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Lukeness

Printing press at Griquatown

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Lukeness    10
Lukeness

As requested, here's a new thread on the debate over the existence of a printing press in Griquatown and when it might have been there.

Perhaps, if anything can be properly established the relevance of this, if any, to Griquatown tokens discussion can then be addressed.

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Cold Sea    0
Cold Sea

Scott,

 

In several posts you make reference to Burchell's drawing, loin cloths etc, suggesting an uneducated people living at Griquatown.

 

My interpretation of the printing press saga is, just the request alone for an own printing press suggests a demand for printed matter that is specific to the need of that community. The parallel then being an own government, own literature and of course own money.

 

The Griquas have been described as somewhere between civilised and uncivilised,wearing European clothes (even by Burchell), and being middle men in the trade between the indigenous folk and the colony (beads for tusks) etc. The request for a printing press then is just one of the reasons why the Griquas would have been able to grasp the notion of a metallic currency.

 

Derick

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dennrein    10
dennrein

Original documents

 

Here is a bunch of quotes proving beyond a doubt that Griquatown had a printing press from at least 1817 to 1824:

 

Missionary register, 1816:

"Mr. Read, considering Griqua Town as a central station of great importance, is of opinion that a printing-press should be established there; a measure which the Directors highly approve.”

 

Cupido to Campbell, 23 May, 1817:

"The printing press sent to Griqua town is come to hand, and they have begun to print a Hymn Book. One of the missionaries has begun to compose a Dictionary and Catechism in the Bootsuana language."

 

American Missionary register, 1821:

"Mr. Helm continues at this station, and has printed a few copies of a Boochuana spelling-book, which had been prepared by the brethren at Lattakoo."

 

The missionary gazeteer, 1828:

"Mr. Helm, having completed the arrangements of a small printing-office, has begun to print elementary books for the mission."

 

The last quote is from Bethelsdorp and might explain why there was no printing press in Griquatown when Moffat started printing in Kuruman (1831). It seems Helm had taken the press with him when he left Griquatown for Bethelsdorp in 1824.

 

Regards

dennrein

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dennrein    10
dennrein

Intention of the press

 

I have to correct a misconception in Derick's statement above. The printing press, though stationed at Griquatown, was not meant for the Griqua but for the Tswana in Dithakong and Kuruman. The most important things printed there were in Tswana and probably mainly used in the mission schools (spelling books). The language missionaries used with the Griqua and the majority of Griqua came to use, was Dutch or an early form of Afrikaans. So it wouldn't have been necessary to print books for the Griqua because Dutch books were to be had in the colony. Of course there was also a mission school in Griquatown, where children learned to read and write Dutch. Campbell writes of his visit in 1820 (Campbell 1835: 178): "I visited the school, and found a great many young people, in little companies, standing around printed sheets suspended on the walls, and teaching one another, according to the British system; while the master, a native Griqua, was employed in hearing some senior girls read the New Testament." Of course you are right in saying that the Griqua had taken on a lot of other "Western" forms of behaviour which was why the Griqua coins were minted for them in the first place.

 

Regards

dennrein

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ATOMICSQUIRREL    10
ATOMICSQUIRREL

Would be nice if somebody actually had a book or something that was printed there...or a Tshirt perhaps?

 

JK:nuts:

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dennrein    10
dennrein

Who knows

 

Not much seems to have been printed in those years or else Moffat wouldn't have organized a printing press for Kuruman. But Scott Balson refers to an interesting video he made of the Mary Moffat Museum in Griquatown this year, see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Not_rFmDnFU. And there is a small library of books there which might include something printed in Griquatown. Someone would have to have a look and there is no guarantee.

 

Regards

dennrein

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Cold Sea    0
Cold Sea

Hi Dennrein,

 

The printing press, though stationed at Griquatown, was not meant for the Griqua

 

I must disagree with you, and feel the Griquas must have, directly, benefited from the press. I agree though that the printing press was more for the benefit of the Tswana in Dithakong and Kuruman.

 

However, I take umbrage at Scott's repeated suggestion that his Griqua "friends" were an uneducated, unsophisticated lot belonging in a Burchell sketch, hence my flippant association.

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dennrein    10
dennrein

Agreed

 

In that case we agree. For example the hymn book might have been used in Griquatown as it would have been quite an act to put together a Tswana hymn book within half a year of the printing press arriving.

 

Regards

dennrein

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Guest Guest   
Guest Guest

Off with the fairies :))

 

In that case we agree. For example the hymn book might have been used in Griquatown as it would have been quite an act to put together a Tswana hymn book within half a year of the printing press arriving.

 

Regards

dennrein

 

Lets get real boys

 

History clearly demonstrates that the first words written in Setswana were in 1825 - the tombstone of Robert Moffat's 5 day old son.

Here is a photo I took a month or so back of the tombstone embedded in this post.. http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/14981-reality-check-videos-2-key-people-confirm-griquatown-tokens-never-circulated-7.html#post127076 - the official South African history notes that these are the FIRST words written in Setswana.

 

The first Setswana Bible, after years by Moffat of compiling the language into our symbols, was printed at Kuruman in the mid 1800s.

 

So how do you compile a hymn book in that language pre-1820s when it had not even been put into written form at that time?

 

Its like minting a coin without a mould/design... except putting a language into words based on A-Z takes many, many years to accomplish - and it only was through the dedication of Robert Moffat.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Guest Guest   
Guest Guest
Not much seems to have been printed in those years or else Moffat wouldn't have organized a printing press for Kuruman. But Scott Balson refers to an interesting video he made of the Mary Moffat Museum in Griquatown this year, see here:
. And there is a small library of books there which might include something printed in Griquatown. Someone would have to have a look and there is no guarantee.

 

Regards

dennrein

 

Let me assure you Hetta Hager had looked at every document let alone book in the Mary Moffat Museum at Griquatown and they were all much more recent.. including the c1900 account books which she only talks to me about off record. I am not going to disclose why here - but I will say it is totally unrelated to this subject.

 

If there had been a printing press located at the Mary Moffat museum as claimed in some recent books or a single piece of paper struck by some magical printing process in Griquatown Hetta would know about it after being the curator there for over 30 years. There wasn't.

 

The tragedy is that the cleaner is now the curator at the Mary Moffat Museum so unless you come during her cleaning hours it will more than likely be locked.. and don't expect the cleaner to be able to have her head around the facts...

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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