Continuing the Covid-prompted initiative last year, to hold our AGM online (which saw members from 3 continents and 4 time zones attending), our 2021 AGM will be held online via Zoom at 18h00 SA time on 17 November 2021. To attend, please inform us of your intention to do so and we will send you a Zoomlink on the day before the AGM. Then just log in on 17 November from 17h45.

The AGM will be followed by the launch of our 2021 volume, François le Vaillant’s Travels into the Interior of Africa via the Cape of Good Hope, volume2, edited by Professor David Culpin. The publication of this volume will at long last answer the question which has intrigued members since we published volume 1 in 2007, viz. what, if anything, came of Le Vaillant’s flirtation with the Gonaqua maiden, Narina, artfully described by him in the last pages of volume1? Make sure that you do attend the launch online so that you do not miss out on discovering how his encounter with her culminated!


As our reprinted volume for 2022 we are considering one of the following:

EITHER Series I/19 (1938) Die Duminy Dagboeke/ The Duminy Diaries edited by JLM Franken

[The Duminy diaries consist of the diary of Johanna Margareta Duminy (1797), the journal of François Duminy of his visit to the Caledon Baths and the Bok River (9 November 1810 to 4 March 1811), the journal of François Duminy’s expedition to Walvis Bay in 1793 and Sebastian Valentyn van Reenen’s journal of the same expedition. The texts are in French and Dutch, with an English translation. The introductions are in Afrikaans only]

OR Series I/20 (1939) The Diary of Dr Andrew Smith, Director of the ‘Expedition for Exploring Central Africa’, 1834-6; Vol. I, edited by P.R. Kirby

[Andrew Smith, an army doctor, arrived in the Cape in 1820, remaining there until 1837. The expedition to Central South Africa was undertaken to find out more about the people living to the north. Smith travelled up to Kuruman and into Ndebele country, and explored the Oori, Mariqua and Limpopo Rivers. The expedition included a number of missionaries, among them Robert Moffat]

If you have a strong preference for one or the other, please inform us by 1 December 2021.


With a heavy heart we record the passing of our assistant administrator, Sandra Commerford in July of this year. At the memorial service for her, our administrator, Rolf Proske, paid a heartfelt tribute to her, part of which is reproduced here:

‘From the moment I met her, I could see that this was an exceptional person. She was initially engaged in fairly low-key duties as an assistant, but that changed radically over the years. As she grew in confidence and stature, her sharp intelligence, efficiency and attention to detail led to her assuming a central role in the society’s administration. She found the work immensely satisfying and developed a serious interest in historical documentation …. She gave more of herself than was necessary. When our annual volume was ready to be dispatched, there would always be a number of mundane and repetitive tasks involved, but I remember so well Sandra insisting, ‘But I really enjoy doing this donkey work’, and so she would end up doing more than her fair share. There was no false modesty involved. That was how she was …. Her warmth and humanity were apparent to us all, and we will miss her terribly.’

To commemorate her unstinting work in the interests of our society, members of Council together donated over R3000 to HiPSA’s Centenary Fund under the heading, ‘In Memory of Sandra Commerford’.


HiPSA’s Council also decided to offer UCT Library copies of our back volumes still in print plus those available only in e-Book form to replace the volumes destroyed in the appalling fire on the UCT campus on 18 April 2021. This donation was readily made, in recognition of UCT’s many-sided contribution to HiPSA and the VRS before it over the last 103 years. Sadly, this echoes a similar, Phoenix-like donation of our volumes to the Department of History at the University of Stellenbosch which lost its entire departmental library to a fire in 2010. In this way HiPSA is seeking to show its deep gratitude to two institutions which have supported it consistently for over 100 years.


In the light of a recurring problem with the SA Post Office’s delivery of our annual volume to members, in addition to using couriers like PostNet and Aramex for members who prefer this option, we are this year experimenting by taking up an offer by Protea Bookshops to act as collection points for members’ volumes.  As a trial, their branches in Stellenbosch and Pretoria will keep copies of the volume for collection by those members living nearby who have indicated that this is how they would like to receive their volume. If this proves effective and not a burden, we may offer to extend this system to willing members in other parts of the country next year. Our sincere thanks go to Protea Bookshops for this most generous offer of assistance.



We have just heard that our 2020 volume, Sol T Plaatje: A Life in Letters, edited by Brian Willan and Sabata-mpho Mokae has been shortlisted for the South African Literary Awards in the Creative Non-Fiction Literary category. The winner will be announced on 7 November 2021. You can be sure that if it does win, you will be hearing more about it from us. Meanwhile, heartiest congratulations to the editors on this achievement.


We are delighted to welcome the following new members joining this year:

PARKER PROF G               USA

MONDI MRS D                   Gauteng

MOGUERANE DR K          Gauteng

KEMP MS S                        Gauteng

DOR MS I                           France


WEALE MR G                      Johannesburg

MASOLA DR A                    Gqeberha

BASSON MNR J                 Stellenbosch

JENNINGS DR K                 Cape Town

BEYERS MS M                     Makhanda

ELS MR M                           Cape Town

WENER M P                        USA

KLAAS DR J                         Pretoria

LINDER, MR P                     Cape Town

ERASMUS ME A                 Cape Town

LATEGAN DR F                   Wellington

TABATA MR W                    Pretoria

SIMPSON MR G                 Harding (KZN)

PRETORIUS MNR J            Lady Grey (E Cape)

SPEARPOINT MR M           Gqeberha

MOFOKENG MR L             Gauteng

We regret the passing of the following members during this year: