The German influence on the Afrikaans folk-tale was not as comprehensive as one would have expected out of hand. Yet, although limited, it made an important contribution to Afrikaans folk-tales of the supernatural. This article deals with four Afrikaans folk tales which show German influences.
Johann Friedrich Hszner was one of many Germans who emigrated to the Cape Colony during the 18th century. He was employed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as surgeon ('chirurgyn') and played a significant role in medicine at the Cape. Born in Breslau (Germany) in 1764, he arrived in the Cape Colony in 1785, where het practised as district surgeon (,colonies chirurgijn') at Paarl and subsequently at Graaff-Reinet from 1791 till 1795. The circumstances under which the white colonists lived in that isolated part of the Cape Colony, as well as their medical and health problems, urged him to write a medical handbook for them. Although the book was never published, it contains valuable information of a cultural historical nature and casts light on possible reasons for the heart diseases which are common amongst the descendants of those pioneers. Hszner attached great value to the healing powers of hot mineral waters. From 1804 till his death in 1820 he managed the warm baths at the foot of the Swartberg near the present Caledon. The baths were visited by many people who sought relief from ailments such as gout and rheumatism.
Ludwig Harms founded the Hermannsburg Missionary Society in 1849 with the aim of starting a mission field in East Africa. The missionaries and their helpers were refused entry to East Africa. They disembarked in Port Natal and began mission work amongst the Zulus, and later extended into the Western Transvaal amongst the Tswanas. The missionaries, their helpers and the descendants of the helpers founded Lutheran communities near their mission stations from which their own German schools developed. They concentrated particularly on agriculture. The missionary endeavour in the Western Transvaal was much more successful than in NataL The missionaries also played an important role in educating the communities in respect of trades and agriculture and as regards founding of schools and even teacher training centres. They did not, however, distinguish between the Christian faith, as reflected by their Lutheran missionary endeavour, and Western culture. Conversely they made a great contribution to the development of our country, particularly in Natal and the Western Transvaal.
The contributions of the Germans in the medical and para-medical sphere in South Africa were extensive. The origin, preparation and use of medicinal plants, proprietary brands and homeopathy against the German background are discussed. The services rendered by only a few skilled people are highlighted with emphasis on their contribution to the development of a system of folk medicine in South Africa.
German musicians made a substantial contribution to the music life of several towns and areas in South Africa. Several of the musicians not only contributed as music teachers and performing artists, but they also played a leading role in the development of music life. This survey gives representative extracts from the South African music history. Firstly, the work of several German musicians in Cape Town during the first half of the century is discussed. This is followed by extracts from the music history of several towns during the second half of the century. It includes the contributions of German musicians such as Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch in Stellenbosch, C.J.H. Eberlein in Port Elizabeth, Franz Moeller in East London, Carl Rybnikar in Kimberley, Ivan Haarburger in Bloemfontein, Gustav Ernst Abendroth in Harrismith and Otto von Booth in Johannesburg.