14 09 2007

The notice on the door of the Cape Town archives.

I know, I know…its very small but just click on the image to enlarge…

Cry the beloved country – yet again…

14 09 2007

South African Genealogy

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Notices stating that cameras and other recording devices would be banned from the Cape Town Archives from Friday 14th September, 2007 were posted at the archives this afternoon (Thursday 13th September, 2007).

No explanation is provided on these posters but it would seem that copies of documents may now only be ordered from the archives staff for a fee. No details on costs are as yet available.   As soon as this information is made available it will be published on this site.                 


Isn’t this against the Constitution? To deny free access to information?? Please go the the site given above and cast you vote, if you are at all interrested…

Holiday snaps…

13 09 2007

Dullstroom     Sedgefield again.

The wild coast at dawn.

 Some of SA’s best kept “public” secrets – the Wild coast and Machadadorp district. I had the priviledge of growing up In the Transkei in the 70’s,  having weekends and long holidays all along the Wild Coast as a youngster. Looking back, I now know that youth is wasted on the young.  

To reflect and… Act.

19 08 2007

I cannot take credit for the contents of this post but it is thought provoking…

“This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt, that are more than 2000 years old and are poor.

On the other hand, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries and are rich.

The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available
natural resources.

Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw material from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate of the world.
In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year.
Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality.
It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order and labor, which made it the world’s strong safe.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference.

Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.

1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
2. Integrity.
3. Responsibility.
4. Respect to the law and order.
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
6. Work loving.
7. Strive for saving and investment.
8. Will of super action.
9. Punctuality.

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.
We are not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us.
We are poor because we lack attitude.

We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies.
If you do not forward this message nothing will happen to you. Your pet will not die, you will not be fired, you will not have bad luck for seven years and also you will not get sick.

If you love your country, let this message circulate for a major quantity of people could reflect about this & CHANGE, ACT!!”

The power and resillience of the human spirit.

15 08 2007

Katrina* was born in a small village in Holland in the early 1930’s. She and her sister lived with their parents in the rural setting that had been their family homestead for 8 generations. Their father was a violinist and part-time carpenter. Their idillic, happy world was shattered when the Nazi’s invaded Holland, turning their lives into a living Hell. Her father, being an educated man, was sent off to a consentration camp. Katrina* and her sister, after enduring unspeakable hardships, along with most of the children from the village, were sent to foster families on farms, away from build up areas. Before they left, the children had to be vaccinated against Diptheria. All the children lined up at the school, waiting their turn. One after the other, screaming and crying children ran from the building. Katrina* was terrified and decided this was not for her, and made off.

Not long after that, she contracted Diptheria and became very ill. So ill, in fact, that a priest was called to administer the Last Rights. But Katrina* pulled through.

She spent 4 lonely months on a dairy farm, working for her supper. She found solis and peace amongst the cows she had to milk twice a day. Nuzzled up-against their warm bodies, those gentle bovines took on the role of mother and friend as well as providing the added bonus of an endless supple of warm, creamy milk to suppliment her meagre diet.

At home, her mother tried to keep house and home together as best she could. One afternoon, after returning from the village, she was shocked and terrified to see a pair of mens shoes, placed neatly on the step at the front door. Summoning the support of a neighbour, they went to investigate a pall of smoke coming from the back yard. They found a man, emaciated, dirty and completely naked, standing over a small fire. They called out – the man turned – it was Katrina’s* father. He was burning all the clothing he had been wearing.

The sequence of events was never fully related to me but somehow he had escaped, got hold of a Nazi uniform and walked all the way home. His left arm had been badly broken and had healed askew resulting in his never being able to play his beloved violin ever again. In fact, he never even listened to ANY music ever again.

After the war was over, the family immigrated to South Africa in 1948.

Katrina* met and married her husband, Tom*, having 3 children, living happily until 1994 when Tom* died suddenly at the age of 62.

Tom* was a “take charge” kind of guy meaning that Katrina* had never paid a bill or balanced o cheque book in her life – till then. After Tom’s* death, Katrina* would have nightmares about whether she was handling her affairs the way Tom* would have done. After 2 years, she found herself again. Having drawn on lessons from her past, she steeled herself and did it “her way”. And it was good.

Slowly but surely, age takes it’s toll on all of us in one way or another. Katrina* started having difficulty in walking. Osteoperosis of the hip takes one on a slow and progressive downhill slide. 50 years ago, people in her position would have been crippled, wheel-chair bound or even bedridden. After 6 months of suffering, Katrina* decided to have the surgery. By that time she was at the point of alomst comlpete immobility.

After 4 hours of surgery, 2 days in ICU, she was discharged on day 5. It is now day 9 and she is up and about albeit, for now, with the aid of crutchers. I stand in awe of this woman. As a teenager, I didn’t want to be anything like Mom – I wanted to DO more, BE more – but now I’m glad to say that I am just like her and I’m proud of it.

*Not their real names.

In case someone comes searching.

28 07 2007

The life and death of a fallen ancestor.

Julius Wronsky was born on the 22 January 1889 at “Makouwrskop”, district Wolmaranstad, Tranvaal, Union of South Africa. His parents were Fritz and Maria (neé Libenberg), Fritz and his three brothers, Ludwig, Eric and Wilhelm emigrated from Prussia in the mid- to late 1800’s arriving in the port of Cape Town. They were “Russian Jews”.

Julius had 2 siblings, Alice Elizabeth and William Henry Wronsky. Julius and William attended St. Andrews college in Grahamstown in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. After completing his schooling, Julius studied to be a teacher at the Normal College in Pretoria, South Africa. After teaching for a number of years, he enlisted and was drafted into “C” company, South African Irish regiment on the 5 October 1914. (No. 260). During his time with the SA Irish, he was involved in the German South West Africa Rebellion and the “S. A. H.” (Highlanders?) He was discharged from that Regiment on 23 July 1915. On the bottom of a pay-slip, Julius’s next of kin was given as “Miss A. Wronsky, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, Cape Colony”.

Not long after that, on the 7 September 1916, Julius enlisted again, being drafted into the 2nd Brigade of the South African Infantry, No 7646. On his “Certificate of Medical Examination” is stated the he was 5’8 ¼ “ tall, weighed 175lbs, “flush” complexion and “fair” hair. He was re-assigned on the 20th October 1916 at Robert’s Heights/Potchefstroom to the 2nd Regiment 1st SA Infantry Brigade (Overseas), No. 10348. At that time (11 month later), his complexion was “dark”, eyes “blue” and hair “dark brown” and his weight 165lbs. Strange transformation.

He embarked on the “Walmer Castle” on the 6th November 1916 in Cape Town arriving in Southhampton, England. He left for the front on the 25th February 1917 and joined his unit on 26th February 1917. Julius was killed in action at the battle of Arras, France on the 9th April 1917. He was buried at the “Brown Line British Cemetery, North of St. Laurent Blangy, 1 ¼ miles North East of Arras.

In a letter from the Office of the Staff Officer, War Records, Pretoria, dated 28th December 1920, his next of kin (then given as W. H. Llyod-Wronsley, 4 Mayfield Terrace, Newington, Edinburgh, Scotland) was informed that Julius’s remains were exhumed and re-interred at the Point-du-Jour Military Cemetery No. 1. 2 ½ miles East North East of Arras, France.

All SA troops who saw service in any of the theatres of the war – in Julius’ case – the Western Front – received at least 2 medals. The British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

The BWM was an automatic award you almost just had to report for duty for that one while the AVM was awarded only if you were in a theatre where fighting was taking place.

Julius would have been awarded the medals posthumously them going to his next of kin.

R. I. P.

Who am I?

28 07 2007


100% nascisistic but the soul-searching revealed some stuff…try it!

• I want to be known as a devoted daughter, wife, mother and friend.
• I love music – anything form Karen Zoid to Led Zeppelin, Metallica to Mozart. (Whether its my I-pod in the gym, CD’s in my car or at home, sometimes very loud and other times in the background).
• My favorite food is crayfish. (Although don’t get to savor it too often!)
• My favorite drink is double Jack on the rocks with a splash of lime.
• I love walking on the beach.
• I am a keen twitcher (bird watcher).
• I love going for long walks in the bush and going on holiday to places where there is no electricity.
• I must have fresh bed linen on my bed. (The thought of mites in my mattress and linen feeding off dead human skin and bodily fluids freaks me out!).
• Reading is one of my favorite past-times.
• I read the newspaper from front to back (even the “hatched, matched and dispatched!”)
• I grow African violets.
• I have a very wide general knowledge. (Mostly totally useless information!!).
• I feel proud when I drive past a house or building that I designed or had a hand in.
• I like to watch are doccies (with the exception of 7de Laan – yes, a soapie!!)
• I love to laugh and cry easily during sad movies.
• I can never remember or tell jokes well.
• I cannot stand pretentious people.
• I will avoid confrontation at all cost but there is a line that if crossed – well, lets just say it can get ugly.
• I clean furiously when I’m angry.
• I like my home to be neat and tidy but I’m not neurotic.
• I fart in front of my family.
• I detest shopping.
• I am proud of my children.
• I love it when there are 10 cars parked in our driveway when my kids having friends over.
• I socialize with my kids friends but I know when to leave.
• I seek out solitude. I like my own company.
• I have a short circuit between my brain and my mouth but the current flows freely between my brain and my finger-tips.
• I am a morning person.
• I don’t like coffee but love black rooi-bos with lemon and honey.
• I treat myself now and again to a treatment at a health spa.
• I think having a scence of humor is essential for maintaining relationships and your sanity.
• I try to never look back.
• I am an eternal optimist.
• I hate routine.
• I love doing laundry but don’t do ironing.
• I love cooking but hate washing up. I often run the dishwasher with only two plates and a couple of glasses in it.
• I make a mean curry and lasagna to die for. My sticky toffee pudding is much loved.
• I am very interested in genealogy.
• I don’t really like going to the movies.
• I am a cat and a dog person.
• I am a good listener.
• I can converse easily with strangers.
• I never judge anyone.
• I like to try new things.
• I have an open mind.
• I am very bad at administration.
• I want to swim with wild dolphins.
• I want to do a buddy sky-dive.
• I want to sit in the jump seat of an aerobatics plane doing loops and dives.
• I want to travel more.
• I AM still going to buy and learn to ride a motorbike.
• I am not a hoarder – things or clothes I haven’t used or worn for a year, I chuck.
• I never procrastinate.
• I sometimes tend to over-think stuff.
• I can go for days without needing to talk to anyone.
• I like to look good and take care of myself.
• I am a chocoholic (reformed!)
• I enjoy a small cigar after a good meal.
• I don’t like standing around at cocktail parties.
• I will clean up anything – puke, shit whatever but don’t pick up dead birds, catch spiders, bats,rats or snakes. (Not in my job description!)
• I don’t socialize with my neighbors. Good fences make good neighbors, I say.
• I hate guns.
• I am very patient. (MOSTLY)
• I am never late for an appointment.
• Driving through heavy traffic is one of pet hates.
• I ALWAYS give way to taxis.
• I have 3 or 4 really good friends that I have known for nearly 30 years.