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The Baronet and the Savage King: The Intriguing Story of the Tati Concession

David Hilton-Barber

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ISBN 10: 0620559047 / ISBN 13: 9780620559041
Published by 30 Degrees South Publishers, 2014
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Baronet and the Savage King: The ...

Publisher: 30 Degrees South Publishers

Publication Date: 2014

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: New

Edition: 1St Edition - may be Reissue.

About this title


“Gold mined at Tati was identified with the dynasty of the Queen of Sheba and the ancient rulers of biblical Ophir. David’s book records how this notion, mentioned in Milton’s Paradise Lost, was discarded as being romantic fiction. But romance there is here a-plenty.” —John Gordon Davis, best-selling author of Hold My Hand I’m Dying.

The concession to mine gold at Tati was granted to a British baronet, Sir John Swinburne, by Lobengula, last king of the Matabele. Although called by colonial imperialists as a “savage king” and a “native despot”, Lobengula was “exceedingly well-made (in height about 6 ft. 10 inches), corpulent, with a commanding presence and, when in a good temper, having a kind heart and a full appreciation of humor”.

The gold at Tati, which was discovered by the geologist Carl Mauch, was actually on the site of prehistoric diggings that had been mined there 400 years previously by the Makalanga people. Tati lay on the missionary road to the north, used by Livingstone and Moffat, and it was part of Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a continuous tract of British imperialism from Cape to Cairo. The annexation of Bechuanaland was a direct result of the conflicts between the tribes within the area and the threats from President Kruger and from Germany which had recently colonized Angra Pequena. Gold from the early diggings here found its way to Great Zimbabwe and the famous golden rhinoceros from Mapungubwe was probably fashioned from gold mined at Tati. This forgotten corner of the subcontinent encapsulates a chapter of our history involving five countries, powerful men, much subterfuge, a botched invasion, a rebellion, land annexation, prospectors, hunters, traders and adventurers. It is a story begging to be told.

About the Author:

David Hilton-Barber, fourth-generation South African of 1820 Settler stock, was born in Grahamstown and holds a BA Honours degree from Rhodes. He trained as a journalist, following in the footsteps of his maternal great-grandfather Frederick York St Leger, founder and first editor of the Cape Times. In his later career as a public relations consultant, he was involved in a wide range of public-relations programmes for the public and private sector, included lecturing and contributing to the compilation of the communications course at the University of South Africa. He served as president of the PR Institute of SA and council member for South Africa on the International Public Relations Association. He is author of Footprints: On the Trail of Those who Shaped the History of Tzaneen, Footprints: Of Those Who Made History in Haenertsburg, The Baronet and the Savage King: The Intriguing Story of the Tati Concessions and Hobson's Choice: Len Hobson; The Story of a Remarkable Man and is presently researching several other historical projects.

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