A book review: The Boer War

It’s very unusual that I write a book review although I read many books. Writing a book review in a photography blog goes beyond usual but since I like the unusual … 😉

I’m living now for fourtheenandahalf year plus almost two months in South Africa and have read many books about its history but this one about THE BOER WAR beats them all….

BoerWarDe Boeren Oorlog (The Boer War) Author: Martin Bossenbroek. Publisher: Athenaeum, Amsterdam. ISBN: 9789025369934/NUR686

I’ve read many books about the history of South Africa, virtually all written by English and Afrikaans speaking South Africans and that includes literature about the Boer War (1899-1902). But never a book written from such a wide perspective (and from a variety of angles) as this 610 pages (including >40 with footnotes and index) masterpiece. It’s written in Dutch and hopefully English translations will be on the market soon for it should be read by South Africans of all walks of life… Until so far I only read books about the subject written from British or Afrikaner perspective. This book adds the Dutch angle to both perspectives. ‘The Dutch connection’ as Bossenbroek writes plays an important role in the years before the Boer War broke out. The story is mainly based on diaries, notes, letters, memoires and articles of British war correspondent Winston Churchill, Boer commander Deneys Reitz and Willem Leyds (Dutch State Attorney in the Transvaal).

The Boer War is intriguing is many aspects. It shows clearly that history repeats itself and that every war is nothing more than a ‘power game’ (or ‘money game’ if you like) on the expense of innocent people. It also learns that the British introduced ‘concentration camps’, which they already did a few centuries before in Australia, with the difference that this time more than 40,000 people (of the estimated >200,000) died in bizar circumstances during their ‘internship’; mainly children. It took over 100 years before the English government made some kind of apology … The Boer War is a ‘forgotten’ war but many used strategies (policies, etc.) were repeated (and sometimes perfected) in World Wars 1 (1914-1918) and 2 (1939-1945) by all involved parties (‘aggressors’, ‘allies’ and ‘resistance’).

In our previous South African residence (in a farm community near Robertson in the Western Cape) one of our neighbours once said (in Afrikaans) that a “book about Africa, South Africa included, can only be written by a true Afrikaner” ….. In essence not much has changed since the Boer War.

The (his)story of the Boer War begins in 1884 in the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam ….

Stanford Harvest

In our town there are many eateries, coffee shops and restaurants (even the only one in South Africa with a Michelin Star!!!) that we sometimes doubt if they can all survive. Lucky for these establishments there is a steady growing influx of visitors. And yes; another one recently opened its doors: Stanford Harvest; an eatery combined with a gallery of a resident artist. We wish this newcomer all the best.

For a true Stanford Harvest we just look from our verandah to the neighbour’s landmark tree every morning. See for yourself.

Milkwood Achievement

Finishing at a marathon is an achievement after a few years of training as is starting a business, set a goal, an becoming a millionaire after a few decades.

But what about trees? There are trees like the Baobab (6 different species in Southern and Eastern Africa plus Australia) that need hundreds of years to achieve the status of ‘mature’. Unfortunately I live too far South in South Africa to have the view of baobab trees at the horizon but in our part (near the Southernmost spot of the African Continent) the Milkwood Trees are indigenous/endemic. Now I must admit that the author of the Wikipedia article (see link) took some shortcuts. The Milkwood Tree evolved in the time of the dino- and other saurus-giants and survived climate changes and human impact. The tree dies after several hundred years above the earth surface but by than time new growth from the enormous root-system has already popped up. Some roots are estimated to be several thousands years of age…  Well … if that is not an achievement?

Photo: Milkwood Tree near our house

milkwood

My Rant ……

Now I going to rant ( 😉 ):

 

Dutch always say it with flowers....
Dutch always say it with flowers….

I don’t mind competition (keeps me alert, etc.) and the ‘official’ SAFREA-rates (see below) are a little bit overdone. But what I locally notice is that some freelancers are working for less than R 200.00 (EURO 16.00) PER DAY just to get a job and most of the time they deliver real poor quality. I can’t blame them that there are such a lousy squeezing clients around but I do put question marks at severely undercutting reasonable rates, not refusing a job and above all their lack of self-respect to do a job to their best abilities.
Here are the SAFREA-rates for photography:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY
(Disclaimer: these rates are representative of editorial, photojournalist and the below-the- line Safrea/freelance photographers, not of established agency advertising photographers)
Products, packshots:
• R1200-R1500 per hour
• R4500-R5500 per half day
• R8000-R11000 per full day
Interiors, architectural, portraits:
• R850-R1200 per hour
• R4000-R5000 per half day
• R7000-R9000 per full day
Commissioned Advertorial/Editorial
(not magazine-offered rates)
• R750-1200 per hour
• R3500 per half day
• R5000-R7000 per full day
Event Photography:
• R650-R750 per hour
• R3000–R3500 per half day
• R5000-R6000 per full day
Post-production and retouching:
• R250-R450 per hour
• R2 per Mb (Dropbox/ftp rate)
NOTE: There are differences in the business models of photographers who charge on an hourly/daily basis as per the above rates and those who charge according to formulas derived from a business costing methodology, which includes a full cost analysis such as lifecycle depreciation of equipment.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Funny this Weekly Photo Challenge: Earlier today I did a few photoshoots in Hermanus and in between I pictured a guy with a wheelbarrow and while I shot this image I already knew I’d give it a minimalist look and in Black & White.

Why?

In my eyes the wheelbarrow is the essence of the South African economy. Without the wheelbarrow there would be no economy. The wheelbarrow (kruiwagen) came with the Dutch. Indigenous languages don’t have a word for wheelbarrow so they  all use  the Dutch or the English word. Earth and rocks for roads, waterworks were moved with the wheelbarrow; diamonds, gold and other precious treasures from the earth were moved with the wheelbarrow. Nowadays mining companies and farmers use excavators and lorries but in small scale operations the wheelbarrow is indispensable. And so are the guys behind the wheelbarrow. They are the ‘hidden workforce’ that keep the South African economy going.

What would South Africa be without the wheelbarrow?

 

hiddenworkforce2

A little bit of Heaven in the ‘Hemel en Aarde Vallei’

Hemel en Aarde Vallei = Heaven and Earth Valley and is situated South of Caledon towards the greater Hermanus area in the Western Cape, South Africa.

HeavenonEarth