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The Medicine Chest

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  • H.4

    This object, a leather cartridge case said to belong to Sammy Marks, occupies a place in the Special Collections of the University of Cape Town. It forms part of the Sammy Marks Papers (BC770).
  • Sharpeville

    The predominantly black community of Sharpeville was established near Vereeniging. On the 21st of March, 68 years after Vereeniging was first established, the Sharpeville massacre occurred.
  • Dis-Location/Re-Location

    Farber's research examines themes of adaptation to new surroundings and circumstances through the real-life persona of Bertha Guttmann, a Jewish woman brought to South Africa from Sheffield in 1885 at the age of 22. She entered into an arranged marriage with Sammy Marks, who rose from being a peddler to one of the old Transvaal Republic’s leading industrialists. They lived in a beautiful home, now a museum, called Zwartkoppies, east of Pretoria. "Rather, from the initial cut, she inserts a seedling aloe into her flesh, delicately ‘planting’ the indigenous South African succulent into her forearm. This action represents a physical grafting of an alien botanical life form into the “lily-white corpus of Europe” (Ord 2008:106)" (Farber 2012: 35). Bertha Marks’s construction of the formal English rose garden on the ‘moral wastes’ of the Highveld could be recognised as part of a broader colonial project to ‘civilise’ the ‘barbaric’ African land. The road leading to the eastern gate of Zwartkoppies is lined with Eucalyptus trees planted by Sammy Marks. Rather as in his wife’s attempt to create her formal rose garden in her new surroundings and in so doing to ‘tame’ nature, Sammy Marks embarked on an ambitious campaign to “reclaim” and “green” Zwartkoppies, “creating a civilised landscape out of what his secretary called a wilderness” (Mendelsohn 1991:104). Thousands of trees were planted, mainly exotic varieties such as pines and blue gums, as well as orchards and vineyards (Mendelsohn 1991:104)" (Farber 2012: 58)
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