Jul 14


Mark Norman

Mark Norman styles himself as a part-time, amateur historian who spends his working days in the “murky depths of insurance claims” He started his insurance career in 1976, in Durban, with one of the country’s leading short term insurers. In 1981 he joined a prominent loss adjusting firm and was deployed in various parts of the country when natural disasters occurred.  1995 saw the practice relocate to KwaZulu-Natal, and Pinetown was selected, being an area of growth, as well as having easy access to Durban and surrounding areas. He has penned  a  series on various classic airliners and some famous English designers as well as a potted history of the Royal Navy aircraft carriers. History Buffs welcomes him aboard ship and looks forward to his regular contributions!
Read his first contribution here>> Birth of a new Baby

Dr. John L. Cooke

John-Cooke_thumb.jpgBorn in Hornchurch, Essex, near the Battle of Britain Aerodrome. Qualified as a doctor at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Drove overland to Durban in 1966, and worked at King Edward VIII Hospital.  Married Margaret in 1968, and then joined a general practice in Que Que, Rhodesia. Returned to Durban in 1972, and specialised in Plastic Surgery.Went into private practice in 1979, and retired two years ago.  Have two daughters, one works for Unilever, the other is a Paediatrician in Cape Town.Lucky to have four grandchildren in South Africa. Hobbies are Rotary, Military History, Birding and wild life, books, and travelling Download his first contribution here>> The Rise and Fall of the Inca Empire  

Robin Lamplough

Robin LamploughRobin  has been investigating and writing about the past of Durban’s Outer West for nearly thirty years.  It is an interest he developed while teaching at Kearsney College, at Botha’s Hill, where he started a Local History Research Unit with a Standard 5 (Grade 7) class in 1982. Since his retirement in 2003 he has continued to write regularly in local publications, often on topics relating to history. Read his first contribution  here >> "Albinia"  

Dr. J.J. Swartz

JohanPic1Dr Swartz has been involved in education in South Africa for forty years, as a teacher, senior lecturer in education, teacher trainer and researcher in the field of Cognitive Science – the study of human intelligence and the enhancement of learning. He has trained the staff of over 200 schools throughout the country in practical ways of implementing whole brain teaching methods in the classroom as a means of facilitating learning.

Sadly, he passed away at the end of 2013 but his memory is cherished by family, friends, students, and colleagues alike
Read >> Strikes & Education

Steve Watt

After graduating from university, Steve Watt entered the education profession as a teacher and later as an advisor in the then Natal Education department, Educational Field Studies Section.He developed an interest in South African military history, becoming involved in the study of  the major conflicts in South Africa. Emphasis was, and still is, placed on visits to battle sites, memorials, forts and cemeteries. His knowledge over the years has led to  him becoming an authority on the subject as well as a tour guide. Interest is inculcated in many of the people of whom are prepared to avail themselves of his knowledge.

Steve is also the author of four publications of the Second Anglo-Boer War. One of these is In Memoriam in which are the detailed particulars of all the 25 300 Imperial soldiers who fell in the conflict. In addition he has written numerous stories about the Anglo-Boer War which appeared in the South African Military History Journal. These can be viewed on the website http://www.samilitaryhistory.org/journal.html

Steve’s maintains his interest in fieldwork in the sites and is an advisor for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Dr. William Bizley

BillBizley4.jpgDr. BIZLEY is a graduate of the universities of Natal and York, a member of the Natalia Editorial Committee and was for many years a  Senior Lecturer in English (now retired)  at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Bill has specialised in Renaissance studies and in the poetry of T S Eliot. His historical researches have taken him into various aspects of Natal’s history, one outcome being a book, “An Historical Meander” through the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal, which he co-authored with Pat McKenzie, and is published by the Midlands Meander Association. A keen musician, he has recently conducted concerts in Pietermaritzburg, Howick and Ladysmith.   Read>> U-Boats off Natal  and   First Aid on a Sugar Farm-the contribution of U181

Donald Davies

Donald DaviesAfter graduating from studying Civil Engineering in Cape Town, Donald started His Career in Construction on Lethabo Power Station and later Majuba Power Station for ESKOM in the old Transvaals. He then went to work in the United Kingdom on a major Road Project in London. On His return to South Africa, He joined Group Five Construction and has worked on Construction Projects in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and kwaZulu-Natal where He has made His Home. Donald’s interest in History was nurtured by His History Teacher Kevin Burge from Dundee, and His own Family, most of Whom participated in all the major Conflicts starting with The Great War. Whilst working in the Eastern Cape, He started His Research on the possibility of tunnels from the Frontier Forts, which He continued here in kwaZulu-Natal on His return.

Donald spends much of His Pastime in Field Work and engaging with People and visiting Places, which allows Him to bring new info and perspectives to these conflicts. Donald has also researched the History of Gold Mining in Natal and ZuluLand, and continues to engage with persons from all walks of life in his pursuit to rediscover their location and their  Story, and regularly gives Talks on this subject. . The Davies Family arrived on the Shores of Southern Africa on board the Kennersley Castle as part of GreatHeads Party in 1820.
Read his paper here >> (Coming soon!) Welcome Donald, its good to have you aboard!

Arthur Fregona

Editor2_thumb.jpgAfter graduating from the  University of Natal,  Arthur chose to become an educator.

He is a long standing employee of the Education Dept  and his first love is History, Later he reskilled in Computer Studies and lectured for many years in Technical Colleges. He is currently  acting as a subject advisor for computer subjects such as CAT and IT. Initial years were spent  teaching History at Carter High in Pietermaritzburg  to students ranging from Grade 8 to Grade 12 (in those days the Education Department had Higher Grade and Standard Grade streams) and fortunately Arthur was able to devote himself mostly to the former! Although he has a wide ranging grasp of world history in most of its aspects a particular interest of his is Military history, focussing on the Anglo Zulu War as well the Anglo Boer Wars. Above all it is Education, in all its variegated forms that drives his personal passion.

“…I have always sought to be understood and, while I was taken to task by critics or colleagues, I thought they were right, assuming I had not been clear enough to be understood. This assumption allowed me to work my whole life without hatred and even without bitterness toward criticism, regardless of its source. I counted solely on the clarity of expression of my work to gain my ends. Hatred, rancour, and the spirit of vengeance are useless baggage to the artist. His road is difficult enough for him to cleanse his soul of everything which could make it more so.Henri Matisse


  1. ~Ed

    Hi Rose,
    I am going to forward your request to Donald Davies and I’m sure he will respond as soon as he can. I do know that his Engineering life is rather hectic at the moment! Please let me know the outcome of your request.
    Kind regards,

  2. Rose McArthur

    On behalf of the Durban & Coastal Branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa, I would be very glad if I could be given the email address of Donald Davies as we would like to invite him to be a speaker at one of our monthly meetings.

    I hope to receive a reply at your earliest convenience. Thank you. Rose McArthur

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!