Minutes of the 95th Annual General Meeting of the Van Riebeeck Society for the Publication of Southern African Historical Documents (VRS), be held at the Kalk Bay Community Centre, 26 Main Road, St James at 14h15 on Saturday 9th August 2014.

  1. Welcome and apologies

The Chairman, Prof Howard Phillips, welcomed the 60 members present. Apologies were recorded (as per the attached list). He expressed the Society’s thanks to the Managing Committee of the Kalkbay Community Centre for the use of the historic venue.

  1. In Memoriam

Members stood for a minute’s silence whilst the Chairman read out the list of members who had died since the previous AGM (list attached).

  1. Confirmation of the Minutes of the 94th AGM held on 3 September 2013

The minutes had been displayed on the VRS website, while copies were available at the AGM as well. Acceptance of the minutes was proposed by Dr S Craven and seconded by Prof Alan Morris. They were signed once accepted by all without discussion.

  1. Matters arising from the minutes


  1. Treasurer’s Report

The auditors were satisfied with the way in which the Society’s finances were handled. The audited statements had been e-mailed to members attending the AGM; copies were also available at the meeting. Mr Westra explained the statements page by page noting that the subsidies for the 2013 volume of R40,000 had improved the financial position for that year. The overall financial position was till sound due to our good investments. The ABSA property share was not earning enough interest, however, and would be sold and the proceeds put into unit trusts. Mr Westra also explained the interim statement for 2014.

There were no questions from members, but Mrs Pope-Rainier rose to thank Mr Westra for his continued services. The Treasurer’s report was proposed by Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen and seconded by Mr Ken Evans and accepted unanimously by the members.

  1. Chairman’s annual report

After Professor Phillips had presented the annual report for 2013/14 (attached), Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen proposed a vote of thanks to Professor Phillips for his inspirational leadership of the VRS. This was approved.

At question time, Mr A Pitlo asked that, in view of the importance of the Olive Schreiner volume just published, whether Schreiner’s “Trooper Halkett of Mashonaland” should not be republished by the VRS. However, since this is a work of fiction, it does not fall within the VRS’s scope. John Plummer endorsed the idea that the VRS should look for a substantial endowment to ensure its continued existence. He also asked whether we should not show a presence at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Dr van Heyningen had been invited to speak at this year’s festival and had made some contacts whom we may approach for participation in next year’s festival. Prof Pakendorf asked whether our approach to the African Studies Libraries had yielded any results and Prof Phillips responded that very few of them had replied to say that they bought our volumes via agencies.

  1. Any Other Business


The meeting ended at 15h07

After a brief interval, the launch of The World’s Great Question proceeded to an audience augmented by guests to about 09–80 people. Prof Phillips introduced (speech attached) the main speaker and chief editor, Prof Liz Stanley.


Daryl O’Connor

Banie Penzhorn

Fanie Olivier

Reinhard Naumann

Robert van Zyl

Piet Vorster

Adrian and Sur Watermeyer

G S van Niekerk

Tony van Ryneveld

Walter & Ann Murray

Keith Berning

David Samuel

Dr J A Collins

Digby Sales

Pat Rossiter

Con de Wet

Marilyn & Joe Coetzee

Tracey Randle

Patrick Esnouf

John Young

Rob and Sandy Shell

Abner Nyamende

Julian Norta

In Memoriam

Mr Michael Purcell (our meticulous bookkeeper for over 20 years)

Mr M E Mills

Dr Friedrich Wolfgang Gess

Mr Q Coaker (a life member)

Mrs Sheila Thomas

Mrs Jean Nuttall

Mr A J de Villiers

Mr Errol I Tatham

Mr J McLachlan

Mr Colin Eglin

Mervyn Carl Nelson Schmidt

Dr Solly Freedberg

Mrs I E de Vos

Mr L Jordaan

Mr D J van den Heever

Captain Michael Thomson

Mr Robert Schilz

Mrs J E Fraser Jones