a hare for a rabbit particularly at a distance. Distinguishing marks are the hare's longer, black-tipped ears and longer, more muscular hind legs.

Read more: Hares & Rabbits: Similarities and Differences

Ginsberg - an early history researched

 © Pienaar, S. 2003 Imvubu 15: 3.

Mr Bavusile Maaba from the Steve Biko Foundation paid a visit to the History Section in November. The Foundation is currently conducting research on the history of Ginsberg location with the view of possible publication. The Historian subsequently searched through the early local newspapers, especially the Cape Mercury, for more information on the establishment of Ginsberg.

Read more: Ginsberg - an early history researched

The Galla Slaves of Lovedale

© Pienaar, S. Imvubu 2003: 2

In September 1888 the British warship HMS Osprey was cruising in the Red Sea. Private information came to the captain that certain Arab slave dhows were expected to leave the African coast bound for Mocha,of coffee celebrity, where there was an immense market for slaves. The dhows were captured, though not without the loss of some lives, both of the slavers and their victims. Most of the slaves originated from Gallaland near Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). With the exception of four men, all the slaves were women and children, and all in a pitiful condition, particularly the young boys. Nearly all had to be lifted on board the Osprey, their limbs having been so cramped by confinement that they could not function.

Read more: The Galla Slaves of Lovedale

Sarhili's Grave at Tsholorha

© Hirst, M. 2003 Imvubu 15: 1.

On Friday 8 November 2002, I visited the village of Tsholorha in Transkei, together with Mr Donald Davies and Dr Patrick Hutchison of the Border Historical Society, to see the grave of King Sarhili of the amaGcaleka on the Mbashe River. Although preparations for a funeral were in progress in the village, we were warmly received and greeted by the Ward Councillor, the local headman and his son and senior men from the locality who made speeches welcoming us to Tsholorha, once the Great Place of Sarhili during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Read more: Sarhili's Grave at Tsholorha


© Hirst, M. 2004 Imvubu 16: 1, 1-8.

Xhoxho (fl. 1815-1878) was a minor son of Ngqika (c. 1775-1829), Paramount chief or king of the amaNgqika chiefdom.

Read more: Xhoxho

Addo Elephants in the Amathole Museum

© Wingate, L. 2005 Imvubu 17:1, 6.

The origin of many of the mammal specimens on display at the museum is either obscure or limited to a place, a date and perhaps, a collector's name. However, the origin of the two elephants on display is well known.

Read more: Addo Elephants in the Amathole Museum

Illustrations Of Sandile In Death

© Hirst, M. 2005 Imvubu 17: 1, 4-5.

On 7 June 1878 a detachment of the Kaffrarian Rangers, consisting of forty men under the command of Captain John Landrey of the Frankfort special police, recovered Sandile's dead body in the Dontsa Forest (cf. Milton 1983: 278-9, Hummel 1989: 165-6). They wrapped the body in a blanket unceremoniously taken from one of Sandile's councillors, who had assisted the military in locating it. The following day it was strapped on to the back of a horse and taken to Commandant Schermbrucker's camp at Isidenge, where it was placed on an old wagon canvas lying on some straw in a shed.

Read more: Illustrations Of Sandile In Death

'Famous Firsts' - The Soga family

© Hirst, M. 2004 Imvubu 16:2, 7 - 8. 

Tiyo Soga was born in May 1829, at Gwali in the Tyhume valley, when Maqoma, the Right Hand Son of Ngqika, was expelled by the British from Shokoshele in the Kat River valley in the Ceded Territory. Tiyo's father, Old Soga, was the son of Jotello and a leading councillor of Ngqika. Old Soga, by virtue of his rank, was a polygynist, who had eight wives and thirty-nine children. Tiyo's mother, Nosuthu, the daughter of Ngayi, of the amaNtinde, was a Christian and the Great Wife of Old Soga. Tiyo was the fifth-born of Nosuthu's six children.

Read more: 'Famous Firsts' - The Soga family