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Saturday, 9 October 2010






A L I W A L



The author of "Aliwal", Adam Yamey, at the grave of Henry Bergmann at Aliwal North



A L I W A L


The small, sleepy town of Aliwal North lies on the southern bank (Cape Province side) of the Orange River. Today, two bridges cross the river into the Orange Free State (now ‘The Free State’). When Aliwal North was founded in 1849, and named in honour of a battle won by Sir Harry Smith in the Punjab, there were no bridges. The town was positioned at a point where the river was easily fordable.
The railway bridge across the River Orange at Aliwal North in 2003


Months after Aliwal North was established, a young Jew, recently arrived in the Cape Colony from his native Bavaria, came to the barely built town and opened up a general store there. He was Henry Bergmann, a first cousin of my mother’s grandmother. Business was brisk, and soon Henry became a wealthy man. His reputation was so great that he became elected a town councillor, and held other civic positions.
In 1860, wishing to get married to a Jewess (they were scarce in the Cape Colony in those times), he made a journey to Frankfurt on the Main, and married Jenny, the daughter of a prominent banker. The newlyweds returned to Aliwal North.
Henry’s business continued to prosper, and he became the managing director of one of Aliwal North’s banks, soon to become the only one in the town.
In 1866, Henry took his own life. The reasons for doing so have become obscured in the mists of time. In my novel “ALIWAL”, I have woven fiction with fact in order to reconstruct the tragic life of my relative, and to provide a plausible, if unproven, reason for his suicide.

Aliwal North in 2003


My novel, "ALIWAL" is available in paperback

on Amazon (WWW.AMAZON.COM or if in UK:WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK ).
Just type "Adam Yamey" into the product "search" line on the Amazon site.
AND ALSO FROM MY PRINTERS EITHER AS A PAPERBACK OR AS A DOWNLOAD TO READ ON YOUR COMPUTER:
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/aliwal/12558619

Rouxville in the Free State, in 2003

Richard Grayling's interesting website for would-be authors: http://strugglingauthors.co.uk

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