Liberia in World Athletics Junior Championship in the US

first_imgA US based Liberian athlete, Wellington Zaza, is representing Liberia in the 2014 World Junior Championship in Eugene, USA, the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF) has said.The Junior Championship began on Tuesday, July 22 to conclude on Sunday, July 27, 2014.According to LAF’s vice president for technical Affairs, Frederick Krah, the 3-man delegation is headed by Fatima Mohammed (a retired Liberian female Olympian).Athlete Zaza achieved his entry into the World Junior Championship by running 14:00 and 52:56 Seconds in both the 110m/400m respectively; times above the minimum standards (14:64 and 53:30 seconds) requirement for the competition.According to a release from the LAF secretariat, the trip is sponsored by Dr. Grace-Ann Dinkins, a philanthropist and three-time Liberian Olympian.Meanwhile, Zaza emerged third in last Tuesday’s event in the 110m amongst eight nationals, with US and German athletes Theophile Viltz and Patrick Elger surfacing first and second respectively.Zaza’s third place qualified him to the semifinals of the 110m and is the only African. The semi-final was on up to press time yesterday. Wellington Zaza was born on January 20, 1995. He is 19.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

BCCC Upgrades Standard at School of Nursing

first_imgAfter upgrading standards at its Department of Health Science’s School of Nursing, the Bomi County Community College (BCCC) in Tubmanburg stands to be reaccredited by the Liberia Board for Nursing & Midwifery (LBNM) in August 2016.The administration of the BCCC, under President Zobong Norman, has expanded the school’s demonstration lab; added several classrooms; acquired instructors with the requisite degrees; added an air-conditioner; and acquired current nursing and midwifery text books, among others, as part of LBNM’s requirements for the school’s reaccreditation.The college’s first accreditation was withdrawn in 2013, with 140 students sent home because the department at the time lacked standard requirements, including unqualified teachers, to execute the program.Taking over the BCCC upon his appointment by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with a new Board of Directors and a shared vision to ensure that BCCC serves prospective students from Cape Mount, Gbapolu and Bomi counties, Dr. Norman and his new team started working.To complete the requirement for the college’s reaccreditation, the new administration further expanded the school’s library, divided classroom sections to accommodate the required 45 students per class, created a computer lab, and provided a television set. It is also installing an Internet center, among others, to get the program back in shape for the resumption of nursing and midwifery courses in the September school term.Working along with the LBNM, the school held a two-day seminar (July 18 and 19) at the school’s Fatoma Compound campus, with 35 participants, including teachers, nurses, RNs (Registered Nurses), PAs (Physician Assistants) and others attending.Facilitators included three officials from the Liberia Board of Nursing & Midwifery (LBNM) headed by Mr. Humphrey Gibbs-Loweal, the Director of Phebe School of Nursing & Midwifery, who is also the Assistant Chairman of LBNM; Mrs. Darboi G. Korkoyah, Monitoring & Evaluation Director at LBNM; and Mrs. Cecelia C. Kpangbala-Flomo, LBNM’s Registrar.They were assisted by Mrs. Josephine D. Snorton, Health Consultant at the BCCC, who shared the vision to see the resumption of the program there. The two-day seminar discussed ‘Curriculum Implementation (credit hours)’ by Director Gibbs-Loweal; ‘Inter-Disciplinary Manual & Log’ by Mrs. Korkoya; and ‘Good Governance’ by Mrs. Flomo.The seminar was interactive and the participants excitedly contributed to its progress. The second day’s session examined the ‘Roles & Responsibilities for Preceptors, Instructors and Students’ by Mrs. Korkoyah; ‘Effective Teaching Skills’ by Director Gibbs-Loweal; and ‘Assessment Tools’ by Mrs. Flomo. Earlier, BCCC President Norman expressed appreciation for the college’s persistence, and support from the various stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, the student population, the community, the Bomi County Caucus, as well as authorities at the Liberia Government Hospital in Tubmanburg, whose head, Dr. Williamatta S. Williams-Gibson, attended the program.Dr. Norman also commended the Liberia Board for Nursing & Midwifery (LBNM) for its support to BCCC that resulted in excellent progress in a short period of time since his administration took over.Meanwhile, BCCC has established the Bomi Youth Center, which provides computer literacy programs for the community. The center will resume classes on August 1, with subjects including Microsoft Publisher; Microsoft Access; Corel Draw; Photoshop CS6; Quick Books; Introduction to Microsoft Office Suite; and Internet Explorer. The center has graduated over 200 students from beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

NBA All-Star notes: Young Kidd was fan of Lakers

first_imgWith Kidd’s New Jersey Nets struggling to a 25-29 record as next week’s trading deadline approaches, Kidd’s name has begun popping up in trade rumors, most recently in connection with the Lakers. Asked about the possibility of being traded to his favorite childhood team, Kidd said, “With the history of the Lakers, you definitely can’t be disappointed. Just the tradition, what they have as a franchise, you’re not going to say you would be disappointed. LAS VEGAS – No offense to the Golden State Warriors, but as far as Jason Kidd was concerned, as a kid growing up in San Francisco the Lakers were the only basketball team worth watching. “I was 12, 13 years old. It was right in that Showtime Era,” Kidd said. “Magic Johnson was my favorite player. I thought about wearing No.32 and taking his spot. The unfortunate thing is that I didn’t grow up to be 6-9.” “There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on. In this league, you’ve always got one bag packed. I learned that real fast. With the Lakers, or whoever it may be, if you get that call, you have to go. Right now, my job is to try to get us into the playoffs.” In addition to the Nets’ struggles, it’s been a tough season off the court for Kidd. He is in the process of divorcing his wife of 10 years, Joumana, and The Associated Press reported Friday that Joumana Kidd charged that Jason physically abused her and cheated on her throughout their 10-year marriage. Jason Kidd’s lawyer, though, said Friday that the “bizarre allegations will be proven false.” Pippen wants to play again: Former Chicago Bulls’ star Scottie Pippen said he is ready for a comeback. “I know that I have the skills,” the 41-year old Pippen said. “It’s been on my mind the last couple of months.” center_img Pippen retired in October 2004, but has been working out in Florida and said that his body is fully healed from the injuries which helped him decide to end his career three years ago. Asked with team he’d want to return to – with speculation naturally pointing at the Lakers because of Pippen’s ties to Phil Jackson – Pippen said only that he wanted to play for a contending team. Arenas draws a crowd: Washington Wizards’ point guard Gilbert Arenas is making a run the Magic Johnson Award that’s presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to the most media-friendly NBA player. The award normally goes to good-guy types like Seattle’s Ray Allen or the Clippers’ Elton Brand. But for entertainment value, there’s no one out there like Arenas (Grant High of Van Nuys). “People like entertainment. Nobody wants to hear the same thing, no one wants coffee and cream everyday, you got to spike it up a little bit,” Arenas joked. “Ten, 15 years from now, I’m going to be out of the league no one is going to care about what I say. I might as well just have fun with it now. I’m not going to say anything too stupid. I may say some stupid stuff, but it’s going to be funny. I’m a funny guy.” Farmar on the wrong side: Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar said he had fun playing in the Rookie Game Friday night, but being on the receiving end of a 155-114 shellacking – even if it is an exhibition game – isn’t exactly his thing. “It’s all about winning to me. This was more of an exhibition,” said the former Taft High and UCLA standout, who finished with 12 points and two assists. “I tried a few lob passes, but we just weren’t on the same page. I would’ve done something (exciting) if I was in the open court. I’m sneaky like that. But I never had that situation.” Lakers center Andrew Bynum scored seven points in just 17 minutes. New York’s David Lee was the game’s MVP. He scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Hall candidates: Lakers coach Phil Jackson, Chris Mullin and Dick Vitale lead the list of 15 finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. They were joined by former players Adrian Dantley and Richie Guerin; coaches Roy Williams, Eddie Sutton and Bob Hurley Sr.; owner Bill Davidson; and the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team. Referee Mendy Rudolph, Yugoslavian coach Mirko Novosel, Spanish coach Pedro Ferrandiz and former U.S. women’s basketball coaches Van Chancellor and Harley Redin also were selected by the four screening committees that nominate finalists. The 2007 class will be announced April 2 at the Final Four in Atlanta, with the induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 7. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Biting the bullet

first_imgAnd a bullet train could well be the critical link to regionalization of Los Angeles’ airports. Though the trains be in direct competition with airlines for in-state travelers, they actually help longer-distance travelers get to Burbank, Palmdale and Ontario airports. Still, there are many concerns with the bullet train concept. For one, it require an enormous investment, and returns n’t be evident for about 15 years. Though the trains would for the most part rely on existing rail routes and rights-of-way, the authority would would would would would would likely have to use eminent domain to acquire many acres of private property adjacent to existing rail lines. There’s no question that high-speed rail works in Europe and Japan, where it has been used for 40 years. But it’s not at all sure that the fast train is the silver bullet for Californians’ future traffic woes. We do know, however, that whether California invests in serious transportation projects or not, people are still going to move here and bring cars with them. And if we don’t bite the bullet and provide sufficient funding from next year’s budget for the agency to continue with its work, the state may have missed the best chance it has at keeping California moving through the 21st century.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IT doesn’t take a traffic engineer to see that California’s freeway system is overtaxed and just a few years away from being maxed out. Any motoring Californian instinctively knows this from everyday experience. And the few traffic-relief projects planned or in the works are an ultimately futile hedge against the day when, finally, it really will be quicker to walk. This fundamental acceptance of the inescapable future will be of great benefit to the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority, which has begun pitching its plan for a statewide system of super-fast bullet trains rocketing between San Francisco and San Diego. We all know we must do something radical. Maybe a bullet train is the right answer. The rub, however, is deep: It costs $40 billion to build, and won’t start service for about 15 years. It’s going to be a tough sell, any way you look at it. First, backers must garner enough political support. Depending on how things go, the agency plans to be putting the initial funding – about $10 billion – before voters in 2008. What makes it harder is that the agency hasn’t made it very clear where that money is going to come from other than some vaguely plotted formula of public-private investment. Nonetheless, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has come out in strong support of the project. Although he criticizes the authority for spending 10 years and $40 million and not drafting a clear financing plan, he rightly recognizes that that oversight shouldn’t doom a good idea. This is welcome, because the bullet-train concept needs financial and political support from the governor and Legislature, or it’s likely the train will never get past the concept stage. Despite its high price tag, the bullet train has many benefits, not the least of which is; It would take cars off the roads. As well, it be privately run by a company that knows how to turn a profit while providing good service. last_img read more

Spurs stand between Allegri and Champions League grail

first_imgA surprise replacement for Antonio Conte in July 2014, the former AC Milan boss has won seven consecutive trophies with the Turin giants including the last three Serie A titles.Italy’s national side are in disarray after the four-time winners’ humiliating World Cup exit, but Juventus are in fine form under Allegri.So much so that his name has not only been among those touted as the future Italy boss but as a potential manager of English giants Chelsea and Arsenal.The six-time defending champions are currently engaged in a gripping battle at the top of the Serie A table with Napoli for the Scudetto.Juventus have won 11 matches in a row in all competitions, conceding just one goal in 16 games -– an all-time club record © AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTEJuventus have won 11 matches in a row in all competitions, conceding just one goal in 16 games -– an all-time club record.But two Champions League final defeats in the past three editions have dented Allegri’s standing.A 3-1 loss to Barcelona in 2015 was followed by another crushing 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid last year after which Allegri revealed he almost quit.“I wondered if I should write the final chapter to my story at Juventus,” said Allegri at the time, saying that his “love of teaching” had encouraged him to continue.“It is truly the joy of my life. I like making players better and smarter. I know I still have a lot to prove. And I know I still have a lot to teach.”– Ageing squad –Instead he signed a new contract until 2020 and his Champions League quest continues with a last 16, first leg meeting with Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham.Taking over from Conte — who went on to coach Italy and Chelsea — could have been a hard act to follow, but Allegri has managed to stamp his mark on the Turin side with even greater success than his predecessor.Conte took Juve to three Serie A titles and oversaw the team’s return to the summit of Italian football after the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal of 2006.Allegri’s 200 games in charge may be dwarfed by Giovanni Trapattoni’s record 596 but his percentage of wins are in a class of their own — 142 in total — a success rate of more than 70 percent.Juventus’ domination of the Serie A is largely down to the side’s formidable defence, commanded by goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon © AFP/File / CARLO HERMANNAllegri has accumulated a 238-point haul in Serie A to overtake the previous records of 234 by Conte and Carlo Carcano back in the 1930s.He plays down the coach’s role, insisting “the players win, I try to do the least damage possible”.But an ageing squad could hamper Allegri’s quest for the European title Juventus won in 1985 and 1996.The team’s domination of the Serie A is largely down to the side’s formidable defence, commanded by goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, 40, who reached a milestone 500 league games on Friday.Defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli are 33 and 36 years old respectively, with star striker Gonzalo Higuain a sprightly 30.Injuries are also a concern with Barzagli and Paulo Dybala in a race against time to be fit, and Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi and Benedikt Howedes out of action.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Coach Massimiliano Allegri marked his 200th game in the Juventus dugout with a 2-0 win in Florence, capping a record breaking three-and-a-half years in Turin © AFP/File / Tiziana FABITURIN, Italy, Feb 12 – Massimiliano Allegri may be breaking records in Italy but the Juventus coach’s quest for the elusive Champions League grail continues on Tuesday against English side Tottenham Hotspur.The 50-year-old marked his 200th game in the Juventus dugout with a 2-0 win in Florence on Friday, capping a record breaking three-and-a-half years in Turin.last_img read more

Calderons have stellar election day

first_imgIt was a Calderon night. Election night in Whittier saw former state Sen. Charles Calderon win the 58th Assembly District Democratic primary, while his brother, state Assemblyman Ron Calderon, is leading in the 30th Senate District Democratic primary, though by a very narrow margin. The only non-Calderon to win the primary in a local state office race was Artesia Councilman Tony Mendoza, who won the 56th Assembly District Democratic primary. U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, easily defeated her two challengers. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2All four of the candidates now will move on to the November general election, where they are favored to win in their heavily Democratic districts. Following is a rundown of the three hotly contested Democratic primaries: 30th Senate District For two years, state Assemblymen Rudy Bermudez and Ron Calderon battled each other in their bids to succeed state Sen. Martha Escutia in the 30th Senate District. On Wednesday, with only 374 votes separating the two, Bermudez, D-Norwalk, and Calderon, D-Montebello, now will have to wait while the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office completes a count of absentee and provisional ballots. Calderon is leading Bermudez by a 50.5 to 49.5 percentage margin. The first registrar-recorder’s update is scheduled to be released Friday. “It’s too close to call at this point,” said Caroline Heldman, associate professor of political science at Whittier College. “This is one of those fascinating races in American politics, where you have two challengers with high name recognition who can spend a lot of money.” Bermudez agreed Wednesday that the race is still too close to call. “There are a lot of ballots that still need to be counted,” he said. “We’re all in suspense. It’s not unusual to see a 600-vote swing.” Both candidates ran well in their hometowns. Calderon received 61 percent of the vote in Montebello, while Bermudez garnered 63 percent in Norwalk. Calderon did best on the western side of the district, winning majorities in Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park and South Gate. Bermudez won majorities in La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier. 56th Assembly District Mendoza won the race by a wide margin, with 46 percent of the vote. He lost only among voters in Buena Park. Opponent Sally Flowers, an Artesia City Council member, received 29 percent of the votes, while Norwalk Councilman Rick Ramirez took 25 percent. Mendoza’s support was so strong, he defeated Ramirez in Ramirez’s hometown of Norwalk, receiving 48 percent of the votes cast there to Ramirez’s 32 percent. “The issues I ran on really resonated with the voters of the district,” Mendoza said. “They were issues of public education, public safety and universal health care.” He also was helped with the endorsement of outgoing Assemblyman Bermudez. “\ anointed someone to fill the seat and \ won handily,” Heldman said. 58th Assembly District Calderon was the key name in this race. Former state Sen. Charles Calderon of Whittier easily won the Democratic primary, with 37 percent of the vote. His three opponents, Whittier Councilman Owen Newcomer, Pico Rivera Councilman David Armenta and Montebello school board member Geri Guzman, each received about 20 percent of the votes. “A Calderon is vacating the seat and a Calderon is filling the seat,” Heldman said, referring to Assemblyman Ron Calderon, who chose to run for state Senate. Charles Calderon ran well throughout the 30th district, with the only exceptions being Pico Rivera, where Armenta received the most votes, and Whittier, where Newcomer won. “The Calderon name is well known among political circles, and I’m not surprised the voters voted for a Calderon,” said Heldman. (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgGARDAI are appealing for information after a series of bicycle thefts in west Donegal in recent days.They are investigating the possibility that the same gang is behind all the incidents in which top of the range cycles were taken.Two bikes were stolen from a house near Keadue, two from a house in Maghery and the one pictured above was taken in the Annagry area. The bike below was stolen along with a Boardman bike in one of the Orbea ora with planet x wheels  GARDAI INVESTIGATE SERIES OF BIKE THEFTS was last modified: August 31st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GARDAI INVESTIGATE SERIES OF BIKE THEFTSlast_img read more

Troops land in Donegal – to learn Irish!

first_imgThey will eventually join the American Army and could see combat around the globe.But a group of young cadets have landed in Donegal on a very different mission.The group from Marion Military College are keen to study Irish. Cadets from Marion Military College in Alabama have been learning Irish in Glencomncille, in the heart of the Donegal gaeltacht.The group follow in the footsteps of many other notables who visited Glencolmcille to learn or brush up on their Irish.Donegal Minister Joe McHugh looked to Glencolmcille to help him become a fluent speaker while Daniel O’Donnell attended the area last year to brush up on his native tongue.The time spent at Glencolmcille will be time well-spent for the American cadets. They receive credits towards their diploma for learning a language and chose to come to Ireland for the five-week programme.Troops land in Donegal – to learn Irish! was last modified: July 1st, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GlencolmcilleirishlanguagelearnMarion Millitary Collegelast_img read more

SA rape stats down ‘but still too high’

first_img20 September 2012 While rape and sexual offences continued to decline in South Africa in 2011/12, the figures for these crimes remain unacceptably high, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Releasing the country’s national crime statistics in Cape Town on Thursday, Mthethwa said that sexual offences had decreased by 3.7% between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, while rape was down by 1.9%. “One area that remains stubbornly high is around sexual offences,” Mthethwa told journalists. “The decrease should be understood in the perspective, that as government we still remain concerned about the conviction rate of criminals who commit such crimes.‘More resources, better training’ “We need to emphasise that as government we are … still concerned about the scourge of rape in our country … More resources and better training of police mechanisms are now being put in place,” Mthethwa said. “It is also influenced by a reporting behavior. If victims trust the police, then you will get more reporting. So the issue of under-reporting remains a challenge, and not just in South Africa but internationally,” Mthethwa said. Another area of concern was that young people were increasingly becoming the targets of criminals.‘Young children increasingly targeted’ “One of the shifts we have witnessed is that although crimes against women and children are decreasing, we are now seeing a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused,” Mthethwa said. “We shall be intensifying the war against [the abuse of] young children to ensure that this trend is reversed.” There needed to be more awareness among parents and guardians that children needed to be looked after and protected. Efforts to address the high number of rapes and sexual offences included working towards a relationship with the judiciary that would see such cases prioritised, and the re-launching of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit within the South African Police Service in 2009 The unit had helped secure convictions, in cases involving victims over the age of 18, totaling 10 854 years and 131 life sentences, and for victims under the age of 18, totaling 10 345 years, Mthethwa said. Source: read more

Following in Burchell’s tracks

first_imgA young William Burchell, setting out of his South African explorations. Portrait of a Bushman playing an instrument. The Hottentot Speelman, Burchell’s depiction of his faithful servant.(Images: William Burchell) The remains of the Burchell hut outside Graaff Reinet. Six of the Burchell explorers. A sandy river is the perfect spot to camp for the night.(Images: Lucille Davie)MEDIA CONTACTS • Diana WallManager: Collections, Museum Africa+27 (0)11 833 5624Lucille DavieI found it! I found the remains of the hut that sheltered explorer and naturalist William Burchell on the final leg of his journey to Graaff-Reinet in 1813.Burchell, the quintessential Renaissance Man, was one of the more celebrated of the early explorers who visited South Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He left vivid accounts of life in the colony, of the Hottentots and Bushmen he came across, and of the fauna and flora of the Karoo and Western Cape.He arrived in Cape Town on a boat from St Helena in November 1810, aged 29, and left on his journey seven months later, travelling beyond the border of the colony, right up to Kuruman in today’s Northern Cape, before making his way back along the coast to Cape Town four years later, arriving in April 1815 after travelling 7 242 kilometres. He documented his travels in two beautifully written volumes, published in 1822 and 1824. A third volume was never written, so we have an unfinished tale of his travels in South Africa but a complete map of his route.I found the remains of Burchell’s hut on a recent mountain biking trip with several friends. We drove down to Graaff-Reinet in Eastern Cape, to re-enact Burchell’s return trip from there to Griquatown, a village in Northern Cape, then known as Klaarwater (meaning “the end of water” in Afrikaans).Burchell describes the hut: “It consisted only of one room; part of the roof had been blown off; the floor was covered with the rubbish of the thatch which had fallen in; and the door and windows had been taken away.” He had felt a fever developing so was happy to have found shelter, even if it was makeshift.He had left his two wagons in Klaarwater and travelled on horseback down to Graaff-Reinet where he was hoping to recruit more men to travel further north with him. He had been advised that he wouldn’t survive the tribes living beyond the border, where previous expeditions had gone, never to be heard of again.Just before he reached Graaff-Reinet he took ill with influenza, some 16km north of the town, and sheltered in the hut for a few days. He wrote that 6 000 people in Cape Town had been afflicted by the flu. The hut was on the old dirt Ouberg pass road, now running through Philip Kemp’s farm Brakfontein. I don’t believe anyone has tried to find the hut before, but careful mapping of his route pointed to the farm.Kemp was intrigued to hear about the location of the hut and willingly drove me some 500m up the old pass until we spotted an old kraal. Opposite it was the hut, now just a rectangle of untidy low rock walls, with the rocks scattered around. One corner retains rocks cemented together a metre high. The farm has been in the Kemp family since 1966, where they farm sheep, goats and cattle on 3 000ha. He says the farmhouse is “very old”, and is happy for people to visit the hut site.Burchell described the hut again on his way out of Graaff Reinet: “As I passed my hut, I silently thanked it for the shelter which it had so opportunely afforded me; and without which, the fever might possibly have gained a fatal ascendency.”Burchell was somewhat amused by rumours that he was leading an army of 300 Hottentots to attack Graaff-Reinet, “taking advantage of the favourable moment when so many boors were absent from their homes and detained on the commando in the Zuureveld”. The villagers’ concern was exacerbated by the recent death of Commandant Stockenstroom in skirmishes with the Bushmen. Several people from the town visited him in the hut, urging him to return with them, but at the same time checking to ascertain the size of his “army”.Finding the locationsWe had set ourselves the goal of finding some of the locations Burchell had drawn in his sketches. The first one was easy – the Drostdy in Parsonage Street in Graaff-Reinet is still there, looking just as he drew it.About 30 kilometres north Graaff-Reinet is a spectacular waterfall. Although not in either of his volumes, he did draw the waterfall, and this peaceful place is worth a visit. And unlike Burchell, you can pull in to guesthouses along the way and experience great Karoo hospitality: 70 kilometres outside Graaff-Reinet is Lynne Minnaar’s Groenvlei guesthouse. She offers warm-hearted friendliness on her farm, with lashings of lamb and healthy vegetables, and malva pudding. On our first night we had dinner by kerosene lamp in the old shed, with farm implements and historical artefacts on the walls.The next day involved another search, this time for Burchell’s initials, WJB – William John Burchell – which he scratched on to a rock on a koppie on the farm Brandfontein, 10km outside De Aar and belonging to Ian and Igme Strauss. On a previous trip we had searched the koppie behind the farmhouse at Brandfontein, and although we found a number of rocks with initials scratched on them, none corresponded to what we were looking for. I looked again for the initials on this trip, but could not find them. Perhaps it’s not the right koppie.The farmhouse is typical of many in the Karoo – sprawling and solidly built, with warm fireplaces and wonderful views. Strauss says the guesthouse dates back to 1820, while the farmhouse was built in 1860. Nearby is the shearing shed, a long, wooden-strutted room where over the years many sheep have given up their wool.Personable and unassumingBurchell, a short man at 1.62m, was personable and unassuming, and wrote eloquently of his love for South Africa. He learned to speak Dutch while in Cape Town, and spoke to his Hottentot companions, Speelman and Juli, who accompanied him on his travels, in Dutch. He was immensely talented: he could draw and paint; he could play several musical instruments; he had an understanding of science, in particular flora and fauna; and he had an easy manner with people, at once putting them at ease while enquiring about their wellbeing.His powers of observation were exceptional, as his drawing and description of a Bushman arrow show: “The shaft is made from the common African reed, and at each end is neatly bound round with sinew, to prevent splitting. The head consists principally of a long piece of bone cut very smoothly to fit exactly into the reed, so as to remain fast without being absolutely fixed. The length of the whole arrow is generally between eighteen and twenty-two inches.”His legacy can be found in many names: Burchell’s zebra; eciton burchellii army ant; burchellia bubilia, a wild pomegranate; Burchell’s coucal, starling, courser and grouse; and Burchell’s sand lizard. He was the first to describe the white rhino near Kuruman in 1812.Before he left Cape Town he had a wagon made to his specifications. It had to accommodate 50 scientific reference books, his flute, his drawing materials, his bed, his specimen boxes, his work desk, rifles and ammunition, a medicine kit, and items like snuff and beads to give as gifts. But shortly after leaving Cape Town he discovered that one wagon was not sufficient, and bought another one. By the end of his trip he had collected 60 000 natural history specimens, mostly botanical but also numerous animal skins. He returned too with 500 drawings, including valuable portraits of locals, landscapes and illustrations of botanical and zoological subjects.But perhaps his more enduring legacy is the map of his travels. It not only follows his route carefully but is annotated, showing intriguing details of places he named, animals he first came across, and people he met. The map reflects local Hottentot or Dutch names – he was always respectful of names already given to places, and never replaced them with Eurocentric ones, like other explorers did. For instance, he referred to the Orange River as the !Gariep River, the original Hottentot name.Born in LondonBurchell was born in London on 23 July 1781, the son of the prosperous owner of the Fulham Nursery, a nine-and-a-half acre stretch of land neighbouring Fulham Palace, the residence of the Bishop of London, on the north bank of the Thames. He studied botany but turned down an offer by his father to work at the nursery, instead sailing to St Helena, where he was to join in a partnership as a merchant. But after trying this for seven months, he discovered it wasn’t his calling, and was appointed temporary schoolmaster on the island.Before leaving England, he wished to become engaged to Lucia Green, but his parents disapproved of the match. But in time they came around to the idea and she left for St Helena on board the Walmer Castle, reaching the island in April 1808. But the marriage didn’t take place – Green “transferred her affections” to the captain of the ship, explains A Gordon-Brown in the introduction to the 1967 edition of Burchell’s volumes.He was never to marry, and perhaps would never have undertaken his explorations in South Africa if he had.Arrival in Cape TownHe was subsequently appointed naturalist on the island but in October 1810 he decided to sail for Cape Town. He had been in correspondence with Reverend CHF Hesse, the Lutheran minister in Cape Town, where he stayed when he arrived in the town. The Lutheran church is still standing, in Strand Street, much as it was in Burchell’s day, and is worth a visit. Hesse’s home next door still stands but is now the Gold of Africa Museum, also worth a visit.Burchell’s trip to Klaarwater was undertaken with missionaries, but all his other journeys were with just his Hottentot servants. The most northerly point he reached was Litakun, an extraordinary sprawling Tswana settlement some 20km north-east of Klaarwater. Traces of many cattle kraals can still be seen in the area, a hint of how large the settlement was.He stayed in Litakun for several weeks, and then made his way to Grahamstown, where he stayed for five weeks, before leaving for the Fish River mouth, visiting Kowie, Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, and the villages along the coast to Cape Town, where he arrived in mid-April 1815. He returned to England that year, arriving in November.Several years after his return, he was asked about sending British settlers to the Cape Colony. He compiled a report in 1819, recommending the Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown areas – and this report led directly to the 1820 settlers being sent out to farm in the Cape.He went to Brazil in 1825 and returned in March 1830, but the only published account of that journey is two letters – his journals were lost. In 1834, the University of Oxford conferred on him a Doctorate of Civil Law honoris causa, the only public recognition he received. He became increasingly isolated as he aged and in a fit of despondency, hanged himself in Fulham on 23 March 1863, at the age of 82.His botanical collections, drawings and manuscripts, from South Africa and Brazil, went to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew; the entomological collections, drawings and notebooks went to the University Museum, Oxford. Some 557 landscapes and portraits are in Museum Africa in Johannesburg, and a few are in private collections.A night under the starsWe decided to spend a night camping in a river bed, just like Burchell had done throughout his trip. We had permission from a farmer to camp on his farm, and were to be minimalist and rolled out our sleeping bags on the soft sand. We collected branches from the surrounding bush, and soon had a two-metre high fire blazing into the night sky.Once it had died down, we placed our lamb chops – surely Burchell would have braaied them, too? – on the coals, and were soon munching them with rolls. The evening was overcast but I remember waking in the night to a star-filled sky, and I’m convinced the stars willed me awake, to show off their splendour.We woke in the morning to rain on our faces – Burchell had spent odd nights trying to sleep under an umbrella in the pouring rain. At least the rain waited till the morning for us, and it didn’t last. It was time to get up anyway, and within an hour we were ready to swing a leg over our bikes, ready to start another day of following in Burchell’s tracks.The Gariep RiverWe took our leave of Burchell at the !Gariep River. He wrote in his second volume: “This day’s march brought us once more to the delightful woody banks of the beautiful !Gariep. I hailed its airy acacia groves and drooping willows, and derived pleasure from fancying that they waved their branches to bid me welcome again to their cooling shade, and to greet me on my safe return.”Crossing with the large party he had gathered along the way, including a dozen sheep and about 20 dogs, became a huge undertaking, with some of the party left to spend the night on an island in the river.When they had all finally assembled on the other side of the swollen river, Burchell observed: “My men were in not less alarm: all preserved a fearful silence as long as they were in the water, which was between ten and fifteen minutes; but the moment we reached the shore, they congratulated each other on having landed without incident. Old Hans, who was near me and had observed my horse stumbling and scarcely able to stand against the force of the current, exclaimed very fervently when we gained the bank; ‘Thank God! Mynheer is safe’.”Our crossing of the !Gariep was a lot less dramatic. We had charted where we guessed Burchell and his party had crossed, and the eight of us ran down the bank to a sandy stretch. Not deterred by the April chilliness, two of our party got down to their underpants and waded in to knee-high water. They crossed the tip of an island then walked into the deeper section, finally becoming immersed near the opposite bank.They disappeared from sight but when they returned, their faces carried broad smiles of satisfaction – they had crossed the !Gariep, like Burchell had done.We didn’t feel a need to go on to Klaarwater, perhaps another time. We loaded the bikes on to our vehicles and headed for home.last_img read more