‘An Entirely Different World’: Russian Visitors to the Cape
1797–1870
 

   


Alexey Vysheslavtsev,                 Vasily Golovnin,                         Ivan Goncharov,                      Yuri Lisyansky                  Alexander Wrangel,               Konstantin Posyet

 

 

Gredigeer deur Boris Gorelik

 

Boris Gorelik is ‘n Russiese skrywer en navorser wat in Moskou en Johannesburg gevestig is. Hy is in Sverdlovsk (USSR) geboreen het sy MA in Linguistiek aan die Staatsuniversiteit van Moskou verwerf. In 2004 is die graad Kandidaat in die Wetenskappe, Afdeling Geskiedenis, aan hom toegeken deur die Instituut vir Afrika-Studies van die Russiese Akademie vir die Wetenskappe. Die graad is verwerf op grond van sy navorsing oor die geskiedenis van Russiese emigrasie na Suid-Afrika.

Gorelikis die skrywer van ʼn omvattende studie oor die Russiese gemeenskap in Suid-Afrika (Moskou, 2006) en ʼn volledige biografie oor die kunstenaar Vladimir Tretchikoff (Kaapstad; Londen, 2013). Hy het ook die nuwe goedgekeurde weergawe van David Grinker seherinneringe aan Soweto vanaf 1960 tot bydie 1980’s voorberei en geredigeer (Johannesburg, 2014).


ISBN 978–0–9814264-6-4

 

Die Russiese perspektief op die Kaap, soos dit in hierdie volume verskyn, is waarskynlik uniek.

Gedurende die tydperk wat ter sprake is, het Rusland geen kulturele, politieke of ekonomiese bande met Suid-Afrika gehad nie. Die Russe het die Kaap bloot beskou as ʼn gerieflike plek om oor te bly op pad na die Verre Ooste, na die verre domeine van hul vaderland wat nie langs ʼn ander weg per see bereik kon word nie. Die Kaap was een van die ‘eksotiese’ lande wat hulle op sulke reise sou besoek, hul eerste en enigste kennismaking met die kontinent van Afrika.

Alhoewel hulle verwonderd en verstom was oor die ‘gans ander węreld’ wat hulle gevind het, het Russiese reisigers tog dikwels onverwagte parallelle getrek tussen die lewe in hul vaderland en dit wat hulle in die Kaapkolonie waargeneem het.

Die geselekteerde stukke sluit herinneringe in van belangrike Russiese persoonlikhede soos Yuri Lisyansky, VasilyGolovnin, Ivan Goncharov en Konstantin Posyet. Die meeste van die tekste verskyn vir die eerste keer in Engels.


                                       
 

       

 

Cape Town, 1858  by  Alexey Vysheslavtsev

 

   

 

Uittreksel van: A Russian Novelist at the Cape, by Ivan Goncharov:

 

...[Andrew Geddes] Bain is a remarkable man in the Colony. He has lived there from an early age and four times, either alone or with companions, has travelled beyond its furthest limits, across the Orange River, to 20°S latitude, partly for geological exploration, partly from a passion for travel and adventure. He spoke much of his encounters with lions and rhinoceroses ….
    Also with his companions, he went on a big hunt in the far interior and ran into a tribe that was at war with its neighbour. The chief received him very warmly and entertained him for several days. And when Bain wanted to take his leave, the chief asked him to fight in the war and help to overcome the enemy. Bain replied that he could not do that without permission from his government.       
    ‘Very well then, your rifles, oxen and wagons are all mine,’ retorted the savage. Persuasion was in vain, and Bain set off for the war. Fortunately, it did not last long. Neither side had any firearms of their own. The enemy fled at Bain’s first shots, leaving their dwellings in the victors’ hands.

‘Shooting at the poor devils must have been very unpleasant for you?’ we asked.

‘Not at all,’ Bain answered, ‘I fired blanks, you see. It did not occur to anybody to check up on me. They do not know how to use guns.’

Bain is tall, built sturdily and strongly; he walks a great deal, taking long firm strides like an elephant, no matter uphill or downhill. He eats a lot, like a workman, and drinks even more; he has a reddish complexion, and he is balding. From learned conversation, he passes easily to joking, and he sings so loud that we, all together, could not shout him down. If he were not a civil engineer and geologist, then, certainly, he would be an African Rubini: his falsetto is amazing.105 He sang Scottish songs and ballads for us ….