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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.

From 'Stuffed Goose' to 'White Elephant': A Short History of King's Water Supply

© Victor, S. Imvubu 16: 2, 1. 

I recently received an enquiry regarding the location and history of Dunbar Lake. Thinking it was located near East London, I was surprised to learn it is situated approximately 5km outside King William's Town on the road to Stutterheim. It dams the Buffalo River a kilometre below the old Convent farm at Izeli. King William's Town still draws water from the reservoir today. Wanting to know more about King's water supply in general, I uncovered the following facts.

Read more: From 'Stuffed Goose' to 'White Elephant': A Short History of King's Water Supply

A Tribute to Professor D D. T Jabavu (1885 -1959): Eminent Scholar, Anthropologist, Educator & Author

© Cindi, F. Imvubu 17: 2, 1    

Professor Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu, the son of John Tengo Jabavu, was born on the 20 October 1885 in King William’s Town. J.T. Jabavu was a pioneer African politician and educationist who in 1884 founded Imvo Zabantsundu, South Africa’s first Xhosa newspaper, in King William’s Town and one of the founders of the South African Native College, now Fort Hare University, where his son was to gain renown as a scholar, teacher and Christian gentleman.

Read more: A Tribute to Professor D D. T Jabavu (1885 -1959): Eminent Scholar, Anthropologist, Educator &...

Nompendulo High School Massacre 20th Anniversary

© Cindi, F. Imvubu 17:2, 1.

On Tuesday, 23 July 1985 a student meeting was held at Nompendulo High School in Zwelitsha, near King William's Town. I was a student there at the time. When the students started protesting for better education the Ciskei police responded with violent action, resulting in four students drowning in the Buffalo River near Zwelitsha and others being injured and subsequently arrested.

Read more: Nompendulo High School Massacre 20th Anniversary

Isiko Lokuzila: the custom of mourning

© Hirst, M. 2006 Imvubu 18: 1, 7-8.

The primary meaning of the Xhosa transitive verb ukuzila, to mourn, is to abstain (cf. McLaren 1936/1955: 194, Pauw 1975: 102). Following the death of the male household head or a traditional leader, more especially in former times, various restrictions or avoidances apply to dress, diet and routine daily activities, such as the performance of chores or work, and social and sexual relations (cf. Pauw 1975: 101).

Read more: Isiko Lokuzila: the custom of mourning

The amaCirha Chiefdom: Fact or Fiction?

© Hirst, M. Imvubu 18: 1, 6.

In Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa's Creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People Noel Mostert (1992: 462) makes a surprising gaffe in reference to the clan membership of Ntsikana's father, Gabha, whom he fails to mention by name (cf. Raum 1968: 396). According to Mostert (Ibid., op. cit.), "Ntsikana came from the most ancient of all Xhosa royal lineage. His parents belonged to the Cira (sic) chiefdom, the oldest historically of all the Xhosa chiefdoms. Its founding chief, Cira, had been overthrown in the remote past by his brother Tshawe, whose descendants subsequently formed the royal dynasty to which Hintsa, Ngqika and Ndlambe all belonged." Although few historians are likely to find fault with Mostert's last sentence, the reference to the amaCirha chiefdom is certainly misleading.

Read more: The amaCirha Chiefdom: Fact or Fiction?

The Significance of Beadwork

© Cindi, F. 2006 Imvubu 18:1, 5.

Although Portuguese traders introduced glass beads to the Southern African sub-continent during the sixteenth century, it was not until the 1930s that beadwork reached its apogee as a distinctive cultural form among Bantu-speakers. Beads are used for personal ornamentation as well as the decoration of garments and objects.

Read more: The Significance of Beadwork

Dimbaza: An Introductory History

© Victor, S. 2006 Imvubu 18: 1, 3.

The Historian is currently involved in researching and recording the history of Dimbaza. Sponsored by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the project forms part of Buffalo City Municipality's Dimbaza Wall of Remembrance and Hall of Fame initiative. Apart from gathering all documentary sources on the township, the Historian and an independent consultant, Mr Mfundiso Mahlasela, are also training four fieldworkers to conduct oral history. Money thus fundraised is utilised towards a salary for a Collections Manager in the History section.1

Read more: Dimbaza: An Introductory History

‘A Model For Municipal Corporations’

© Victor, S. 2006 Imvubu 18:2

The photographs show what remains of the settlement known as Bidhli (or Beasley) Experimental Farm, situated on the West Bank of the Buffalo River overlooking present-day Schornville. The manager's and overseer's houses can be seen in the photograph on the left and one of the worker's cottages on the right.

Read more: ‘A Model For Municipal Corporations’

Meerkats top of class at teaching

© Thibedi, L. 2006 Imvubu 18: 2. 

Scientific research has found that the Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) are not only pretty looking but are also the only intellectual wild animals where the adults make an effort to actively teach their young. In most of the wild animals the parents assume that the young will pick it up as they go along. After observing meerkats from Africa the researchers from the University of Cambridge, Alex Thornton and Katherine McAuliffe, concluded that wild meerkats school their own and relatives' young. They show the young what is edible and what is dangerous instead of teaching the young by just eating in front of their pups like other animals do with their young.

Read more: Meerkats top of class at teaching

Bell Rocks

© Victor, S. 2006 Imvubu 18: 3, 6.

An ancient 'ringing stone', found at a road construction site near Lone Tree Station outside Berlin, is to become a feature in the Garden of Remembrance planned for Heroes Park on the East London beachfront. In the Border area, as well as the rest of the country, many of these bell rocks, also known as musical rocks or lithophones, dot the landscape. Bell stones have cultural significance worldwide and King William's Town is no exception.

Read more: Bell Rocks

Fabulous River Monster

© Hirst, M. 2006 Imvubu 18: 3, 3.  

On 20 June Mr Norushe, a regional manager at the Civic Centre in King William's Town, visited the museum, where he related the following anecdotal information. He said that he owns a farm near the Keiskamma River and is interested in developing the area through tourism. He thought that the story he had to tell would be a huge tourist attraction. He said that he grew up in Zingcuka, near the Keiskamma River, below Hogsback. Apparently, a huge snake, which has a light on its head, lives in the river. And neither animals nor people come near it.

Read more: Fabulous River Monster