Thursday, 21 July 2016
Book: The story of a rough but beautiful land: The Golden Republic by Thomas Victor Bulpin
In the story of the The Golden Republic, Bulpin sets a stage on which we meet some of the strangest characters that fate had ever attached to the puppet strings of destiny. The grim Mzilikazi; the hot-headed Hendrik Potgieter and his trekkers; prospectors like Charlie the Reefer; gaudy rogues like Gunn of Gunn and his Highlanders; bandits, highwaymen, rand lords, gold rushers, to name just a few. He tells of leaders like Pretorius and Kruger, and many others who each played a part in establishing the Republic of the Transvaal – a seemingly impossible task considering all the small wars and skirmishes on the veld and the rumble of arguments rising out of each farmhouse.
In his remarkably engaging style of writing he sketches scenes of rough but beautiful land, which must have been fascinating to explorers who roamed about the old Transvaal with all its scenic novelties where every turn yielded some marvel for the geologist, the botanist, or the zoologist.
The Golden Republic tells of the adventure that raised the Republic to its peak and the complex intrigues that brought it down to the dust; of misfortune and riches, and despair of such magnitude that the birth of a Republic seemed inevitable considering the economic disaster it at times experienced … until gold poked out its shiny head and gave hope again. The characters who crowded into diggers’ towns were some of the wildest and most colourful ever known in the Transvaal. From all over South Africa they flocked to the scene, in the hope of finding fortune. Most of them were just opportunists, who knew nothing about gold except how to spend it.
This is a brilliant book of the birth, life and death of the old Republic written in the tell-all style Bulpin does so well.
About the authors
Thomas Victor Bulpin (1918–1999) was a writer about African big game hunters, South African travel and history. He was a well-known and very prolific travel writer – he wrote 29 books and thousands of pamphlets and features on southern Africa for magazines and newspapers. An inveterate traveller, he was the author of classics such as Islands in a Forgotten Sea, The Ivory Trail, Natal and the Zulu Country, The Hunter is Death, Storm over the Transvaal and Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa.