An African Trading Empire: The Story of the Susman Brothers and Wulfsohn, 1901-2005

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I.B.Tauris, Jul 22, 2005 - Business & Economics - 492 pages
2 Reviews
Kinship and partnership united Elie and Harry Susman when they crossed the Zambezi from the south in 1901 and travelled north to buy cattle from King Lewanika in Barotseland. The result was a remarkable family business, Susman Brothers and Wulfsohn, that has flourished for over a century in some of the most logistically difficult, physically challenging and politically problematic environments in the world. An African Trading Empire is a unique diaspora story set against the backdrop of the great themes of European and African history from the Jewish persecution in Europe through colonial Africa to the triumph of African nationalism and decolonization.
 

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As the author of this book I would like to respond to the comment of Mrs Elna Janse van Rensburg. She is quite right - I did confuse the names Van Rensburg and Van der Merwe on page 353 of this book and I apologise for that. The book has been out now for eight years and this is the first serious error that has been brought to my attention. I am afraid it's not possible to publish a 500 page book without making some mistakes and I don't think one mistake makes the book worthless! I especially remember the interview that I did with Mrs Van Rensburg's husband's aunt, Mrs Edwardina Neethling , and I am sorry that I got her father's name wrong.
Hugh Macmillan
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Congratulations with a book with incorrect information in it!
The author of this book stayed with Shirley Mee which is also the Financial Director of the American International School Lusaka. She
new of my connection with the Van Rensburg Family and arranged a meeting with my husband, Fanie Janse van Rensburg.
The author of the book was in my house and that of my husband’s aunt to interview them about land that my husband’s grandfather purchased form the Susman Brothers. I was present at one of the meetings and my husband referred the author to his aunt regarding the sale of the Susman’s, or Leopard’s Hill Ranch, and still he recorded the names involved in this transaction incorrectly.
My husband, Fanie Janse van Rensburg, is the grandson of Stephanus Louwrens Janse van Rensburg also know as Fanie Janse van Rensburg and Edwardina Neethling is the daughter of Fanie Janse van Renburg. How is it possible that he, the author, could make such a mistake, to say the buyer of the farm was Fanie van der Merwe????
See Chapter 19: Farms and Ranches 1945-93.
Please correct this otherwise this book is really worth nothing!
Elna Janse van Rensburg
Teacher at AISL and wife of the grandson of Fanie Janse van Rensburg
 

Contents

The African and Baltic Backgrounds
1
Barotseland Beginnings 19014
16
Settled at Sesheke 19048
34
Life at Lealui 19048
51
King Lobengulas Treasure
67
From Sesheke to Livingstone via Palestine 190914
83
Sesheke War and the Barotseland Cattle Trade 190931
101
From Ngamiland to the Congo 191236
120
People
256
The Copperbelt and the Central African Cattle Trade
276
A Copperbelt Conglomerate
300
Zambesi Saw Mills 194868
318
Northern RhodesiaZambia Textiles
340
Farms and Ranches 194593
353
Rhodesia Zimbabwe Botswana
373
Emerging Markets? Trans Zambezi Industries TZI
395

From Livingstone to the Copperbelt via South Africa 191439
139
From Latvia to Livingstone 193044
167
The Development of the Stores
188
The Susmans Woolworths and Marks Spencer
209
Partners and Politics 195374
221
Conclusions
411
Notes
437
Index
479
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Hugh Macmillan was Professor of History at the University of Transkei, South Africa, and has taught at universities in Zambia and Swaziland. He is author of Zion in Africa (I.B.Tauris).

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