Laurens van der Post

Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE (13 December 1906 – 16 December 1996), was a 20th-century Afrikaner author, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer and conservationist.

Sir Laurens van der Post
Lourens Jan van der Post

13 December 1906
Died16 December 1996 (aged 90)
London, England
Resting placePhilippolis, Free State, South Africa
EducationGrey College, Bloemfontein
Spouse(s)Marjorie Edith Wendt (1928-1949)
Ingaret Giffard (1949-death)
Parent(s)Christiaan Willem Hendrik and Lammie van der Post
FamilyChristiaan Willem Hendrik van der Post Snr married to Bernice (Reed) van der Post

Early years and education

Van der Post was born in the small town of Philippolis in the Orange River Colony, the post-Boer War British name for what had previously been the Afrikaner Orange Free State in what is today South Africa.[1] His father, Christiaan Willem Hendrik van der Post (1856–1914), a Hollander from Leiden, had emigrated to South Africa with his parents and married Johanna Lubbe in 1889. The van der Posts had a total of 13 children, with Laurens being the 13th, the fifth son. Christiaan was a lawyer and politician, and fought in the Second Boer War against the British. After the Second Boer War he was exiled with his family to Stellenbosch, where Laurens was conceived. They returned to Philippolis in the Orange River Colony, where he was born in 1906.

He spent his early childhood years on the family farm, and acquired a taste for reading from his father's extensive library, which included Homer and Shakespeare. His father died in August 1914. In 1918 van der Post went to school at Grey College in Bloemfontein. There, he wrote, it was a great shock to him that he was "being educated into something which destroyed the sense of common humanity I shared with the black people". In 1925 he took his first job as a reporter in training at The Natal Advertiser in Durban, where his reporting included his own accomplishments playing on the Durban and Natal field hockey teams. In 1926 he and two other rebellious writers, Roy Campbell and William Plomer, published a satirical magazine called Voorslag (English: whip lash) which criticised imperialist systems; it lasted for three issues before being forced to shut down because of its controversial views.[2] Later that year he took off for three months with Plomer and sailed to Tokyo and back on a Japanese freighter, the Canada Maru, an experience which produced books by both authors later in life.

In 1927 Van der Post met Marjorie Edith Wendt (d. 1995), daughter of the founder and conductor of the Cape Town Orchestra. The couple traveled to England and on 8 March 1928, married at Bridport, Dorset. A son was born on 26 December, named Jan Laurens (later known as John). In 1929 van der Post returned to South Africa to work for the Cape Times, a newspaper in Cape Town, where "For the time being Marjorie and I are living in the most dire poverty that exists," he wrote in his journal. He began to associate with bohemians and intellectuals who were opposed to James Hertzog (Prime Minister) and the white South African policy. In an article entitled 'South Africa in the Melting Pot', which clarified his views of the South Africa racial problem, he said "The white South African has never consciously believed that the native should ever become his equal." But he predicted that "the process of leveling up and inter-mixture must accelerate continually ... the future civilization of South Africa is, I believe, neither black or white but brown."

The Bloomsbury influence

In 1931 he returned to England. His friend Plomer (see above) had been published by the Hogarth Press, a business run by Leonard Woolf and his wife, the novelist Virginia Woolf. The Woolfs were members of the literary and artistic Bloomsbury group, and through Plomer's introductions, van der Post met figures such as Arthur Waley, J. M. Keynes and E. M. Forster.

In 1934 the Woolfs published van der Post's first novel. Called In a Province, it portrayed the tragic consequences of a racially and ideologically divided South Africa. Later that year he decided to become a dairy farmer and, possibly with the help of the independently wealthy poet Lilian Bowes Lyon, bought Colley Farm, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, with Lilian as his neighbor. There he divided his time between the needs of the cows and occasional visits to London, where he was a correspondent to South African newspapers. He considered this a directionless phase in his life which mirrored Europe's slow drift to war.

In 1936 he made five trips to South Africa and during one trip he met and fell in love with Ingaret Giffard (1902 – 1997), an English actress and author five years his senior. Later that year his wife Marjorie gave birth to a second child, a daughter named Lucia, and in 1938 he sent his family back to South Africa. When the Second World War started in 1939 he found himself torn between England and South Africa, his new love and his family; his career was at a dead end, and he was in depressed spirits, often drinking heavily.

War service

In May 1940, van der Post volunteered for the British Army and upon completion of officer training in January 1941 he was sent to East Africa in the Intelligence Corps as a captain. There he took up with General Wingate's Gideon Force which was tasked with restoring the Emperor Haile Selassie to his throne in Abyssinia. His unit led 11,000 camels through difficult mountain terrain and he was remembered for being an excellent caretaker of the animals. In March he came down with malaria and was sent to Palestine to recover.

In early 1942, as Japanese forces invaded South East Asia, van der Post was transferred to Allied forces in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), because of his Dutch language skills. By his own statement, he was given command of Special Mission 43, the purpose of which was to organise the covert evacuation of as many Allied personnel as possible, after the surrender of Java.

On 20 April 1942, he surrendered to the Japanese. He was taken to prison-camps first at Sukabumi and then to Bandung. Van der Post was famous for his work in maintaining the morale of prisoners of many different nationalities. Along with others, he organised a "camp university" with courses from basic literacy to degree-standard ancient history, and he also organized a camp farm to supplement nutritional needs. He could also speak some basic Japanese, which helped him greatly. Once, depressed, he wrote in his diary: "It is one of the hardest things in this prison life: the strain caused by being continually in the power of people who are only half-sane and live in a twilight of reason and humanity." He wrote about his prison experiences in A Bar of Shadow (1954), The Seed and the Sower (1963) and The Night of the New Moon (1970). Japanese film director Nagisa Oshima based his film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1982) on the last two of these books.[3]

Following the surrender of Japan, while his fellow POWs were repatriated, van der Post chose to remain in Java, and on 15 September 1945, he joined Admiral Wilfrid Patterson on HMS Cumberland for the official surrender of the Japanese in Java to British forces representing the Allies.

Van der Post then spent two years helping to mediate between Indonesian nationalists and members of the Dutch Colonial Government. He had gained trust with the nationalist leaders such as Mohammad Hatta and Ahmed Sukarno and warned both Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Allied Supreme Commander in South East Asia, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, whom he met in London in October 1945, that the country was on the verge of blowing up. Van der Post went to The Hague to repeat his warning directly to the Dutch cabinet. In November 1946, British forces withdrew and Van der Post became military attaché to the British consulate in Batavia. By 1947, after he had returned to England, the Indonesian Revolution had begun. That same year, Van der Post retired from the army and was made a CBE. The events of these early post-war years in Java are examined in his memoir The Admiral's Baby (1996).


With the war over and his business with the army concluded, van der Post returned to South Africa in late 1947 to work at the Natal Daily News, but with the election victory of the National Party and the onset of apartheid he came back to London. He was later to publish a critique of apartheid (The Dark Eye in Africa, 1955), basing many of his insights on his developing interest in psychology. In May 1949 he was commissioned by the Colonial Development Corporation (CDC) to "assess the livestock capacities of the uninhabited Nyika and Mulanje plateaux of Nyasaland" (now part of Malawi).

Around this time he divorced Marjorie, and on 13 October 1949, married Ingaret Giffard. Before he married Ingaret, he had become engaged to Fleur Kohler-Baker, the daughter of a prominent farmer and businessman, who was 17 years old; they had met on a ship and had had an intense but brief affair of love letters; she was shocked when he broke off the relationship. He went on honeymoon with Ingaret to Switzerland, where his new wife introduced him to Carl Jung. Jung was to have probably a greater influence upon him than anybody else, and he later said that he had never met anyone of Jung's stature. He continued to work on a travel book about his Nyasaland adventures called Venture to the Interior, which became an immediate best-seller in the US and Europe on its publication in 1952.

In 1950 Lord Reith (head of the CDC) asked van der Post to head an expedition to Bechuanaland (now part of Botswana), to see the potential of the remote Kalahari Desert for cattle ranching. There van der Post for the first time met the hunter-gatherer bush people known as Bushmen or San. He repeated the journey to the Kalahari in 1952. In 1953 he published his third book, The Face Beside the Fire, a semi-autobiographical novel about a psychologically "lost" artist in search of his soul and soul-mate, which clearly shows Jung's influence on his thinking and writing.

Flamingo Feather (1955) was an anti-communist novel in the guise of a Buchanesque adventure story, about a Soviet plot to take over South Africa. It sold very well. Alfred Hitchcock planned to film the book, but lost support from South African authorities and gave up the idea. Penguin Books kept Flamingo Feather in print until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 1955 the BBC commissioned van der Post to return to the Kalahari in search of the Bushmen, a journey that turned into a six-part television documentary series in 1956. In 1958 his best known book was published under the same title as the BBC series: The Lost World of the Kalahari. He followed this in 1961 by The Heart of the Hunter, derived from Specimens of Bushman Folklore (1910), collected by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd, and Mantis and His Hunter, collected by Dorothea Bleek.[4]

Van der Post described the Bushmen as the original natives of southern Africa, outcast and persecuted by all other races and nationalities. He said they represented the "lost soul" of all mankind, a type of noble savage myth. This mythos of the Bushmen inspired the colonial government to create the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 1961 to guarantee their survival, and the reserve became a part of settled law when Botswana was created in 1966.

Later years

Van der Post had become a respected television personality, had introduced the world to the Kalahari Bushmen, and was considered an authority on Bushman folklore and culture. "I was compelled towards the Bushmen," he said, "like someone who walks in his sleep, obedient to a dream of finding in the dark what the day has denied him." Over the next fifteen years he had a steady stream of publications, including the two books drawn from his war experiences (see above), a travel book called A Journey into Russia (1964) describing a long trip through the Soviet Union, and two novels of adventure set on the fringes of the Kalarahi desert, A Story Like the Wind (1972) and its sequel A Far-Off Place (1974). The latter volumes, about four young people, two of them San, caught up in violent events on the borders of 1970s Rhodesia, became popular as class readers in secondary schools. In 1972 there was a BBC television series about his 16-year friendship with Jung, who died in 1961, which was followed by the book Jung and the Story of our Time (1976).

Ingaret and he moved to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where they became involved with a circle of friends that included an introduction to Prince Charles, whom he then took on a safari to Kenya in 1977 and with whom he had a close and influential friendship for the rest of his life. Also in 1977, together with Ian Player, a South African conservationist, he created the first World Wilderness Congress in Johannesburg. In 1979 his Chelsea neighbor Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and she called on his advice with matters dealing with southern Africa, notably the Rhodesia settlement of 1979–80. In 1981 he was given a Knighthood.

In 1982 he fell and injured his back and used the downtime from tennis and skiing to write an autobiography called Yet Being Someone Other (1982), which discussed his love of the sea and his journey to Japan with Plomer in 1926. (His affection for that country and its people, despite his wartime experiences, had first been explored in 1968 in his Portrait of Japan.) By now Ingaret was slipping into senility, and he spent much time with Frances Baruch, an old friend. In 1984 his son John (who had gone on to be an engineer in London) died, and van der Post spent time with his youngest daughter Lucia and her family.

Van der Post Memorial Center - Philippolis-001
The Laurens van der Post Memorial Centre in Philippolis, South Africa

In old age Sir Laurens van der Post was involved with many projects, from the worldwide conservationist movement, to setting up a centre of Jungian studies in Cape Town. A Walk with a White Bushman (1986), the transcript of a series of interviews, gives a taste of his appeal as a conversationalist. In 1996, he tried to prevent the eviction of the Bushmen from their homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which had been set up for that purpose, but ironically it was his work in the 1950s to promote the land for cattle ranching that led to their eventual removal. In October 1996 he published The Admiral's Baby, describing the events in Java at the end of the war. His 90th birthday celebration was spread over five days in Colorado, with a "this is your life" type event with friends from every period of his life. A few days later, on 16 December 1996, after whispering in Afrikaans "die sterre" (the stars), he died. The funeral took place on 20 December in London, attended by Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher, and many friends and family.[5] His ashes were buried in a special memorial garden at Philippolis on 4 April 1998. Ingaret died five months after him on 5 May 1997.

Posthumous controversy

After his death a number of writers questioned the accuracy of van der Post's claims about his life.[6] His reputation as a "modern sage" and "guru" was questioned, and journalists published examples of van der Post's embellishing the truth in his memoirs and travel books.[6] A rebuttal was published by Christopher Booker (van der Post's Oxford Dictionary of National Biography biographer and friend).[7]

Selected works

For a complete list see External links.

  • In a Province; novel (1934).
  • Venture to the Interior; travel (1952).
  • The Face Beside the Fire; novel (1953).
  • A Bar of Shadow; novella (1954).
  • Flamingo Feather; novel (1955).
  • The Dark Eye in Africa; politics, psychology (1955).
  • The Lost World of the Kalahari; travel (1958) [BBC 6-part TV series, 1956].
  • The Heart of the Hunter; travel, folklore (1961).
  • The Seed and the Sower; three novellas (1963).
  • A Journey into Russia (US title: A View of All the Russias); travel (1964).
  • A Portrait of Japan; travel (1968).
  • The Night of the New Moon (US title: The Prisoner and the Bomb); wartime memoirs (1970).
  • A Story Like the Wind; novel (1972).
  • A Far-Off Place; novel, sequel to the above (1974).
  • Jung and the Story of Our Time; psychology, memoir (1975).
  • Yet Being Someone Other; memoir, travel (1982).
  • A Walk with A White Bushman; interview-transcripts (1986).
  • The Admiral's Baby; memoir (1996).


Film adaptations of his books.


  1. ^ "A Prophet Out of Africa". The Times. 17 December 1996. Archived from the original on 7 September 2006.
  2. ^ Roy Campbell; Laurens Van der Post; William Plomer (1926). Voorslag 1-3: A Magazine of South African Life and Art. ISBN 0-86980-423-5.
  3. ^ a b Dennis, Jon (1 March 2012). "Readers recommend: songs about books". The Guardian.
  4. ^ His introduction to The Heart of the Hunter
  5. ^ Smith, Dinitia (3 August 2003). "Master Storyteller or Master Deceiver?". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b Christopher Booker, "Post, Sir Laurens Jan van der (1906–1996)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, May 2005
  7. ^ Booker, Christopher (20 October 2001). "Small lies and the greater truth". The Spectator.

External links

Alan McGlashan

Alan Fleming McGlashan, MC (20 October 1898 in Bedworth, Nottinghamshire – 6 May 1997 in London) was a British pilot and doctor.

His father was a medical doctor in General Practice. McGlashan joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, later the RAF.

After constantly flying over German lines, he was Mentioned in Despatches, awarded the MC and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the citation reading, He has accomplished all his missions with the greatest devotion, and on many occasions has succeeded in reconnaissance at very low altitude in perilous conditions under violent enemy fire.

The Exhibition he won to Clare College Cambridge had been deferred to 1918 (B.A. 1921). He trained for the medical profession at St George's Hospital (MRCS and LRCP 1924). After qualifying, he joined a tramp steamer as ship's surgeon. He also worked as a drama critic for The Observer and News Chronicle.

After joining his father in general practice, he trained at the Maudsley Hospital and the Tavistock Clinic, qualifying as a consultant psychiatrist (D.P.M.) in 1940.

Later, after meeting C.G. Jung and reading his works, Dr. McGlashan, though eclectic in his work, leaned strongly towards Jungian analysis. Between 1941 and 1945 Dr. McGlashan was consulting psychiatrist on the War Office Selection Boards. He was a member of the psychiatric staff at St George's Hospital, the Maudsley Hospital and the West End Hospital; his private practice was for many years in Wimpole Street, and later at his home. His patients including HRH The Prince of Wales and, as she would become, Diana, Princess of Wales.

In 1934 he married Hilda Cameron-Smith (died 1975), and in 1979 he married Sasha Baldi.

Laurens van der Post and Arthur Koestler were close friends. He died in London on 6 May 1997, aged 98.

Burt Glinn

Burton Samuel Glinn (July 23, 1925 – April 9, 2008) was an American professional photographer who worked with Magnum Photos. He covered revolutionary leader Fidel Castro's entrance into Havana, Cuba, and photographed people such as Andy Warhol and Helen Frankenthaler. Glinn's photos show such things as the social scene of the rich, the dirtiness of politics, and the humorous flotilla that called itself the Seattle Tubing Society. He was also a contributor to Holiday.

Central News Agency Literary Award

The Central News Agency Literary Award (CNA Literary Award, CNA Prize) was a major annual literary award in South Africa. It was named for the CNA chain of bookstores. Founded by Phillip Stein, it recognised works in prose and poetry, and in both the English language and Afrikaans.The last award was presented in 1996, although CNA later launched a "Book of the Year" award for popular bestsellers of any genre.

Dorothea Bleek

Dorothea Frances Bleek (later Dorothy F. Bleek; born 26 March 1873, Mowbray, Cape Town – died 27 June 1948, Newlands, Cape Town) was a South African-born German anthropologist and philologist known for her research on the Bushmen (the San people) of southern Africa.She was born into her profession as the fifth daughter of Wilhelm Bleek, a pioneering philologist studying the languages and cultures of southern Africa in the late 1800s. Much of his work was done in partnership with his sister-in-law (Dorothy Bleek's aunt, Lucy Lloyd). The work of Dorothy Bleek was largely a continuation of her father and aunt's research, but she also made numerous notable contributions of her own to the field. Her culminating work, published after death, was the book A Bushman Dictionary, still referenced today.Laurens van der Post, who liked to think of himself as "a white Bushman", credited her book Mantis and His Hunter (along with Specimens of Bushman Folklore by her father and aunt) as "a sort of Stone Age Bible". This is in the introduction to The Heart of the Hunter (1961), a follow-up to The Lost World of the Kalahari, the book based on the BBC series that brought the Bushmen to international attention.

Bleek's research and findings are often overshadowed by the work of her father, and she has been criticised for lacking the empathy and intuition of him and her aunt. This has led to a misperception of her as a racist.Despite this, Bleek's research on the language, customs, and especially rock art of southern Africa (present-day South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia) stands as a vital contribution to scholarship on the region. Her photographs and audio recordings were especially important to later researchers.

Dudley Ryder, 7th Earl of Harrowby

Dudley Danvers Granville Coutts Ryder, 7th Earl of Harrowby, TD (20 December 1922 – 9 October 2007) was a deputy chairman of Coutts bank and its parent company, NatWest. He was a descendent of Thomas Coutts, who joined the bank in 1761, and of Sir Dudley Ryder, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench in the 1750s. He was known by his courtesy title of Viscount Sandon from 1956 to 1987, when he succeeded to the title of Earl of Harrowby upon the death of his father, the 6th Earl.

When he was born, his father, also Dudley Ryder, was Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Sir Samuel Hoare. His mother, Lady Helena Blanche Coventry, was the daughter of George William Coventry, Viscount Deerhurst, first son of George Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry.

He was educated at Eton. He joined the young soldiers' battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1940, while at Eton. He was commissioned in 1942. He landed in Normandy 6 days after D-Day, and served in Northern Europe in the Second World War in the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division. He moved to the 133 Field Regiment Royal Artillery in February 1945, part of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, but was severely injured near the Reichswald forest only a few days later. After recovering from his injuries, he was posted to the Far East in preparation for the invasion of Malaya, Operation Zipper. The operation was abandoned following the surrender of Japan. He remained in the Far East after the war, serving as a political officer with the 5th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in Java, under Laurens van der Post. He continued as an officer in the Territorial Army after he retired from the regular Army, rising to rank of lieutenant-colonel before retiring in 1964, having commanded the 254 (City of London) Field Regiment Royal Artillery.Although he did not follow many of his ancestors in standing for Parliament, he was a councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 1950 to 1971. He was president of the Wolverhampton South West Conservative Association, resigning in protest after the sitting MP, Enoch Powell, made his "rivers of blood" speech in 1968.

He turned down a place at New College, Oxford to join the family bank after leaving the Army, and became a managing director in 1949. He continued in that role until 1989, and was also deputy chairman from 1970 to 1989. He was responsible for the modernisation of the bank during the 1970s and 1980s, introducing computerisation and co-ordinating a redevelopment of the bank's offices on the Strand to a design by Sir Frederick Gibberd. When Coutts' parent company, National Provincial Bank, merged with Westminster Bank in 1968, he joined the board of the combined NatWest Bank. He was deputy chairman of NatWest from 1971 to 1987.

He was also a director of the National Provident Institution until 1986, and of the Saudi International Bank, Bentley Engineering, Powell Duffryn, Dowty and Dinorwic Slate Quarries. He also held public appointments, including being chairman of the governors of the combined Bethlem Royal and Maudsley hospitals, a governor of the University of Keele, and treasurer of the Family Welfare Association. He was also a member of the member Trilateral Commission and of the Institut International d'Études Bancaires.

He took the courtesy title of Viscount Sandon following the death of his grandfather in 1956, and succeeded his father as 7th Earl of Harrowby in 1987. He also inherited the family seat, neo-Jacobean Sandon Hall near Stafford, designed by William Burn in 1850. Together with all but 90 hereditary peers, he lost his seat in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999 implemented reforms proposed by the Labour Government.He married Jeannette Rosalthé Johnston-Saint, younger daughter of Captain Peter Johnston-Saint, on 14 June 1949. They had a son and a daughter. His first wife died in 1997, and he remarried in 2003, to Janet Boote (née Stott), youngest daughter of Alan Edward Stott.

He died suddenly at Sandon Hall, of a suspected heart attack. He was survived by his second wife, and the two children from his first marriage. His son, Dudley Ryder, succeeded him as 8th Earl.

Eileen Naseby

Eileen Naseby (born 1943) is the Australian author of Ursula, A Voyage of Love and Drama, the book is the biography of Naseby's mother, Ursula.

The biography tells the compelling story of her escape from the Nazi regime, her closeted upbringing in Palestine, her love affair with the adventurer and writer Laurens van der Post, and her eventual emigration with the baby Eileen and her new husband Nigel - a gentle idealist - to an Australian outback Queensland dairy farm. Ursula eventually converted from Judaism, along with Nigel, to the Bahá'í Faith.

The author Eileen Naseby was born in Haifa, but Ursula left Eileen's father soon after her birth. In her early childhood Eileen emigrated to Australia with her mother and stepfather, growing up on the remote dairy farm with two younger brothers and three sisters.

Married to the painter David Naseby in the mid 1960s, Eileen raised four children before establishing Australia's leading stock footage archival film library, Film World. With Film World and Murdoch Books Eileen produced the Australian Memories series of photographic books, showcasing images from Film World's Cinesound Movietone Archive.

Eileen has received several fellowships to Varuna, The Writers' House in the Blue Mountains of NSW, and is now at work on a novel.

Evadne Baker

Evadne Baker (August 19, 1937 – January 17, 1995) was a South African actress. She was born in Cape Town, to parents of French, Dutch, and German heritage. She trained as a ballerina from the age of six, and moved to England when she was nine to continue her training in London.She later studied in Paris and Geneva under several prominent instructors, including Margot Fonteyn. She supported herself by working as a model for Vogue magazine.It has been claimed that she was impregnated at age 14 by the famous writer, adventurer, anthropologist and environmentalist Laurens van der Post, aged about 46 at the time and who was accompanying the girl on a sea voyage between South Africa and England.

When she was seventeen, she was rejected by Sadler's Wells Theatre because she was too tall, and she returned to South Africa to study acting and seek work in the theatre. After a year performing with the national theatre, she returned to England to study jazz dancing. In Paris she auditioned for Matt Matlex and won a role in a Las Vegas show, where she was discovered by a talent agent for 20th Century Fox who signed her to a movie contract.

Grey College, Bloemfontein

Grey College is a public school for boys located in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa, one of the 23 Milner Schools.

Grey College was ranked 1st out of the top 100 best high schools in Africa by Africa Almanac in 2003 and 2013, based upon quality of education, student engagement, strength and activities of alumni, school profile, internet and news visibility.

Ingaret Giffard

Ingaret Giffard (1902 – May 5, 1997), was a British actress and author, and the second wife of Sir Laurens Van der Post (CBE).

Born in England, she lived with her family for four years in India, after which, back in London, she began acting and writing plays. One of her plays, "Because We Must," with Vivien Leigh, Alan Napier, Howard Wyndham, and Bronson Albery, was staged at Wyndham's Theater in 1937.Giffard also traveled to the Sudan and to South Africa, and she met Van der Post in London in 1936, where he was working as a journalist. He had been born, raised, and started his career in South Africa. They were both married to others when they met; it wasn't until 1949 that both were free to marry each other.

Giffard introduced her husband to Carl G. Jung, whose analytic techniques had helped her troubled mother. The Van der Posts moved to Switzerland, where Jung lived, and became part of his circle of friends. Giffard herself trained as a lay Jungian analyst.Giffard wrote a memoir entitled The Way Things Happen, which was published in 1990 by William Morrow & Co.

She died five months after her husband, in 1997.


A koeksister is a traditional Afrikaner confectionery made of fried dough infused in syrup or honey. The name derives from the Dutch word "koek", which generally means a wheat flour confectionery, also the origin of the American English word "cookie", and "sister" can refer to the oral tradition of two sisters plaiting their doughnuts and then dunking them in syrup, so creating this iconic pastry. "Sis" can also refer to the sizzling sound it makes when the dough is dipped into the oil.

This should not be confused with the Cape Malay version called koe'sister which is a spicy dumpling with a cake-like texture, finished off with a sprinkling of coconut.Koeksisters are prepared by frying plaited dough strips in oil, then submersing the hot fried dough into ice cold sugar syrup. Koeksisters have a golden crunchy crust and liquid syrup centre, are very sticky and sweet, and taste like honey.

A monument of a koeksister in the Afrikaner community of Orania speaks to the Afrikaner tradition of baking them to raise funds for the building of churches and schools.

Lilian Bowes Lyon

Lilian Helen Bowes Lyon (1895–1949) was a British poet.


Philippolis is a small town in the Free State province of South Africa. The writer and intellectual Sir Laurens van der Post was born here. It is regarded as one of the first colonial period settlements in the Free State.

San rock art

The San, or Bushmen, are indigenous people in Southern Africa particularly in what is now South Africa and Botswana. Their ancient rock paintings and carvings (collectively called rock art) are found in caves and on rock shelters. The artwork depicts non-human beings, hunters, and half-human half-animal hybrids. The half-human hybrids are believed to be medicine men or healers involved in a healing dance.”Gall writes, “The Laurens van der Post panel at Tsodilo is one of the most famous rock paintings.” High on this rock face in Botswana is the image of a “magnificent red eland bull” painted, according to Van der Post, “only as a Bushman who had a deep identification with the eland could have painted him.” Also on this rock face is a female giraffe that is motionless, as if alarmed by a predator. Several other images of animals are depicted there too, along with the flesh blood-red handprints that are the signature of the unknown artist. The Drakensberg and Lesotho is particularly well known for its San rock art.

Tsodilo was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001; not all the art covered by this is by San people or their ancestors.

Specimens of Bushman Folklore

Specimens of Bushman Folklore is a book by the linguist Wilhelm H. I. Bleek and Lucy C. Lloyd, which was published in 1911. The book records eighty-seven legends, myths and other traditional stories of the ǀXam Bushmen in their now-extinct language. The stories were collected through interviews with various narrators, chief among them ǀA!kunta, ǁKabbo, Diäǃkwain, ǃKweiten ta ǁken and ǀHanǂkasso.

These tales were written down and translated by Bleek and his sister-in-law Lloyd. Bleek died in 1875, but Lloyd continued transcribing ǀXam narratives after his death. It is thanks to her efforts that some of the narratives were eventually published in this book, which also includes sketches of rock art attributed to the Bushmen people and some ǃXun narratives.

Specimens of Bushman Folklore has been considered the cornerstone of study of the Bushmen and their religious beliefs. Laurens van der Post describes the book (and Dorothea Bleek's Mantis and His Friend) as "a sort of Stone Age Bible" in the introduction to The Heart of the Hunter (1961), a follow-up to The Lost World of the Kalahari.

Specimens of Bushman Folklore, as well as the situation of the Bushmen during their disappearance in South Africa and the lives of Bleek and Lloyd, have been covered in a Dutch documentary series called The Broken String.

The Seed and the Sower

The Seed and the Sower is a book by South African writer Laurens van der Post, consisting of three interrelated stories blended into a novel, first published in 1963. The novel was filmed in 1983 as Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, directed by Nagisa Oshima and starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Takeshi Kitano.

Toni Wolff

Toni Anna Wolff (18 September 1888 – 21 March 1953) was a Swiss Jungian analyst and a close collaborator of Carl Jung. During her analytic career Wolff published relatively little under her own name, but she helped Jung identify, define, and name some of his best-known concepts, including anima, animus, and persona, as well as the theory of the psychological types. Her best-known paper is an essay on four "types" or aspects of the feminine psyche: the Amazon, the Mother, the Hetaira, and the Medial (or mediumistic) Woman.


Voorslag (Whiplash) was a literary journal published in Durban, South Africa in 1926 and 1927. It was the first modern small magazine in South Africa and was subtitled "A Magazine of South African Life and Art". The magazine was founded by Roy Campbell and William Plomer; Laurens van der Post was invited to become its Afrikaans correspondent. Campbell served as the publication's editor for three issues before resigning due to interference from his proprietor, Lewis Reynolds; Reynolds discouraged Voorslag's criticism of the colonial system.

Wilhelm Bleek

Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (8 March 1827 – 17 August 1875) was a German linguist. His work included A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages and his great project jointly executed with Lucy Lloyd: The Bleek and Lloyd Archive of ǀxam and !kun texts. A short form of this eventually reached press with Specimens of Bushman Folklore, which Laurens van der Post drew on heavily.

Winifred Rushforth

Dr (Margaret) Winifred Rushforth OBE (1885-1983) (née Bartholomew) was a Scottish medical practitioner and Christian missionary in India who, influenced by Hugh Crichton-Miller and his friend, C.G. Jung, became the founder of a family clinic in Scotland, a therapist, Dream Group facilitator and writer. During a long and active career, spent mostly in Edinburgh, Scotland, she came to be revered and regarded as a local personality for people interested in spirituality and self-actualization.

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