From the Attic

Sam Basch
Sam Basch

From Magersfontein to Matjiesfontein

It might seem curious that a high-ranking Scottish soldier who fell in battle at Magersfontein near Kimberley during the South African War should be buried 700 kilometres away at Matjiesfontein. Perhaps it was a matter of honour for a fellow Scot, the owner of the tiny Karoo village. For the other fallen, a poignant memorial was erected on the battlefield. This brings to mind what Benjamin Franklin once said: There never was a good war, or a bad peace.

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Sam Basch
Sam Basch

Brilliant minds

“… errors are notoriously hard to kill, but an error that ascribes to a man what was actually the work of a woman has more lives than a cat.”

This was the wry comment from Hertha Ayrton, British engineer, mathematician, physicist, inventor and activist, on learning that her friend Marie Curie’s work was credited to Curie’s husband. Why, for all she achieved by dint of hard work and a brilliant mind – and others like her – is Hertha Ayrton’s name not among the ‘Great Britons’ – like that of her compatriot Isambard Kingdom Brunel? Denial of women’s talent?

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Sam Basch
Sam Basch

Time travel

Hidden away in the Cathkin Valley near Champagne Castle in the central Drakensberg is a country store – more correctly the ‘Negosie Museum’. It is designed to take one through a nostalgic time warp into your childhood years of the 1960s, with household goods and foodstuffs of that period, still in original packaging.

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