Swart Souf

Oktober 16, 2008 in Sonder kategorie

I took my liberty to go ashore,
 and get filled up with Cape Smoke,
 I thought I would never come back any more,
 Till I fetched up at old
Black Sophie,

 there I met Maria Fine
 with a face so young and gay,
 she
caused me to stay overtime

 way down South Afric-kay!


Black Sophie, that strange hostess, belonged to a wild era. She was a Cape coloured woman, dark as her nickname, a huge and powerful woman with a vivid personality. Her boarding house was no better than other Bree street dives; but she had one redeeming trait – she was genuinely fond of the roistering sailors of her time. So much did Black Sophie enjoy her own parties that she almost forgot the motive.

Bree street was another world. It supplied all the needs of of beachcombers and sailors. The lower part of Bree street was as raffish as the Ratcliff Highway; a street where men from the ends of the earth met and drank and parted; a street that merged in into blue water and led to every corner of the earth.

Jack Gove, Billy the Prussian, Pete the Russian, Big Oscar the Swede, Cockney Jim, Bluenose Brown – few but the headmen had proper names, the rest were nicknames and often enough the owners preferred to leave their real names over the horizon when they signed for the islands.

They drank and yarned about the islands. They talked of the tons of guano they had scraped from those barren rocks, the sacks they had filled and humped, the ships they loaded, the sealing on sea swept ledges, the gullies and blinders and reefs of of the lonely coast……. and the island dawns when the birds rose from their nests in multitudes and darkened the sky… the ships that had called , and some that left their bones on the island beaches.

Savagely they remembered the long succession of crimps; those human sharks who had profited by spiking the liqor and taking blood money  for sending them off unconcious to sea in undermanned windjammers. Shanghai Brown of ‘Frisco, Paddy Doyle of Liverpool, Jim Brady of Antofagasta, Jack Booze of Table Bay….. Black Sophie, who did very much the same thing was different…. though they would have been hard put to explain why.

Sinclair’s island, Plumpudding, Pomona, Possession, Ichaboe, Mercury ……  Headman Jack Gove  needed more men…. that was the motive behind the free drinks; that and Black Sophie’s love of a party!

Brandy, bad woman and song- all those have sent men to the islands… but often there has been something more…… It is so hard to define that you will have to ship for the islands yourselves before you can hope to understand.

At daybreak for the Isles   – Lawrence Green

Net anderkant die sloep in Kleinbaai is hierdie rots. Swart Sophie. Regs.

Dyer eiland was eintlik naby aan die Kaap,  maar daar was guano om te skraap , en robbe om te slaan…  en ‘n partytjie met Sophie en haar meisies is op die eiland gereël.

5 antwoorde op Swart Souf

  1. Ceara het gesê op Oktober 16, 2008

    Wat ‘n wonderlike stuk! Mens sou kon dink dat die lees hiervan menige ou skepe toe gestuur het..:-)

  2. Mooi stukkie hierdie… Ek is mos so mal oor geskiedenis en veral die era van seerowers. Waar is daardie eiland nou weer ?

  3. Vetjan het gesê op Oktober 16, 2008

    Ludwig, die meeste guano eilande was tussen Port Nolloth en Luderitz… maar Dyer eiland is by Gansbaai.. so paar daar gelede het ek fotos van die eiland gepos.

  4. Vetjan het gesê op Oktober 16, 2008

    Lulu, plesier, het gisteraand gaan kyk, en dit baie geniet.

  5. Vetjan het gesê op Oktober 16, 2008

    Lorinda, Lawrence Green se boeke is klassiek. bv
    Where men still dream(1945), So few are free (1946), Tavern of the seas (1947) ens.

Laat 'n Antwoord

Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Vereiste velde word aangedui as *.