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"I have read through the manuscript and know that it will be of great use to historians of Namibian and colonial history... I wish that I could have seen this book when I was conducting my research in the early 1990s." - Professor Dr Jan-Bart Gewald, Leiden University. "One gets goose-bumps just reading it" - Dr Martha Akawa, University of Namibia. In 1942, in a Cape Town boarding house, Eugen Mansfeld painstakingly typed out his life story, in German, on 179 pages of lined paper. He was 71 and alone: one son killed during the German invasion of Normandy; two other sons interned in South Africa for their Nazi sympathies; his wife trapped while holidaying in Germany at the outbreak of the Second World War. As Mansfeld wrote, he lost himself in memories of an earlier world. Buying ostrich feathers and antelope pelts in the Eastern Cape in the 1890s; managing farms and trading in the remote canyons and deserts of German South-West Africa (now Namibia); fighting to preserve German colonial rule in a bloody war against the ovaHerero people in 1904; robbing Bushman graves to add to his grotesque collection of skulls; picking up gemstones from the desert sands during the diamond rush in the 1900s; and taking arms in a desert campaign against the British Empire during the First World War. The result was a frank, graphic account of white colonial rule in Africa. Grave-robber; soldier; diamond-dealer; executioner; horse-trader... Mansfeld's personal history of the "scramble for Africa" is gritty, shocking and unashamed; a scarce autobiographical account of the brutality and inhumanity of the colonisation process published for the first time nearly eighty years after its creation.
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