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John Dunn, the white Zulu chief of the 19th century

John Dunn, of Scottish descent, became a Zulu chief and fathered 117 children by 49 wives

Number 25 : August 2007


A village celebrates

The first issue of Village Life was published in October 2003 as a newspaper for the community of Stanford. It soon became a regional paper for the Overberg, and then changed to a magazine format and ventured over the mountains to Cape Town, the West Coast and the Boland and later even as far as Plettenberg Bay and Graaff-Reinet. With the expanding distribution (now countrywide) came expanded coverage. As a result we have not written anything specific about our home town for more than three years.

In this issue we make amends with the first of two articles on the history of the village and the early colonial farmers, including descriptions by early travellers. The research brought some interesting new facts to light.

The advertising support we received especially from local businesses enabled us to add eight pages to this issue, making it the biggest one to date. The stories cover the country, from Limpopo and the Northern Cape, to the Zulu kingdom and the Eastern Cape – not to mention ostriches and the breaking-up of the super-continent Gondwana, or the sex lives of dung beetles. We trust you will find it a good read!



2: At the office

Letters from readers, the winners of our subscriber prizes, and some old cameras on our shelves


4: Save our toads!

The Western Leopard Toad is an endangered species. Dr John Measey asks readers to help with a project to identify breeding populations


6: The face of South Africa

By Maré Mouton

Picture gallery: With fewer trains rolling, Klipplaat in the Eastern Cape has gone into decline. View as PDF


8: Billy Eagle and the lion

This Canadian Indian came to South Africa, missed the war, but was eventually mauled by a lion near the Limpopo River while doing duty as a constable. Charles Leach of Louis Trichardt has put together the pieces


12: Gardening for wildlife

Our series by well-known authors Charles and Julia Botha features the bird-friendly Bushtick-berry (known in the southwestern regions as Bietou)


18: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

The first instalment from this famous diary portrays life in Cradock a century ago.


24: John Dunn: The white Zulu chief

By Elsabé Brink, with photographs by Cedric Nunn

He flouted the Victorian values of white settler society to become a hunter, trader and Zulu chief


32: Stanford 150: A valley green

Annalize Mouton delves into the history of early farmers and travellers at the Kleine Riviers Valley


44: Ostriches and antiquity

Dr Judy Maguire looks at the long and interesting history of the world’s largest living bird


50: Oasis for the faithful

Steve Moseley visits the Moffat Mission at Kuruman, where the Bible was first printed in Africa


54: The intriguing world of dung beetles

Dr Geoff Tribe explains how these hard-working insects identify and attract a mate in the competitive world of dung removal


58: The “blusher” bird

Veteran birder Nico Myburgh shares his first-hand stories about the African Harrier-hawk (formerly Gymnogene). Read full text


62: Soup and dumplings

We cook, eat and share some more recipes for our Country Table


64: Book end

Frustrated birder Missy brushes up on her reading. View as PDF


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Western Leopard Toad. © Jogn Measey

The Western Leopard Toad is known to occur only in a limited area in the Western Cape. Photo: John Measey

Wesleyan Rectory, Cradock, Eastern Cape

The Wesleyan Rectory in Cradock, where Iris Vaughan probably attended school with Miss Lucy. Photo: Maré Mouton

The original house of the Kleine Riviers Valley farm in Stanford. Photo: Annalize Mouton

The original house of the Kleine Riviers Valley farm in Stanford. Photo: Annalize Mouton

South African domesticated ostrich. © Annalize Mouton

The South African domesticated ostrich is a cross between the indigenous subspecies and the “Barbary” type of North Africa

Moffat Mission Station, Kuruman. © Steve Moseley

The perennial spring at the Moffat Mission near Kuruman. Photo: Steve Moseley

Dung beetles and dung ball. © Geoff Tribe

Two dung beetles fighting over a precious commodity. Photo: Geoff Tribe

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