1887

n Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie - Siegfried Passarge (1866-1958) en die begin van 'n Suider-Afrikaanse geomorfologiese diskoers : baanbrekers

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0254-3486
  • E-ISSN: 2222-4173

Abstract

Siegfried Passarge se loopbaan as aardwetenskaplike het oor drie tydruimtelike segmente verloop : sy opvoeding in aartskonserwatiewe Pruise tussen 1875 en 1892, sy veldwerk in Suider-Afrika tussen Junie 1896 en Januarie 1899 en die lang skof van 1908 tot 1935 as professor in Geografie in Hamburg. Hierdie artikel is veral gerig op die resultate van sy Suider-Afrikaanse verblyf.


Passarge is in 1896 deur 'n Britse firma gekontrakteer om vir edeldelfstowwe in die noordweste van Betsjoeanaland-protektoraat te prospekteer, 'n soektog wat teen die einde van 1898 vrugteloos geblyk te gewees het. Hoewel hy sy pligte nougeset nagekom en spoedig leier van die eksplorasiespan was, het hy homself eintlik as 'n wetenskaplike beskou en inligting oor 'n wye veld van die aardwetenskappe versamel. Terug in Duitsland het drie monografieë uit sy pen verskyn: (1904), 'n massiewe fisiografie van 822 bladsye, (1907), 'n saaklike etnografie, en (1908), die eerste streeksgeografie van die subkontinent wat deur 'n professionele geograaf geskryf is.
As verkenning het die temas aan die orde gestel wat vandag nog die geomorfologiese diskoers oorheers: klimaatsverandering, fossieldreineerstelsels, eilandberglandskappe, hardekorse, die Platorand en die stratigrafie van die Kalahari Opeenvolging. het 'n nog wyer bestek gehad en sy geomorfologie was grof in resolusie, maar Passarge kon van sy vertolkings herbevestig. Nogtans is hierdie vertolkings vinnig deur ander skrywers opgevolg, aanvanklik net so oorgeneem maar later gewysig en verwerp.
In Hamburg het Passarge se belangstelling gaandeweg van geomorfologie na "landskapskunde" oorgeswaai en sy uitsprake het al hoe meer kontroversieel geword. Suid-Afrikaners onthou egter sy werk van die eerste dekade van die eeu.


Siegfried Passarge's career as an earth scientist passed through three segments of space-time : his education in arch-conservative Prussia between 1875 and 1892; the fieldwork in Southern Africa between June 1896 and January 1899 which made him the leading German arid geomorphologist of the time; and, finally, his stay in Hamburg where he was a controversial professor of geography from 1908 to beyond retirement in 1935. This paper is primarily concerned with the results of his brief sojourn in Southern Africa.
In 1896 Passarge was contracted by a British firm to search for minerals in the northwest of Bechuanaland Protectorate. Diligently performing his duties Passarge regarded himself a scientist rather than a prospector, gathered extensive data on the Kalahari environment and people and, back in Germany, published his research results in three benchmark monographs : (1904), a massive physiography of 822 pages, (1907), a concise ethnography, and (1908), the first regional study of the subcontinent by a professional geographer.
As a reconnaissance opened up the themes which still dominate the Southern African geomorphological discourse: climate change, fossil drainage systems, inselberg landscapes, duricrusts and the stratigraphy of the Kalahari Sequence. was ingeniously structured but its geomorphology was coarse in resolution and its interpretations facile. Nevertheless Passarge's work left a long trail in the South African earth sciences. W.M. Davis based his arid cycle on Passarge's explanation of the plateau plains, A.L. du Toit included his five-fold division of the Kalahari sediments in , while John Wellington's was an intentional successor to .
At Hamburg University during the 1920s and 1930s Passarge exchanged the earth sciences for "Landschaftskunde" and as a result became an embarrassment to the German community of geographers because of his virulent support of the National Socialist regime.

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/content/aknat/28/1/EJC20455
2009-12-01
2019-10-20

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