Programme 2017

Note Branch phone number: 072 349 6507, or phone Pamela Küstner on 012 365 3608

Northern Branch: Confirmed Events

26 Feb:
Freedom Park Outing to visit new museum

16 March:
The story of an African farmscape Lecture by Dr Alex Schoeman

25 March:
Walking tour of Braamfontein Outing with Jo Buitendach

6 April:
The concentration camps of the South African war Lecture by Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen

14 - 22 May:
Tour to KZN Archaeology, history and culture

25 May:
Northern Branch AGM and lecture by Gavin Whitelaw

26 Aug:
Annual Symposium Trading Places: Connecting the world

Overseas tour to Ethiopia led by Reinoud Boers

BOOKING CONDITIONS FOR OUTINGS: There is a cut-off date for bookings one week before the outing. Only participants who have been confirmed by phone, SMS or e-mail may participate in the outing. In addition, the outing costs must be pre-paid. No pets are allowed on outings as we usually visit private properties.


Outing with recommended guide

Date: Sunday 26 February
Time: 9:30 for 10:00
Meeting Place: Ticketing office, Freedom Park, Pretoria
Charge: R50 adults, R30 pensioners and students, R100 overseas visitors, payable at the gate. Please bring R10 tip to be collected for the guide.
Bring: Optional picnic lunch and water/drinks. There is a new coffee shop at Freedom Park.
Booking essential: Phone Anita Arnott at 011 795 4056.

We will visit the new museum at Freedom Park called //hapo. Starting with the story of creation, //hapo unravels the complex tale of Africa over seven epochs namely 1. Earth 2. Ancestors 3. Peopling 4. Resistance & colonisation 5. Industrialisation & urbanisation 6. Nationalisms & struggle 7. National building & continent building.

Freedom Park ( is situated on a hill overlooking Fountains Circle in Pretoria. It is a newly established park built to honour the people who have given their lives for the freedom of South Africa. After visiting the museum, there are optional visits to S’khumbuto, Isivivane and the Wall of Names. Golf carts are available if required.

We will secure the services of an experienced guide, probably Badresh Kara. After the tour people may have lunch at the coffee shop or picnic on the lawns under fever trees at the Uitspanplek. There are a limited number of tables and benches here, and toilet facilities. Those who would like to carry on to the Voortrekker Monument after lunch can do so by taking a new link road from Freedom Park that goes under the highway direct to the Monument.

Directions: Take the Ben Schoeman highway to Pretoria, ignoring The Fountains turn-off. Enter Pretoria on Potgieter Street and not long after turn right at the Shell Garage and proceed along Skietpoort Avenue, turning right into Koch Street to the entrance gate. Here you will pay your own entrance fees. The whole group will assemble near the ticketing office before driving to the highest elevation.


The story of an African farmscape: Soils, climate change and farming innovations in Bokoni, South Africa
Dr Alex Schoeman

Date: Thursday 16 March at 20:00
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown
Charge: Members free; Non-members R30

Extensive stonewalls, terraces and roads, which roughly covers 24 700 km² in northeastern South Africa, mark the location of the precolonial Bokoni polity that flourished between the 16th and 19th centuries CE. Complex land management strategies, including agricultural terracing, were used to navigate physical conditions and changing environmental contexts. While these decisions were fundamentally social, they would have been constrained and facilitated by physical and environmental factors, such as access to suitable soils, as well as fluctuating temperature and rainfall regimes. This paper reports on recent research on the conditions Bokoni farmers faced and managed, specifically, focusing on the creation of a terraced farming system and the associated selection and management of farmable soils in the context of climate fluctuations.

Dr Alex Schoeman is a senior lecturer in Archaeology and Head of the Archaeology division at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her current research focus is on farming community archaeology and the extensive stonewalled and terraced sites in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces of South Africa. People in this region, previously known as Bokoni, had developed an extensive terrace based agricultural system. The research of the Bokoni Archaeological Team, which she leads, is deepening our insights into the Archaeology of pre-colonial farming in South Africa. Dr Schoeman is a member of the international African Farming Network, which has been established to share knowledge and develop research capacity concerning the archaeology, history, development and current operation of farming systems across Africa.


Braamfontein art tour
Walking tour with Jo Buitendach

Date: Saturday 25 March
Time: 9:00 for 9.30 (the tour will last about 2 hours)
Meeting Place: Velo Café, the Grove, Cnr Juta and Melle Streets, Braamfontein
Parking: Surrounding streets or Arbour Square parking lot (cnr Juta & Melle Streets entrance on Juta R20 per car)
Charge: Members R80.00 Non-Members R130.00
Lunch: Participants can have lunch at Neighbourgoods Market afterwards if they wish.
Booking essential: Phone Anita Arnott at 011 795 4056.

Join Jo on a walking tour of some of the top art that the streets of Braamfontein have to offer. This walking tour will include public art, street art, graffiti, as well as looking at a bit of history and area regeneration. The tour will focus on how art can be used to regenerate the city, how Braamfontein is leading the regeneration of the city, as well as some background to graffiti in Johannesburg. We will see how the city is fast becoming an international graffiti and street art destination. This is the perfect opportunity for all those budding city photographers! So grab a comfy pair of shoes and the family and let’s hit the streets of Jozi for an arty adventure! And why not make a day of it and have lunch or coffee at the ‘Neighbourgoods’ Market or at one of Braamfontein’s fantastic coffee shops afterwards?

Jo Buitendach studied archaeology at the University of Witwatersrand where in her honours year in 2008 she won the 'Van Riet Lowe Top Student Award'. Jo then trained as a tour guide and started Past Experiences, a tour operator that focuses on Johannesburg Inner City Walking tours. In December 2015, Jo graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Cape Town's Faculty of Architecture and Planning in "Conservation of the Built Environment". The topic of her thesis was the "Heritage Value of Graffiti, with a focus on the historic graffiti at Constitution Hill’s Number Four Prison". In October 2015 Jo was featured in the Guardian Newspapers “10 Of the World’s Best Tour Guides” feature and in 2016 she was chosen as one of the "Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans of 2016". She is hugely passionate about the Johannesburg CBD, graffiti, its communities, culture, buildings and history.


The concentration camps of the South African war
Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen

Date: Thursday 6 April at 20:00
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown
Charge: Members free; Non-members R30

Although the concentration camps of the South African War have been so important for Afrikaners, few academics have looked at them seriously. This lecture looks at the reasons for this and explores some of the major features of the camps. The camps gained their notoriety because of the high mortality, especially of the children. Modern research in the social history of medicine enables us to understand more fully why so many children died. The revelations of Emily Hobhouse led to major changes and the lecture will also look at the way in which the lives of the people were altered during the last months of the South African War.

Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen is an honorary research associate in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town. In association with colleagues she has published a two-volume history of Cape Town and a book on the 19th-century Cape medical profession. Recently she also published a book on the concentration camps of the South African War. Currently she is editing the post-war letters of President M.T. Steyn and is also working on the papers of a 19th-century amateur geologist and scientist, Dr W.G. Atherstone.


An archaeological, historical and cultural sweep through KwaZulu-Natal
Nine-day self-drive excursion in May with Gavin Whitelaw and other leaders

Date: Sunday 14 to Monday 22 May 2017
Cost: R5 990.00 per person sharing; R7 575.00 single. Members only.
Payment: Deposit of R1 000 per person payable on confirmation of booking. Balance payable by 15 April 2017. Payments to SA Archaeological Society, Standard Bank Rosebank branch, a/c 001 945 920.
Bookings: Phone Anita Arnott at 011 795 4056 or email

Itinerary: Click here for the full itinerary.