“The Hope Chest”
This book is the record of my attempts to unravel the lineage of my mother’s family. It all started when I asked my mother, “Where does this chest, that I’ve been dragging along with me from house to house, come from?” My mother Martha Catharina le Roux, born Schreuder, then told me the story of my ancestors as she remembered it. The Schreuders were farmers from the Namaqualand region of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The matrilineal ancestors of the Schreuders were the Engelbrecht family, and before them, the Auret family. The patrilineal line of decent is a straight line from the earliest Schreuder of whom we have record, Albertus Johannes Compion Schreuder, born in 1868.
The history of the Schreuders and their ancestors is also that of the Afrikaner farmer in South Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The themes of patriarchal lifestyle and, concomitantly, the ties to family farms and ownership of property carried from father to son over generations, are also those of the Afrikaners who populated the furthest expanses of the country. As is clear, with the passing of the years, many of the children born in the latter half of the 20th century no longer farm, and many have left the country altogether. Along with the loss of land, culture and certain characteristics, there is now also the loss of language, not only in the Schreuder family but also in the country. In “The Go-Between”, LP Hartley famously wrote, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”. The same can be said of our family’s history.
I had thought initially that I would redesign what was a simple set of notes. It ended up being a sometimes disturbing rediscovery of not only childhood but of my nationality and my language. Adding to the poignancy of the process of producing the book is the fact that I wrote it after having emigrated from South Africa to Canada and have left behind me, literally and figuratively, all of what I write about.
Self-published poetry collections and travel writing
These books were produced with Blurb software, self-published, and hosted on the Blurb platform. Here are a couple of which you can do a virtual page-through.
Other self-published photography books
Red Planet – A Geologist’s View of AngloGold Ashanti’s mine, AGA Mineração, Brazil, both surface and underground
CONGO – AngloGold Ashanti’s Mongbwalu Mine in the DRC