Archive for August, 2010

This image can be found on the 2nd link in the first paragraph, on the first link you can see a video-animation of the board from different angles.

I wasn’t going to blog at all for the next few weeks – due to work etc. – but a search this morning led me to this interesting site where I – for the first time – saw a close-up picture of a Senet board and found this article quite interesting and thought to share it too. I have two entries on my blog about the Lewis Chess men and I’ve seen them in the British Museum too. I hope you will find this article interesting too. All links will open in a new window and the source-link can be found at the bottom of the entry.

Each ancient civilization had their own board game of choice. In the Egyptians’ case it was senet, a complex contest of chance that – dating from as long ago as 3500 BC – represents the oldest board game in history. The most famous senet board yet discovered comes from the tomb of the legendary pharaoh Tutankhamun. Made of gorgeous hand-carved ivory with ebony veneers and fittings, it’s arguably the finest example of a board game ever found.

Its closest rival is the Lewis Chessmen – a set of 93 chess pieces of Norse origin, also individually hand-carved from ivory. Dating from the 12th century AD, they were found on the Scottish island of Lewis, and may be the only complete medieval examples in existence of what would one day become one of the world’s most popular and enduring board games.

Senet was more than just a game to the ancient Egyptians – it was a matter of life and death. Great believers in determinism, the Egyptians came to regard senet boards as talismans for the journey of the dead, because of the element of luck involved in playing the game, which revolved around the throwing of knucklebones or casting sticks.

Successful players were believed to be protected by powerful gods such as Ra, Thoth and Osiris, and the game is even mentioned in the Book of the Dead. Their senet boards were often placed in their graves when they died, among various other handy tools for usage on the treacherous road to the afterlife.  

Tutankhamun was buried with four different senet boards – evidently he enjoyed playing the game a great deal. Some of them were for ceremonial purposes, others were for day-to-day usage. The ivory board – dating from 1333 BC and found by Howard Carter, among the many other spectacular treasures of Tut’s tomb, in 1922 – was the most beautiful of the lot.

Small and portable, with various highly personal design flourishes, it may have been the very set that King Tut used to sit down with of a warm summer’s evening to play against his queen Ankhesenamun. On one end, it bears a roughly-carved image of a seated Tutankhamun, with Ankhesenamun standing facing him, holding a lotus flower.

Designed as a box, the board contains a small drawer in which the senet pieces – two ivory knuckle-bones, five red ivory reels and five white ivory pawns – were kept. The drawer was originally fastened by bolts, but these are sadly missing. Carter speculated that the bolts were probably made out of silver and gold, and were possibly stolen by grave robbers.  

Various inscriptions filled with yellow pigment are etched into the sides of the box, all of them immodestly proclaiming Tut’s greatness. One reads: “The Strong Bull, beautiful of birth, image of Ra, precious offspring of Atum, king of Upper and Lower Egypt, ruler of the nine bows, lord of all the lands, and possessor of might Nebkheperura.”

Around the drawer, Tut is described as “The good god, lord of the Two Lands, lord of crowns whom Ra created” and “Beloved of all the gods, may he be healthy, living forever.” No wonder he liked it so much!

The whole thing is mounted on an ebony stand in the form of a bed frame, with feline paws resting on gilded drums. The drums themselves were attached to an ebony sledge. Senet was played on a board of 30 squares; on the reverse side of the box is a second board, of 20 squares, which was used for playing a different game called tjau, which would appear to translate as “robbers.”  

Nobody can be sure exactly how either senet or tjau was played, although some historians have made educated guesses, and sets are manufactured, sold and played-upon today. They’re but a mere shadow of Tutankhamun’s favourite senet board, however, which can be viewed in all its splendour at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Plus Points:

  • The finest existing set of the oldest board game in history.
  • Once a prized and frequently used possession of a world-famous Egyptian royal.
  • There’s a tjau board on the reverse. Two games in one – bonus!


  • No one can be sure how to play Senet.
  • Some parts may have been stolen by tomb robbers.

It’s worth noting first of all that the Lewis Chessmen might be misleadingly-titled. According to recent research by a trio of Scottish heritage experts, the pieces may actually have been used to play Hnefatafl – a medieval Scandinavian warfare game not dissimilar to chess, but contested on a bigger board with more pieces.  

Whatever they were used for, it makes no difference as to the artefacts’ quality, which is indisputable. Individually scratched and chiseled out of walrus tusks and whales’ teeth by highly-skilled artisans in Trondheim, the capital of Norway until 1217, the Lewis Chessmen – eight kings, eight queens, 16 bishops, 15 knights, 12 rooks and 19 pawns – are totally distinctive. Their weirdly contorted, wide-eyed and melancholic faces are humorous and enchanting. Their enigmatic origins and complex and controversial history gives them an air of mystery and drama.

Many stories exist as to how and why the chessmen were deposited on Lewis, where they were found hidden inside a sandbank at the head of the Bay of Uig by crofter Malcolm “Sprot” Macleod, from nearby Pennydonald, in 1831.

One fanciful local myth has it that they were stolen from an unknown ship sheltering in the bay by an escaping cabin boy, who swam ashore, before being murdered by an onlooker and concealed in the bluff. More likely they were either lost or abandoned on the island by a passing Norse merchant, or were the prize possession of a wealthy local king, lord or bishop.

After their discovery, the Lewis Chessmen’s story immediately becomes a complex and slightly confusing one. Following their purchase by a disreputable antiquities dealer called TA Forrest, 82 of the pieces were sold to the British Museum in London, while another 10 were secretly kept in reserve.

These 10 chessmen changed hands a number of times – with another single piece, a bishop, mysteriously added to the set at some stage – before all 11 were eventually sold to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, who finally donated them to the Royal Museum of Scotland (part of the modern National Museum of Scotland). The chessmen today remain divided into two separate collections, owned by two different museums, in London and Edinburgh.  

Calls have been made in recent years for the British Museum to return their quota of the Lewis Chessmen to Scotland, to allow the full set to be reunited on Lewis. The British Museum have resisted – the Chessmen after all represent one of their most popular and precious exhibits. But they have conceded to a temporary loan of a handful of pieces, for a tour of Scotland through 2010 and 2011, alongside the National Museum of Scotland’s 11 chessmen, which will visit Lewis among other destinations.

Not all of the Lewis Chessmen may have yet been discovered. There have been calls for new excavations on the island, to see if as many as 35 missing pieces may still be hidden there somewhere.

Plus Points:

  • Perhaps the only surviving medieval sets of one of the world’s most popular and enduring board games.
  • Beautiful and enchanting craftsmanship.
  • An intriguingly mysterious story full of myth and controversy.


  • You need to visit two different museums, in two different countries, to view all of the chessmen.
  • They may not actually be chessmen.
  • Some pieces are missing.  

Source: Please click here

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I not the kind of person that like to showcase awards, medals, etc. but don’t have the option to hide this blog award Vlam has passed on to me, which I really appreciate. Her motivation for the award was: she sees me as a busy boddy and never depressed. [borrellend besig en nooit bedruk – in Afrikaans] I think she’s hit the nail on its head with both, but honestly, must say that with what was going on in my home country the past week, had me quite upset and depressed and it was hard to stay positive about South Africa when getting news about pasients dying in hospitals due to the strike of medical staff! Then, on the positive side, I do read Annie’s blog for quite a time now and have found a lady of great inspiration. Annie is an American living in Pretoria and it’s amazing what she’s always doing. I do salute Annie 70×70 for the work she’s been doing and also in the past week she volunteered at a hospital and cheered pasients up with her humorous personality. I need to pass this award on to 5 other amazing people and Annie is definitely on the top of my list. Next is Kyker for his beautiful photos of places around the world. The scenes and places are always thoughtfully selected and you will enjoy his photograpy when visiting his neatly laid out blog. I think he’s an example of perfection. He’s also writing his own poems and if you can read Afrikaans, you will definitely enjoy his poetry too. Thirdly I would like to award Madele  for always being positive in her views and always taking other people into consideration. Madele only started blogging quite recently and has already shown she’s a person of great inspiration too, an open person who’s truly honest and someone you can trust.  Recently, Roer has started blogging again – after silence of almost a year – and I appreciate her determination in her decisions and pushing through with ideas when she’s decided to do things in life, despite of what other people are saying/thinking. Lastly, but not the least, I would like to pass this award on to Connie for his great blog he’s started recently about Chess in his area/province, which is the Northern Cape – in South Africa. He’s always uploading some great pics of  children taking part in tournaments across the country/province.  He also keeps his followers/readers informed about tournaments and always has details at hand. I got to know Connie through the chess.com-site and he’s a great Chess player too – as his twin-girls! Keep up the good work, Connie.

Part of receiving the award is naming three things I like. Well, that is quite difficult as there are many things I really do like. I like it when people are honest/fair and have an open mind about things in life, thinking logical about things that make sense to us all. I appreciate the beauty of nature, the wild and would love to be on a farm for the rest of my life. Lastly, I like reading and poetry and would love to have all the time in the world just to read. When I was little, I even read every single advertisement in the newspaper or every single label on bottels etc. I always thought I was going to miss something…silly billy me…lol…Now, the last part of my task – as part of the award. I need to upload a photo of a place/something I like. Well, it wasn’t difficult to decide as my first choice will always be the Drakensberg Mountains – this mountain range stretches from the north of the country to the far south and in this photo you can see Mt Aux Sources – the highest peak in South Africa – which is about 4300 m. The actual highest peak – Thaba Ntlenyana – is in Lesotho – an enclaved country in South Africa. -an enclaved country is a country within [surrounded by]  another country. Thaba Ntlenyana means beautiful little mountain. I was 15 when I was on top of Mount Aux Sources with a school trip. There are two chainladders to go up before you reach the summit. A great experience if you like hiking or the outdoors!

Dankie, Vlam vir die toekenning! Ek waardeer dit, komende van jou – net so borrellend besig en bedruk? Nee, nie van wat ek weet nie! Jy’t my ook voorgespring met Skoor natuurlik – hehe… sjoe, hoe lus het ek vir cupcakes as ek so na hierdie pienk prentjie kyk – lekker eetbare prentjie. lol

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So, this is where David Cameron and his wife were all the time when we were there too! Now we can say: been there! [done it] Yes, Truro  is the place where David Cameron’s baby girl was born a few days ago. We visited Truro too, which is a city, but only for a few hours as we visited other surrounding places too. We visited the Cathedral and from the one photo – of course – you can see we visited The Eden Project too, which is near Truro. Before we exited the Tropical Biome, we had a taste of the Baobab tree in the form of the Baobab Smoothie! It was soooo delicious and I can definitely recommend it. Once I’ve sorted the photos [hopefully not too far in the future], I will post some more. For now, I wish I had some more Baobab smoothies!

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This is what I call:
1. Natural talent
2. Natural beauty
3. Acting Natural

To watch a full version of the above video, listen to what Gamu herself is saying, click here – plus Simon’s comments. The link will open in a new window.

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Jan 2015 –Indien jy beplan om my eie gedigte te ‘leen’ vir jou Facebook bladsy of jou privaat blog of website, kan jy asseblief so vriendelik wees om my daaroor in te lig. Ek vind dat van my gedigte op internet bladsye verskyn met sekere politieke oorwegings waarmee ek nie saamstem nie en ek is nie geniee daarmee dat my gedigte op bladsye soos daardie verskyn nie! Ek sal dit waardeer indien jy my versoek sal respekteer.

Tomorrow, 14th August, is an important day in the history of Afrikaans. On the 14th August 1875, an organisation was founded to promote Afrikaans as a language. The language Afrikaans has its roots in seventeenth century Dutch but it has been influenced by many languages including: English, Malay, German, Portuguese, French and some African languages. Some of the first written work in Afrikaans was done using the Arabic alphabet in the work Bayaan-ud-djyn written by Abu Bakr. Apart from this development and minor writings in so-called Cape Dutch Afrikaans acted mainly as a spoken language for people living in the Cape and Dutch was used as the formal and written language. Afrikaans is a language spoken by many people of different races and ethnic groups throughout Southern Africa. I have decided to contribute something every year on this day [ or as near as possible to this date] to the celebration of Afrikaans as a beautiful language spoken by beautiful people. This first poem is my contribution and the second a poem from one of our famous poets. Both poems’ titles are Die Beste which means The Best.  Then you can read my 2008-contribution: Afrikaans and the last poem is my 2009-contribution.  The Afrikaans song’s title is Sypaadjie Mense [you can read the translation on the given link at the 3rd poem where you can listen to the song and follow the words in English.] –Sidewalk People. Afrikaans readers: the poem at the bottom is my contribution of last year. When I was at Primary School, we always had to learn poems and from Die Beste I had to know the first two stanzas by heart when I was 11 years of age. I must say I don’t regret it!

You can see photos of the Afrikaans Language Monument – the only language monument in the world! – and an explanation/meaning of the monument.

Die Beste


Ek is aan jou verknog
Jy is vir my ‘n sieraad
Jou wingerdstokke groei welig
in my opgeploegde land
Jy is besprinkeld met
onbeskaamde liefde en
jy bring voort troetelkinders
Jou sprekers strek
van die Ooste na die Weste
en jy bly verreweg
Die Beste!
-21:30 Nikita

The Best
I’m attached
and devoted to you!
To me you are a wreath
Your grapevines flourish
In my ploughed land
You’ve been irrigated with
Impudent love
You bear cuddly-children
Your speakers stretch
From the East to the West
And by far:
You’re the BEST
-(c) Translated: 16/2/2012 Nikita – 20:00

[Translated for friends to understand the Afrikaans poem!]

Image: farms-for-sale.co.za

Die Beste

Geil lusern in die laagste landjie;
Geil groen blare en blomme blou;
Aalwyn rooi op die voorste randjie,
Rooi soos bloed teen die rotse grou;
Somer en son en saffier daarbowe;
Ruik van die keurbos rondgesprei;
Kort klein skadu’s oor die klowe;
Somer en son en saffier vir my!
Wonder van kleure uitgesprei –
Wat is daar meer deur die dood te rowe?
Somer en son en saffier vir my!

Hoog oor die water skommel die vinkies,
Vol van die vreug van die somerdag;
Bly die gekwetter van bruin tinktinkies;
Blyer die son wat goudgeel lag.
Algar wat lewe, algar tevrede,
Hoog op die heuwel en laag op die vlei;
So was dit gister, en so is dit hede –
Somer en son en saffier vir my!
Heer, wat die hemel oor my sprei,
Dit is my eerste en laaste bede:
“Somer en son en saffier vir my!”

Het jy ’n vrind wat jou hand kan vashou?
Vrinde vergaan en faal in nood!
Het jy ’n vyand, jou grootste las nou?
Vyande, vrinde gaan algar dood!
Wat’s dit vir my as die gras vergrys word?
Somer sal kom met sy groen daarby;
Wat as in winter die water ys word?
Somer en son en saffier sal bly.
Boetie, ek vra jou, wat sê jy?
Wat’s dit vir ons as die gras vergrys word?
Somer en son en saffier sal bly.

Roem van mense, rykdomme, pragte –
Alles vergaan soos die mis op die vlei:
Sterre wat skiet in pikdonker nagte,
Het langer lewe as roem kan kry.
Boetie, as ons nou ’n keus moet wae,
Hier op die wêreld, wat vra jy?
Roemryke lewe en lengte van dae?
Somer en son en saffier vir my!
Boetie, as jy nou jou keus kan kry,
Wat is die wens wat jou hart sal wae? –
Somer en son en saffier vir my!

C. Louis Leipoldt (1880-1947)

Het jy die boodskap bo-aan die bladsy gelees?

Die taal wat ek liefhet
Die taal wat ek praat
Die taal waarin ek dink
Die taal waarin ek droom
Die taal van my hart


 Die taal wat ek koester
Vir nou en altyd
Jy is myne
Jy is nou
Jy is besonders
Jy is uniek
Jy is getrou
My denke
My wese
My lewe!

Nikita –

Suid-Afrika: my land

Jy’s indrukwekkend, manjifiek
jou sondeurdrenkte landskappe
weerkaats helder beelde in my siel
jou pragtige wonders flikker oneindig
lank in die stilte van jou nagrus

Mount Aux Sources – so elegant en grasieus
verrys jy vanuit die voetheuwels, soos
‘n fakkel by die Spele ets jy lekkende
beelde teen die muur van my geheue
en voel ek jou hitte gloeiend teen my hart

O Blyde! ek fantaseer oor jou
magiese kragte wat jy sorgloos
en galant in die galery van my
stille gemoed stilletjies uitpak terwyl
my dawerende applous eggo
oor die velde van my gedagtes

Moederstad! hoe inskiklik laat jy my
telkens hakkel wanneer ek my herinneringe
sagkens koester – jou fasades!
waar ek jou gambiet betree
en gewillig my pionne oorgee

En saans voel ek jou fluweelagtige
skoonheid van elke sonsondergang
stadig neerdaal in my gemoed terwyl
ek stadig drink van jou geloofs-fonteine
wat borrellend bruis in oorvloed

Fragmentaries vier ek feeste
ek dans en omhels jou en jy –
jy blus my gees telkens met jou
magiese heildronke: een-vir-een
op ‘n toekoms – wat mag wees!
–Nikita –14/8/09 14:00

The Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Taalmonument) is located on a hill overlooking Paarl. Its outline is visible from a considerable distance.

This is the only language monument in the world and was completed in 1975. The design represents the growth and developement of Afrikaans and recognises its roots which is spread over three continents – Africa, Asia and Europe. The three colums on the left that are close together (A) represents the influences of the three Western languages on Afrikaans – Dutch, French and English. The wall on the steps (B) represents the Malayan language and culture. Architect Jan van Wijk was inspired by words of prominent Afrikaans authors N.P. van Wyk Louw and C.J. Langenhoven. The “roof” (C) refers to Van Wyk Louw’s words: “Afrikaans is the language that connects Western Europe and Africa… It forms a bridge between the large, shining West and the magical Africa…”

The main column (D) which is 57 m high, represents the growth, evolution and achievement of Afrikaans and was inspired by a quote from Langenhoven: “If we plant a row of poles down this hall now, ten poles, to represent the last ten years, and on each pole we make a mark at a height from the floor corresponding to the relative written use of Afrikaans in the respective year, and we draw a line, from the first here near the floor to the last over there against the loft, then the line would describe a rapidly rising arc…”

The last column (E) symbolises the Republic of South Africa which was the birthplace of Afrikaans. On the photo below, the three round shapes symbolises the contribution of the African languages – Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho.


This song is a mix of Afrikaans and Netherlands. Stef Bos [from Holland] and Amanda Strydom [South Africa] sing the song: Die Taal van my hartThe language of my heart

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Photo: Mrs Otto Krantz 

One of the women who received the Government’s sanction to join a commando was Mrs. Otto Krantz, the wife of a professional hunter. Mrs. Krantz accompanied her husband to Natal at the commencement of hostilities, and remained in the field during almost the entire campaign in that colony. In the battle of Elandslaagte, where some of the hardest hand-to-hand fighting of the war occurred, this Amazon was by the side of her husband in the thick of the engagement, but escaped unscathed. Later she took part in the battles along the Tugela, and when affairs in the Free State appeared to be threatening she was one of the first to go to the scene of action in that part of the country.

Read on this link more about the women and the boer war.

A people are what its women are. The woman is the conscience of her nation as well as the measure of its values. The moral life of a nation is controlled by the women and by the women can we measure the moral condition of the people. – Postma

I have a very famous poem of a very famous South African poet to celebrate Women’s Day in South Africa. “Die Vrou” – in English “The Woman”. She translated some of her works in English/German/Italian/French and Hebrew and won many prizes in South Africa and in the Netherlands. She was born in 1915 and died in 2007  in Amsterdam. Sarah Raal [picture] was one of those strong women during the South African/British War [Boer War] and she fought alongside the Boer Soldiers. You can read this book written by her:

Die vrou

Somer en herfs en winter trek in wye
onafgebroke wisseling deur die land,
maar sy bly draer van die lente want
liefde het haar verhef bo die getye.

Haat en verwoesting plant hul lamfervlae
in honderd stede en oral sink die nag;
vir háár op wie ook bloed en worsteling wag
klink nog die lied van vrede en welbehae.

Die uitgeteerde ruiter neig sy sens
en aarselend voor die klaarheid van haar blik
erken selfs hy sy heerskappy se grens:

in haar wat die onsterflikheid bewaak
ontkiem die toekoms in die flou getik
van lewe wat voorwêreldlik ontwaak.

Elisabeth Eybers

Tomorrow,  9th August, South Africa celebrate’s Women’s Day. I’ve decided to create a special entry on Women. I have for you photos from family – both sides – dated back just before the 1800’s.

I agree with the above quote from Postma. Women are  the anchor of a nation and if women are not taking the lead when it comes to morals and values, well, then its tjaila-time [like we say in South Africa] for a nation. We as women need to conduct ourselves in a way that our children can look upon us, be proud and so be proud adults too. I’ve come across a very interesting piece of writing and copied part of the article here. The complete article can be read on the given link at the bottom of this entry. 

Mrs G Botha

Mrs General Botha

Mrs G Meyer

Mrs General Meyer

British colonization and its positive, beneficial effects dominated nineteenth-century South African historiography written in English. Dutch settlement, as well as the Great Trek and the founding of the Boer republics, was regarded as peripheral to the saga of British settlement and government at the Cape. Works by Noble (1877) and Wilmot and Chase (1869) remained the standard source material on South African history until G. M. Theal began to publish research based more closely on archival material, during the latter part of the century. The writings of Noble and of Wilmot and Chase portrayed Boers settlers outside the Cape Colony as ignorant, illiterate and cruel, as ‘living on the margin of civilisation’, their ‘moral condition … scarcely higher than the Hottentots or slaves who were household companions’.

During the last quarter of the century, especially after the mineral discoveries and the Boer victories during the Transvaal War of Independence (1880-1), such criticism began to be countered by an apologist approach to the Boers in both English and Dutch historical writings (the latter emanating from the Netherlands as well as the Boer republics). Historians such as Klok, Van der Loo, and Du Plessis took great pains to paint a positive picture of Boer society, drawing close parallels between the Boers and their exemplary European heritage.

In the new historiography Boer women received greater attention. They were described as extremely courageous  and, owing to their sufferings in the past, were considered by some writers to be ‘the greatest patriots’. ‘Taking all the sufferings a mothers and daughters during the early days into account, it is indeed no wonder that it is amongst the female sex, especially amongst the older generation, that the greatest patriots are found’. These authors painted a detailed picture of the simple and unassuming Boer lifestyle, which was presented as an overt sign of a classless and egalitarian society. At the same time, their ordered and structured society was emphasised, by way of countering the negative images mentioned above. Van der Loo, in his work De Geschiedenis der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek aan het Volk, lavished praise on Boer women. Despite their contact with ‘wild barbarians’ and their isolation from civilisation, they remained true to their traditions of ‘virtue, moral sensibility’ political independence and free institutions’. An added dimension was their purported racial superiority and purity. Symbol of her racial purity, the white complexion of the Boer woman – despite exposure to the African wilderness – was highlighted by Lion Cachet, who maintained ‘a Transvaal woman is, for Africa white’ . This feature was likewise stress Klok in his description of Boer women. He also paid attention to their lips, implicitly contrasting them with Negroid features: ‘thin lips, a round chin and a white neck…. Seldom does one see ugly, that is, really ugly women’.

In the projects of these men there is a clear convergence between the development of the ideal of the volksmoeder and the rise of Afrikaner nationalism. In 1918 Postma (then retired because of ill-health) was requested by two Afrikaner organizations, the Nasionale Helpmekaar4 and the Kultuurvereniging of Reddersburg, to write a book entitled Die Boervrouw, Moeder van Haar Volk (The Boer Woman, the Mother of her Nation). The timing of this publication was important. It followed on the unveiling of the Vrouemonument, the Rebellion of 1914 and the termination of the First World War. The war was a significant event in the history of Afrikaner nationalism, for it was during this time that secondary industry, in particular labour intensive industries utilising mainly cheap female labour, began to flourish in South Africa. At the same time, a population explosion in the Afrikaner community, coinciding with the impoverishment of the rural areas, resulted in a massive influx of young, mostly unskilled Afrikaner men and women to this labour market in the urban areas. The presence of these unsupervised and unattached young men and women in the cities gave rise to grave concern for their moral safety in state, church and welfare organisations. In this social context, the characteristics of the Boervrouw as enumerated by Postma gained particular relevance for reformers, cultural entrepreneurs and concerned Afrikaners in general. His book was both an articulation of the already established image of the volksmoeder and a glorification of Afrikaner women, aimed at the instruction of Afrikaner youth and young girls in particular. In his writing the volksmoeder ideal was propagated as a role model for a new generation of women. This involved the emulation of characteristics such as a sense of religion, bravery, a love of freedom, the spirit of sacrifice, self-reliance, housewifeliness (huismoederlikheid), nurturance of talents, integrity, virtue and the setting of an exam others. Of particular significance is that Postma extended the prevailing notion of ideal womanhood to include their nurturing of the volk as well. For the first time the Boer woman’s role as mother and central focus of her family was expanded to include the concept of Boer women as mothers of the nation: The motherhood of the Boer woman extends itself to her volk just as it does to her child’ (Postma, 1918 164; translated). To substantiate his argument he cited the demonstration of Afrikaner women at the Union Buildings in 1915, when a delegation marched to Pretoria to protest against the capture imprisonment of General Christiaan de Wet as a rebel. The idea of demonstration had originated with women suitably connected prominent men and thus well qualified to be regarded as mothers of the nation’ – Mrs. Joubert, wife of the famous Boer general, and Elsie Eloff, the daughter of the late President Kruger. Yet the way in which Postman saw the demonstration taking form portrays a revealing disregard for the women’s initiative: ‘In true womanly fashion the call was complied with, without delay, not taking account of expense or trouble. Love called, love obeyed’ . The limitations of Postma’s perception of the women’s action are evident in these words: women did not argue, they did not stop to consider the consequences and they did not calculate the cost or the trouble of their actions. They were motivated irrationally, solely by love. But having disregarded any political significance in the women’s action, Postma weeded to link the moral strength of the Afrikaner people to that its women: ‘A people are what its women are. The woman is the conscience of her nation as well as the measure of its values. The moral life of a nation is controlled by the women, and by the women can we measure the moral condition of the people’ .

…. In it many of the characteristics already outlined by Postma emerge: Afrikaner women had a purifying and ennobling influence on their menfolk; they would sacrifice much for their families and were loyal housewives and tender nurses, earnest in prayer, sage in advice, with sat love of freedom and steadfastly anti-British. Stockenstrom maintained adamantly that Voortrekker women were ire of their calling as volksmoeders: ‘The women profoundly realised that they were the mothers of the future Afrikaner nation, and were fully conscious of the fact that their children and grand-children could never develop into a virtuous and glorious nation unless they were absolutely independent and free’.

Click HERE to read the complete article on the site of SA History Org za.

Photo: A Teacher and her class – 1913, this image is from the same site as the website where you can read about Elizabeth Russel Cameron [next picture]. She was a remarkable lady and her history is a must read! You can read how she obtained the right to vote in a time in South Africa when women were not allowed to vote, but that was not the reason for what she’s done. 


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Image: Wikimedia – Philidor

I’ve read a lot about Philidor the last couple of days as he was – as  a chess player – also a great composer of his time. [Of course, if you don’t know it, it was Philidor who said…‘The pawns are the soul of chess.’] I’ve thought to create an entry about research that was carried out about chess and music – and have found some useful information, but very basic and I think we all know that already, but also came across an interesting article…and  you can read an extract of it and the complete article on the given link – which is more about Steinitz. So many beginners think about the Pawn as just a piece to move if they don’t know what to move and I sometimes struggle with students not to move their Pawns unless they have to. I think Philidor was a bright spark! He composed beautiful music and played some brilliant chess. The info from Wikipedia is quite interesting. Read why he died in London. Chess is also a game full of strategies which you can apply to your everyday life – as we all know, but there are now companies making use of Chess players to support them in their business and training their staff in Chess strategies in order to excel in the company. The following quotes about Chess were found on one such Chess Consultant’s site. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow jacobm – as he is such a consultant and these quotes are from his site.

“Knights are the curvy pieces that bring a circular aspect to an essential linear game.”
– J. Rowson, Scottish Grandmaster

“The handling of the Rooks demands a great understanding of the strategy suited to a particular position.”
– L. Pachman, Czech Grandmaster

“Whenever you have a Bishop, keep your pawns on opposite color squares.”
– J.R. Capablanca, Cuban World Champion 1921-1927

“The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“When the chess game is over, the Pawn and the King go back into the same box.”
– Italian proverb

“Every Pawn is a potential Queen.”
– J. Mason, 19th Century Irish chess master

“The handling of the Rooks demands a great understanding of the strategy suited to a particular position.”
– L. Pachman, Czech Grandmaster

“What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answers to this question are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy”
– William E Rothschild

THE HISTORY OF CHESS AS WE conceive of it today  can be safely assumed to start with the composer (of music) François-André Danican Philidor (1726–1795). His undoubted status as a ‘founding father’ stems mainly from the famous sentence that everyone associates with his name, ‘the pawns are the soul of chess.’ That ‘pawns are the soul of chess’ is the fundamental law of chess theory. It is the identification and elaboration of the fact that pawns are heavily limited in their movement, so that the structure of pawns is much more static and rigid than that of pieces; this, coupled to the fact that an advantage of a pawn is usually enough to win the game (if the endgame, where pawns are potential queens, is reached), gives the handling of pawns an importance and a difficulty that goes beyond that of pieces. The consequences of a pawn move are lasting, and cannot generally be pondered by ‘concrete analysis,’ the sheer calculation of variations. Moving pieces always involves of course the risk of mistakes and blunders that immediately ruin a game—but these can be calculated and avoided. Moving pawns means a much more subtle risk, for relevant negative consequences might appear a long time afterwards; there is no need for blunder to lose a game because of a pawn move. This distinction between pawns and pieces is at the core of the distinction between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics,’ the two branches of chess theory, training, education, etc. (Strategy is the identification of the general long-term ideas and plans of the game, usually based on the configuration of pawns reached after the opening; tactics refers to the actual moves and short-term variations that execute the plans, and it usually focuses on the action of pieces. ‘Tactics consists in knowing what to do when there is something to do; strategy is about knowing what to do when there is nothing to do,’ Tartakower is reported to have said.) In this sense, the discovery of strategy, and with it the birth of chess theory as such, is essentially linked to the name of Philidor. Thus (and I choose the following source for no other reason than having it at hand—assertions to the same effect are easily found in any book on chess strategy), It was master Filidor, the luminous French musician and chess player, the first to understand, already at the end of the eighteenth century, the importance of pawns in chess; it is actually with him that the game’s positional strategy is born. This is what the name Philidor means for chess today. He plays the role of the symbolic point of reference, the recipient that contains the essence and the primary source of chess theory. But, as usually happens with such figures—think of Thales as the father of philosophy, Pithagoras as the father of mathematics, and even of Aristotle as the father of empirical science—, he himself is exiled from his name, and what he actually thought or understood is ignored in favor of what we think and understand. Historical fact is of little importance for the role of the figure—just as Homer, and more recently as Saussure, he is defined by us as the author of his works, rather than his works being defined for us as the product of his efforts. In fact, ‘the pawns are the soul of chess’ is a corruption of what Philidor really said. (The fate of this sentence is similar to that of other myths like Newton’s apple or Galileo at the Tower of Pisa: dubious recollection of facts modified by tradition to suit its fancy.) The actual quotation from Philidor’s foreword to his 1749 Chess Analysed or Instructions by Which a Perfect Knowledge of This Noble Game May in a short Time be Acquir’d (his own translation of the Analise des E´checs) reads. My chief intention is to recommend myself to the public, by a novelty no one had thought of, or perhaps ever understood well. I mean how to play the Pawns. They are the very life [not ‘soul’] of this game. They alone form the Attack and the Defence; on their good or bad situation depends the Gain or Loss of each Party. And then, immediately: A player, who, when he had played a pawn well, can give no Reason for his moving it to such a square, may be compared to a General, who with much practice has little or no Theory. Philidor’s wording (Attack, Defence, Reason, Theory) reveals that ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’ are not part of his conceptual net. When ‘the pawns are the soul of chess’ is interpreted today, what it brings to mind is the classification of pawns into weak pawns (isolated, doubled, hind pawn) or strong pawns (passed pawns), some especial configurations (chain of pawns, hanging pawns), and the concept of weak and strong squares. All this obviously remains at best inarticulate in Philidor’s book. As Cecil Purdy says, “in Philidor’s system of play, it is not at all evident to a mediocre player even if experienced why ‘on the good or bad situation (of the pawns) depends the gain and loss to each Party.’ ” Follow this link to read the complete article, the link will open in a new window. -[ it is a PDF-document]

François-André Danican Philidor (September 7, 1726 – August 31, 1795) was a French chess player and composer. He was regarded as the best chess player of his age, although the title of World Chess Champion was not yet in existence. Philidor’s book Analyse du jeu des Échecs was considered a standard chess manual for at least a century. He was commonly referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime.

Chess career
Philidor started playing regularly around 1740 at the chess Mecca of France, the Café de la Régence. It was also there that he famously played with a friend from ‘New England’, Mr. Benjamin Franklin. The best player in France at the time, Legall de Kermeur, taught him. At first, Legall could give Philidor rook odds, a handicap in which the stronger player starts without one of his rooks, but in only three years, Philidor was his equal, and then surpassed him. Philidor visited England in 1747 and decisively beat the Syrian Phillip Stamma in a match +8 =1 -1, despite the fact Philidor let Stamma have White in every game, and scored all draws as wins for Stamma. The same year, Philidor played many games with another strong player, Sir Abraham Janssen, who was then the best player in England, and with the exception of M. de Legalle, probably the best player Philidor ever encountered. He could win on an average one game in four of Philidor, at even terms; and Philidor himself declared that he could only give to Janssen the pawn for the move.

In 1754, Philidor returned to France, after nine years of absence spent mostly in Holland and England. He was now a much stronger player, having successfully played with opponent of the calibre of Philip Stamma and Abraham Janssen, but, as G. Allen reports in The life of Philidor, it was not until his match with de Legal in 1755 that he can be considered the strongest player in the world.

“When Philidor left Paris, in 1745, although he had for some time been playing even games with M. de Legal… he had not ceased to recognize his old master as still his master and superior. But nine years of practice, with a great variety of players, had authorized him to look for neither superior nor equal; and when, in 1755, a match was arranged between the pupil and his master, who was still at the height of his strength, the result placed the crown firmly and indisputably upon the head of Philidor.”

In 1771 and 1773 Philidor made brief stays in London to play at the Salopian coffee-house, Charing Cross and at the St James Chess Club. In 1774 the Parloe’s chess club, on St James street, in London, was created and Philidor obtained a remuneration as a Chess Master every year, for a regular season from February to June. Philidor stayed faithful to this agreement until the end of his life and he was replaced by Verdoni only after his death. It is rightly in this place Philidor encountered Mr. George Atwood, famous mathematician and physician, lecturer at Cambridge University. In an article of J. J. O’Connor and E. F. Robertson [1], devoted to George Atwood, there is the following passage:

” Atwood was a renowned amateur chess-player and among other opponents played games against the famous French player Philidor, who was regarded as the unofficial world champion.”

H E Bird records :

“Of the players who encountered Philidor, Sir Abraham Janssens, who died in 1775, seems to have been the best, Mr. George Atwood, a mathematician, one of Pitt’s secretaries came next, he was of a class which we should call third or two grades of odds below Philidor, a high standard of excellence to which but few amateurs attain. One of most interesting features of Atwood as a chess player is that he recorded and preserved some of his games, an unusual practice at that time. These records have survived, among them the last games that Philidor played which were against Atwood at Parsloe’s Club in London on 20 June 1795.”

In England, Philidor astounded his peers by playing three blindfold chess games simultaneously in the chess club of St. James Street in London on 9 May 1783. Philidor let all three opponents play white, and gave up a pawn for the third player. Some affidavits were signed, because those persons who were involved doubted that future generations would believe that such a feat was possible. Today, three simultaneous blindfold games would be fairly unremarkable among many chess masters. Even when he was in his late years, when he was 67 years old (1793), he played and won two blindfold games simultaneously in London.

Philidor, both in England and France, was largely recognized in each of this fields and got a lot of admirers, protectors and also friends, like were the French philosophers Voltaire, Rousseau and the famous English actor David Garrick (1717–1779).

In December 1792, however, when he was then age 65, Philidor had to leave definitively France for England. He was fleeing the French Revolution (1789–1799), because his name figured on the Revolutionary banishment list, established by the Convention nationale. This was not probably due to his ideas (indeed it seems Philidor was rather reserved about his opinions apart from music and chess), but very likely in view of the traditional attachment of his family to the King’s family service [2].

Andrew Soltis writes that Philidor “was the best player in the world for 50 years. In fact, he was probably about 200 rating points better than anyone else yet alive—set apart by the mysteries of the game he had solved.”

It was said that the reason why Philidor emphasized the pawns in the chess game was related to the political background during the eighteenth century of France, and that he regarded pawns as the “Third rank” on the chess board (citizens were regarded as the third rank of the society before the French Revolution started in 1789). He also included analysis of certain positions of rook and bishop versus rook, such analysis being still current theory even today. He is most famous for showing an important drawing technique with a rook and pawn versus rook endgame, in a position known as the Philidor position. The Philidor Defense(1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6) is named for him. Philidor’s book was the very first (1) that gave detailed annotations on how to play the middle-game, (2) that presented chess strategy as a whole, and (3) that presented the concepts of the blockade, prophylaxis, positional sacrifice, and mobility of the pawn formation.

Philidor joined the Royal choir of Louis XV in 1732 at the age of six, and made his first attempt at the composition of a song at the age of 11. It was said that Louis XV wanted to listen to the choir almost every day, and the singers, while waiting for the king to arrive, played chess to relieve their boredom; this may have sparked Philidor’s interest in chess.

Listen to the music of Philidor.

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Blog Invasion III

complete image:Lettershometoyou.wordpress
Pawns moved…If you want to read more about where this invasion comes from, you can click HERE and if you click HERE about Cappa….you can view more images about the place and the invasion. “Pawns are born free, yet are everywhere in chains.” – Andy Soltis.

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