Sexta-feira, 20 de Março de 2015

My Years in Angola (1950-1970)

 

 

A.P. van der Graaf

 

 

Andries Pieter van der Graaf (1909-1996) spent almost his entire professional career (1928-1970) with the Dutch company Zuid Afrikaans Handelshuis (ZAH). In 1950 he was posted to Angola to act as managing director of the Luanda Office. He served as Dutch Honorary Consul from 1952 till 1971.

 

It is with great pleasure that we present in Retrovisor excerpts from a memoir in which he tells about his experiences learning to run a Dutch trading company in Angola in colonial times and his fascination with the country and its peoples.

 

Many thanks to Elizabeth Davies (van der Graaf) and her family for allowing me to adapt the text and to illustrate it by using photos from the family's collection.

 

 

 * * *

 

 

I visited Angola for the first time in 1950. ZAH (Zuid Afrikaans Handelshuis) had two offices there, one in Luanda, the other in Nova Lisboa. The area covered by the Nova Lisboa office was mostly that along the Benguela Railway: a section from the coast to the border with the Belgian Congo (Katanga). The purpose of my stay in Nova Lisboa was to familiarize myself with the activities that the business had in Africa. Luanda always brought in good year-end results, but paid very little attention to the advice and instructions coming from Head Office, causing continued conflict.

 

 

 

Untitled

Zuid Afrikaans Handelshuis, Luanda c. 1960

 

 

 

The ZUID building in Nova Lisboa was a warehouse, mostly. Trade was mainly in foodstuffs, textile, construction materials, paint, small agricultural tools, general merchandise, and so on.

 

Massive square piles of cotton cloth were the first thing you saw. The cotton prints that attracted the greatest interest were the ones that had just arrived: "novidades". In the area around Nova Lisboa, "pintados" ("blue print"), originally from Germany (Fritz Becker), were still in general use, and worn by both men and women. It was dark blue material with white lines or spotted patterns.

 

Casa Holandesa

 

 

Casa Holandesa

 

 

Sometimes business contacts arrived from the interior with elephant tusks. Their weight varied from 10 to 40 kg, sometimes even more. Consignments were made up and eventually shipped to Holland, where there was always a great deal of interest in these tusks. The tusks were mainly used to make billiard balls. Other products from the upper plateau which were exported by ZUID were beans, castor seed, manioc (cassava, Portuguese: crueira) and sesame seed; and from the river basins: palm nuts, palm oil; also Arabica coffee, as opposed to Robusta, which was practically the only kind of coffee grown in the north of Angola.

 

 

 

Angola Mapa anos 60

 Map of Angola c. 1960

 

 

 

During the eight months I spent in Nova Lisboa, I made a number of trips to the coast. In the rainy season, these trips often had to be postponed, as the road was poor, and very little was done about this, as the Railways, who had a great say in the matter, felt that good road connections would harm the railway's interests.

 

7 Ferry across the Quanza

 

Ferry across the Cuanza

 

 

On the road from Sá da Bandeira (formerly "Lubango") to Moçamedes, I saw groups of zebra grazing near the road, and further off, herds of springbok, leaping to get out of the way. There are very few springbok left nowadays. The Portuguese name for them is "cabra de leque." "Leque" means "fan," and when alarmed, the hair on their backs stands up on end.

 

 

cabra-de-leque-3.50ags-880x1024

 Cabra de Leque

 

 

Benguela itself still had the appearance of an old slave town, with the old walled enclosures still there, where the slaves were kept after their arrival from the interior until being shipped away. Other than that, the most striking things were the red-colored earth and the orange blossoms of the acacia rubra (flame tree).

 

 

Nova Lisboa, Angola 1960

 Nova Lisboa c. 1960

 

 

 

 

 

Benguela

 Benguela, c. 1960

 

 

I remember that one morning, a young native man who always travelled with us to help with the bags, told me that "the rain had rained during the night." This was the first time I had come across the typically Bantu personification of natural phenomena.

 

 ... to be continued... 

 

 

Andries Pieter van der Graaf

Jan/Feb 1974

Translated by Elizabeth Davies (van der Graaf) 2012

 

Other posts:

My Years in Angola (2)

My Years in Angola (3)

My Years in Angola (4)

My Years in Angola (5)

 

 

Full text:

The memoir of Andries Pieter van der Graaf is in two parts: Part 1 (written in English) starts in 1909 with his birth, and provides a vivid description of his early life in Krimpen aan de Lek, a small community near Rotterdam; of the effects of the Depression on the family; and of his experiences during the war. In Part 2 (written in Dutch, translation into English provided), he takes us from his first day in Angola, through his years learning how to run a Dutch trading company in Angola in colonial times, to his fascination with Angola and its peoples.

 

www.asclibrary.nl/docs/341/217/341217840.pdf

http://www.asclibrary.nl/docs/341220647.htm

 

 

Album "Vintage Angola" on Flickr 

 

 

Notes:

Map of Angola: Veteranos da Guerra do Ultramar

Nova Lisboa and Benguela: Tempo Caminhado 

 

 

publicado por VF às 09:43
link do post | comentar | favorito
1 comentário:
De batidasfotograficas a 25 de Julho de 2016 às 00:20
Deu para sentir e reviver Angola onde vivi 22 anos.
Abraço

Comentar post

pesquisar

mais sobre mim

posts recentes

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

O Bloco-Notas de José Cut...

tags

todas as tags

links

arquivos

Abril 2018

Março 2018

Fevereiro 2018

Janeiro 2018

Dezembro 2017

Novembro 2017

Outubro 2017

Setembro 2017

Agosto 2017

Julho 2017

Junho 2017

Maio 2017

Abril 2017

Março 2017

Fevereiro 2017

Janeiro 2017

Dezembro 2016

Novembro 2016

Outubro 2016

Setembro 2016

Agosto 2016

Julho 2016

Junho 2016

Maio 2016

Abril 2016

Março 2016

Fevereiro 2016

Janeiro 2016

Dezembro 2015

Novembro 2015

Outubro 2015

Setembro 2015

Agosto 2015

Julho 2015

Junho 2015

Maio 2015

Abril 2015

Março 2015

Fevereiro 2015

Janeiro 2015

Dezembro 2014

Novembro 2014

Outubro 2014

Setembro 2014

Agosto 2014

Julho 2014

Junho 2014

Maio 2014

Abril 2014

Março 2014

Fevereiro 2014

Janeiro 2014

Dezembro 2013

Novembro 2013

Outubro 2013

Setembro 2013

Agosto 2013

Julho 2013

Junho 2013

Maio 2013

Abril 2013

Março 2013

Fevereiro 2013

Janeiro 2013

Dezembro 2012

Novembro 2012

Outubro 2012

Setembro 2012

Agosto 2012

Julho 2012

Junho 2012

Maio 2012

Abril 2012

Março 2012

Fevereiro 2012

Janeiro 2012

Dezembro 2011

Novembro 2011

Outubro 2011

Setembro 2011

Agosto 2011

Julho 2011

Junho 2011

Maio 2011

Abril 2011

Março 2011

Fevereiro 2011

Janeiro 2011

Dezembro 2010

Novembro 2010

Outubro 2010

Setembro 2010

Agosto 2010

Julho 2010

Junho 2010

Maio 2010

Abril 2010

Março 2010

Fevereiro 2010

Janeiro 2010

Dezembro 2009

Novembro 2009

Outubro 2009

Setembro 2009

Agosto 2009

Julho 2009

Junho 2009

Maio 2009

Abril 2009

Março 2009

Fevereiro 2009

Janeiro 2009

Dezembro 2008

Novembro 2008

Creative Commons License
This work by //retrovisor.blogs.sapo.pt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Blogs Portugal

blogs SAPO

subscrever feeds