Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa by Nathaniel Isaacs; Vol. II

Nathaniel Isaacs is in 1808 in ‘n Joodse familie in Canterbury, Kent gebore. Sy vader sterf terwyl Isaacs nog ‘n jong seun is.  Op veertienjarige ouderdom stuur sy ma hom na St. Helena om by haar broer, Saul Solomon, te gaan woon. Mnr Solomon was ‘n handelaar in Jamestown, St. Helena. In 1825 land die skip Mary, onder die bevel van luitenantt King van die Koninklike Britse Vloot, in St. Helena met goedere vir Solomon. Lt King maak kennis met die lewendige sewentienjarige Nathaniel Isaacs. Laasgenoemde oortuig sy oom om hom toe te laat om King te vergesel op sy reise Kaap toe. Hulle land vroeg in Augustus 1825 aan die Kaap.

Kaart van Port Natal

Isaacs se dagboek is een van die eerste verslae deur ‘n Europeër wat fokus op Natal en die Zoeloe-koninkryk. Die eerste volume van Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa (VRS Vol I-16), wat die tydperk van 1825 tot 1828 dek, gee heelwat besonderhede oor die samelewing en kultuur van Shaka en sy mense.

In hierdie uitgawe beskryf Isaacs sy tweede reis (1830 – 1832) na Natal asook sy verblyf in die area.

Nadat hy in 1828 na St. Helena terugkeer, gaan hy tuis by vriende op die eiland. Hier ontmoet hy ‘n Amerikaner, kaptein Page, wat op pad is Natal toe. Page stel natuurlik vreeslik belang in Isaacs se eerstehandse kennis van Natal, en bied hom die geleentheid om as kommies te dien – Isaacs is in beheer van die goedere namens die eienaar en doen verkope by die hawens waar hulle aangaan. Hulle verlaat St. Helena in die middel van Februarie 1830 en land op 31 Maart in Port Natal. Isaacs word met ope arms  deur sy ou vriende verwelkom. Tydens hierdie besoek is Dingaan koning van die Zoeloes. Isaacs beskryf  die vroeë Europese nedersetting asook die gebruike en kultuur van die Zoeloes. Hy besoek ook Oos-Afrikaanse lande en eilande, sowel as Kaapstad, waar hy die Kaapse regering probeer oortuig om Natal te koloniseer. Hy keer terug na St. Helena, waar hy vroeg in Maart 1832 land.

  Zulu profetes


[…] instructed in the use of fire-arms, hit the target at a distance of sixty paces, nine times out of ten. I attributed their success to the quick sight and strong nerve they have, which is peculiar to the blacks in almost all parts of the African continent.
5th.- My co-partner Mr. Fynn set off this morning, accompanied by a body of armed natives, with a quantity of goods to barter with the Botwas, who had arrived at the river Umcamas expressly to meet him, and had invited him thither.

In the afternoon we had a grand display of a marriage festival or ceremony, at which had congregated an innumerable body of natives of either sex, and of all ages. It commenced by the bride exhibiting herself, attended by a numerous train of females dancing up and down the kraal. She was attired in a short habiliment reaching from the waist to the knee. Her hair was decorated with feathers in imitation of a coronet. Her skin shone with brilliant lustre from having been greasefully prepared for the purpose. On her sable breast, she had hung, in rows tastefully arranged, beads of various hues to adorn a bust of more than graceful shape and symmetry. From her neck she had suspended a selalo, or ornament, forming a cross,

That Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.

There was, altogether, something so engaging in the bride, that she seemed like a black fairy, or something superhuman. Though black she was lovely, and though of a savage race she was as meek, gentle, and tender, as any reasonable savage could desire. Had she but been attired in costume of our European beauties,

she might have been thought elegant, though it could not be said that

Angels were painted fair to look like her.

The old females who had assembled sang their croaking strains, in admiration of her grace and attitudes during her dancing.

After this preparatory ceremony, the bride approached carelessly the feet of the anxious bridegroom, to whom she threw, with great nonchalance, a few  strings  of  beads,  and,  with  graceful  indifference,  danced   away to the middle of the kraal, when her attendants dis­tributed a few beads to all the friends of the happy husband; the old females made congratulatory speeches, and, with occasional significant glances towards a  fat cow that was near, intended for the wedding repast, indicated that their minds were more occupied about the beast than the bride, and that they anticipated  more solid pleasure from the cow than from the bridegroom. The cow was then killed; the bride and her female friends, with great formality, approached the bleeding animal which  they  touched  and  retired.  The  mother, or queen of the kraal, now concluded the marriage ceremony by placing a piece of cloth on her breast, indicating that the matrimonial ties were designed to cover all their youthful follies, and that  they had to enter into a state of indissoluble friendship, which could not be cut asunder as the cloth could be rent. The bride and her friends now divided the flesh of the cow, which was soon consumed,  and as it is not the custom of the Zoolas to cohabit on the bridal-night, the bride passed the evening with her female friends in singing and dancing; while the bridegroom, somewhat sullen, entertained his male friends, of whom I was considered one […]


Dr Louis Herrman




2021-02-15T14:36:22+00:00July 25th, 1936|
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