BOOK REVIEW: ‘SUGAR AND SETTLERS’
"THIS is surely the most comprehensive account yet of the development of the Natal South Coast"
‘A history of the Natal South Coast 1850-1910’
By Duncan L Du Bois, published in 2015 by Sun Press
THIS is surely the most comprehensive account yet of the development of the Natal South Coast from a backwater to a thriving area supporting a mixed population of Blacks, Whites and Indians whose livelihoods depended in varying degrees on the success of its sugar industry. In less than 50 years, settlers on the South Coast transformed their difficult terrain into a “thriving and productive region”, says the author, who based his book on his 2014 Ph.D dissertation.
His sources are wide-reaching – official Government files, Gazettes, Blue Books and parliamentary papers, daily newspapers – particularly the Natal Mercury - magistrates’ records, various archives, manuscripts, albums, letters, historical journals, and a long list of recently published books and sources. Every fact, almost every sentence, is meticulously referenced from a bibliography that runs into many pages. One doubts there is a word written on the subject that Du Bois hasn’t read, or an historical South Coast personality whom he doesn’t mention.
This book will be a valuable addition to the libraries of those interested in the saga of Natal’s early days.