Hier volg die eerste deel van die eerste volume van “Beschreibung des Vorgebirges der Guten Hoffnung” (hoofstukke I-IX) gepubliseer deur O.F. Mentzel in 1785.
“ ‘n Volledige en betroubare geografiese en topografiese beskrywing van die bekende en indrukwekkende Kaap van Goeie Hoop” deur O.F. Mentzel gepubliseer 1785
Otto Frederick Mentzel, die seun van ‘n mediese dokter, is gebore in Berlin in 1710. Hy ontvang ‘n goeie skoolopleiding en dien as jong man in die Pruisiese weermag. As soldaat reis hy na die Kaap, al is sy opvoeding aansienlik beter as die gemiddelde soldaat in diens van die Verenigde Oos-Indiese Kompanjie. Ons is nie seker waarom so ‘n wel-opgevoede jong man sou aansluit by die Kompanjie nie. Dalk was dit bloot die belofte van die eksotiese Ooste wat Mentzel bekoor het.
Hy kom aan wal in die Kaap in 1732 of 1733. Met sy eerste ontmoeting met Kaptein Allemann, bevelvoerder van die militêre magte, vertel Mentzel aan sy lesers dat hy behoeftig was. Allemann tree as sy beskermheer op toe hy hoor dat hierdie nederige soldaat ook van Pruisiese herkoms is. Mentzel word aangestel as leermeester vir Allemann se kinders. Dit blyk maklik vir Mentzel te wees om vriende te maak: hy is goed opgevoed en kom ander geredelik tegemoet, terwyl sy skryfwerk daarop dui dat hy ‘n goeie storieverteller was. Sy vertrek van die Kaap aan die begin van 1741 was per abuis. Hy het aan boord ‘n skip gegaan wat in Tafelbaai geanker was om briewe aan sy familie in Nederland en sy vriende in Duitsland af te lewer. Weens ‘n misverstand kon hy nie afklim voor die skip seil nie, en dus was hy op pad terug Europa toe. Mentzel het nie weer terug gekeer Kaap toe na sy onbeplande vertrek nie.
Kaart van Kaapstad 1767
Mentzel publiseer sy indrukke van die Kaap eers veertig jaar later, toe hy reeds meer as sewentig jaar oud was.
Hierdie uitgawe, die eerste van drie volumes wat deur die Vereniging gepubliseer word, bevat geskiedkundige agtergrond, ‘n beskrywing van die fisiese eienskappe van die Kaap asook inligting oor die administrasie en finansies van die kolonie. Hy beskryf kortliks dog deeglik, duidelik en geloofwaardig die grense, interne en eksterne toestande, grondwet, vorm van regering, regs- en polisie stelsel, militêre organisasie en voorsienings vir verdediging, inkomste, handeldryf, plaaslike regte en voorregte, stedelike en landelike industrieë, gebruike, gewoontes en algehele leefstyl van die Christene asook die heidense bevolking.
Mentzel beskryf die Kaap soos hy dit ervaar in die mid-18de eeu met die doel om die foute wat deur vroeëre reisigers soos Kolbe versprei is, te verbeter.
UITTREKSEL UIT DIE TEKS
142 Description of the Cape
[…] a month, but nothing else so far as I know. When he passes, the guard falls into line and orders arms, while other sentries present arms. At the approach of the three upper-merchants the sentry on duty would call out “Guardsmen! “ Thereupon the merchants would, generally, give a sign to the sentry and the men would group themselves in single file under the gate and take their hats off.
Among the ordinary members of the Council of Policy are the four merchants.
The first is the director of the bureau, in which all correspondence is conducted with Holland, Batavia and Ceylon. It is the business of this office to issue official notices, letters patent governing promotions, and, in short, to deal with all matters that do not fall within the scope of the Offices of Justice, Trade or Pay. This official receives a monthly salary of f6o, a kostgeld allowance of 24 R. monthly, making an annual emolument of f720 and 288 R. He has besides a considerable share in the usual perquisites that appertain to the legal business of his office; it must be noted, however, that he is the most hard-worked member of the Council of Policy.
The second merchant is styled the Dispensir. He superintends the provisioning of the garrison, the ships’ crews, the hospitals, the slaves, and the Governor’s table. He has charge over the grain-store, the bakery and the mill. Assisted by a Bottelier* he accepts the delivery and checks the quantities of all produce sent in by the farmers, and certifies the consignment notes ; the Governor then issues an order for payment, which is duly honoured by the Pay Office. The authority of the Dispensir extends to all transactions arising from provisions belonging to the Company, such as the victualling of ships, the distribution of rations, and the sale of surplus products. Among the provisions would be included such items as corned-beef, bacon, rice, butter, cheese, olive oil, etc. His salary and kostgeld is the same as that of the first merchant, namely, f720 and 288 R. annually. He is allowed to deduct a certain percentage from the quantities of goods stored to cover depredations of rats or loss of weight by evaporation; any difference in his favour is his lawful perquisite.
The third merchant was in charge of the warehouse and was therefore styled the warehouse-master. Merchandise of all sorts was stored there, such as groceries, iron, steel, copper, brass, lead and tinware ; writing materials, books (namely, bibles and prayer books), tools, tobacco and pipes, and generally everything useful for production and manufacture. Although the designation of merchant given to this official was an honorary distinction, yet he might properly be regarded as a merchant, seeing that he sold on behalf of the Company such articles as above-named and also bought such commodities as ivory, etc. The vintage of Constantia, Rondeboscb. and other presses was stored directly on board the ships, or in the Company’s cellars. He received the identical salary and kostgeld as the other merchants, namely, f720 and 288 R. annually.
The fourth merchant is called the shop-keeper. He sells wholesale, by the piece, East Indian cotton goods such as chintz, calico, “salemporis,”* gingham, “geraas,” “bastas,” “hanegatjes,” as well as quilts and counterpanes lined with cotton wool and cotton yarns. This storekeeper shares with the garrison book-keeper the duty of paying out half-yearly the wages and salaries due to the servants of the Company— civil, naval and military. Payment is made at the end of February and at the end of August; all books are balanced on the 31st August. All stores and magazines are then closed for business for a period of fourteen days; stocks are taken and the figures are transferred to new account books. To prevent any errors from creeping into the pay-books a general muster is held throughout the Indies at the end of July or at the beginning of August; the names of all persons in the service of the East India Company, from the highest to the lowest, are called over, and each has to answer either in person or through his superior. During this muster the whole garrison is under arms: the officers acknowledge the call by saluting with their spontoons, the drummers by a sharp roll on the drum. The emoluments of this officer too are the same as the foregoing, namely, f720 and 288 R annually. Each of these merchants is allowed, monthly, two loads of fire-wood, but no other perquisite saving the labour of one free-worker, who is generally a tailor by trade. When the merchants are about with sword and staff they are saluted by the sentries, but not on other occasions.