- Publishing in a pandemic period
To pandemics HiPSA and the VRS before it are no strangers. Barely six weeks after the VRS’s foundation in August 1918, the new Society was in the midst of publishing its first volume (Reports of De Chavonnes and his Council, and of Van Imhoff, on the Cape, published by the VRS, 1918) when South Africa was struck by the worst pandemic in its history, the Spanish flu of October 1918. ‘Up in Cape Town …. Coffins at station, streets empty, train services disorganized … gruesome stories of dead in streets and terrible distress’, noted the VRS’s first president, John X. Merriman in his diary (Selections from the Correspondence of John X. Merriman 1905-1924, published by the VRS, 1969).
Thereafter, the Society’s encounters with pandemics were at one remove, through its publication of graphic accounts by Thunberg (Travels at the Cape of Good Hope, published by the VRS, 1986), Valentyn (Beschryvinge van de Kaap der Goede Hoop, volume 1, published by the VRS, 1971 ) and Lichtenstein (Travels in Southern Africa, volume 2, published by the VRS, 1930) of the devastating smallpox pandemics which ravaged the Cape in the 18th and 19th Centuries. More recently, it published the vivid personal recollections of survivors of what contemporaries called ‘Black October’, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 (In a Time of Plague: Memories of the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918 in South Africa, published by the VRS, 2018).
These encounters with sweeping past pandemics have provided HiPSA with some perspective on such crises and have meant that the Society has learnt from history not to be frozen into fearful inaction in the face of Covid-19. As a result, as early as June this year, our intrepid administrator, Rolf Proske, re-opened our office for business and our diligent staff began to digitize some of our sought-after back volumes, while the publication of our 2020 volume, Sol T. Plaatje: A Life in Letters, proceeded, though at a slower pace than hoped. Copies are now ready to be despatched to members and will be coming to you within the next month by whatever means you have chosen, post, courier or personal collection. A high-profile, face-to-face launch of the volume on Plaatje’s home turf in Kimberley, which was planned for this year will instead be held in 2021, Covid-19 permitting. However, a virtual launch via Zoom will be held after our AGM on 15 December 2020. For details see below.
- 15 December 2020: 101st AGM and launch of Sol T. Plaatje: A Life in Letters
Undaunted by the pandemic environment, HiPSA will hold its AGM at 18h00 SA Standard Time on 15 December 2020 via Zoom.
While this will mean that, though the social interaction and gastronomic delights which have become standard features of this annual occasion will be missing, it will allow many more members than usually attend in person to be present (virtually), especially from outside the Western Cape. So, paradoxically, we anticipate a far larger turnout than at previous AGMs, one that will span the world, from Kimberley to Copenhagen, from Kolkata to Canberra, from Casablanca to Kansas. Do not miss this first-ever global gathering of HiPSA members!
To receive the Zoom link to the AGM and launch, please send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon SA time on 14 December 2020. Once you have received the link from us, please use it to log into the meeting from 17h50 SA time on 15 December 2020. We apologise to members without the internet access needed to participate in this once-in-102 years AGM and book launch and urge you to try and secure such access through a friend or relation so that you too can be part of the unique gathering.
The AGM will be followed at 19h00 SA Standard Time by the launch of this year’s volume, Sol T. Plaatje: A Life in Letters. Both the editors, Brian Willan and Sabata-mpho Mokae, will speak about their volume.
- Second-hand volumes and eBooks for sale
A number of second-hand, hardback HiPSA volumes are available for sale, including several out-of-print books. Some are advertised on behalf of external sellers, while others can be bought directly from our office. A limited-edition book relating to our recent Swellengrebel volume is also currently on sale (The Cape in 1776-1777: Aquarelles by Johannes Schumacher). Please see our website: https://hipsa.org.za/secondhand-volumes/ for further information. In addition, during the Covid-19 lockdown we have digitized a number of our earlier volumes and are now able to offer these for sale. To see which of our volumes are now available in this format, please go to https://hipsa.org.za/e-books/ or contact us by phone or email.
- Hail and Farewell
We are delighted to welcome the following new members who have joined during this year:
O’LEARY MR M ( KwaZulu/Natal), JONES MR N (Woking, UK), NELL, MS A (Elarduspark), BRAND MS D (Stellenbosch), TERBLANCHE MS M (Macassar), BESTER MR M C (Cape Town), PIETERSEN MNR S B (Johannesburg), MOKHOAETSI MS M (Cape Town), HUNLUN ME M L (Vredendal), JANSEN VAN VUUREN DR A (Lynnwood), SHULMAN MR J (Sandringham), CHEWINS DR L (Gauteng), MARAIS ADV R (Cape Town), HOLDRIDGE MR C (Mahikeng), RUTHERFORD MR K (Knysna), MEIRING MNR J (Gauteng), SWIEGERS MNR G (Stellenbosch), REMMINGTON MS J (Bryanston), DOMINY DR G (Pretoria), GRIEVE MR A (George), NIENABER DR R (Gauteng), NEL ME E (Hermanus), SIDOGI MR P (Pretoria), NDZAMELA MR P (Cape Town), ACOTT MRS H (Cape Town), BOIKHUTSO MR S (Gauteng), PADAYACHEE DR G (Gauteng), SMITH MR E (Gauteng), HARTMANN MR R (Alexandria, USA), BLUNDELL DR G (Pietermaritzburg), MAYER MR R (Johannesburg), BLACKMAN DR M (Cape Town).
We regret to report the passing of the following members:
BEYERS MS M, YEOWART MR B, DUNNINGHAM MR M W, WAGENER MR B, GROBLER DR J C H, KINCAID-SMITH MRS E, UNTERHALTER MR B, MEYER MR S, RUSSELL MRS E C M, PIENAAR ADV J LE F, METS DR J T, MALAN DR H, DE WAAL DR J J, VIALL MR J, WITTENBERG MR G, BUYS MNR K S, VAN KERKEN MR H, SHEPLEY MR W, TYSON MR H, VAN ZYL MNR R J, MORRIS MR M C W