Book Review – South African Odyssey

South African Odyssey: The Autobiography of Bertha Goudvis edited by Marcia Leveson  (The Isaac & Jessie Kaplan for Jewish Studies and Research at the University of Cape Town and Picador Africa) ISBN: 9781770101029

Bertha Goudvis trekked across South Africa following her father who was a smous. He later became a gold prospector and Innkeeper.
Living among Jewish and Afrikaans communities, she belonged to neither because she was Jewish. As a journalist she was in a position to record early colonial attitudes.

She travelled extensively from Durban to Vryheid to London ending up in Johannesburg.  She made a small living out of writing for The Star newspaper and she married.

This is basically an interesting historical saga, taking us back to early Johannesburg, Natal and the Free State. Very well researched, she takes us to the Theatre of the day and Opera and music. Along the way she meets General Smuts and many luminaries.

Every detail is interesting, especially the Boer War and the British scorched early policy which was absolutely horrifying. I enjoyed the book because it is just up my street. I love looking back on South African history.

Dee Andrew

Posted on: 6th November 2011