Journal of a Geologist, by Gerhard Söhnge
In his preface to Gerhard Söhnge's autobiography, Journal of a Geologist, Dirk J. L. Visser (Pretoria) recalls their long standing friendship.
We met for the first time in 1931 when Gerhard Söhnge and I registered for the same course at the University of Stellenbosch. Three years later we both obtained the B.Sc. degree, majoring in Geology and Chemistry. This was during the depression years and we both decided to return for our MSc degrees. By the end of May 1934, however, I was appointed as geologist at the Geological Survey in Pretoria, thanks to our mentor in geology, Prof. Shand, Gerhard remained at the university, completed the MSc course and at the beginning of 1935 accepted a similar appointment at the Geological Survey. You see, Prof. Shand recognised in us greater potential as geologists than we both were aware of at that particular stage. Gerhard and I were colleagues for ten years and came to know each other very well. We were young, the Second World War was in full swing, and we were intensely interested in our subject field and gradually gained experience as field geologists. Initially the two of us worked together in connection with the diamondiferous stream gravel terraces in the Vaal River Basin. Thereafter I left for long fieId seasons in Griqualand West and at the same time he departed for Eastern Transvaal. 1938 heralded a great opportunity for Gerhard. A study grant from the University of Stellenbosch enabled him to go to Harvard University in the USA for his doctoral studies in Economic Geology. Despite the fact that his MSc degree was not acknowledged in the USA, he was by no means deterred and the following year obtained the AM degree with distinction. Back in South Africa in 1940, he began to investigate the Messina copper mining area. Four years later he was awarded the PhD degree by Harvard for his thorough study of this thesis subject (which was published in 1946 by the Geological Survey as Memoir 40). For his further career as mine geologist and later as professor at his old alma mater, the reader is referred to the chapters following.This is much more than a "journal of a geologist". His earlier recollections of the missionary parsonages in Saron and Worcester where he spent his childhood, are a valuable rendering of cultural history. His chronicles about the work of a geologist (especially concerning conditions in those years at the Geological Survey) can serve as inspiration for the next generation. He tells his story with a characteristic fine sense of humour. To me it has been a privilege and a pleasure to read this autobiographical narrative and write the preface. I hereby wish my old colleague and friend good health and fruitful autumn years.
Wonderful years in Tsumeb: 1950–1968 (Gerhard Söhnge)
The last weekend of May 1950 I waited in the Minen Hotel in Tsumeb for my wife and little daughter to arrive by plane and of course, following on that, our furniture per railway services: how long would it take from Nababeep via Bitterfontein, Cape Town, De Aar, Usakos and with the narrow-gauge line to Tsumeb? The news came that the Beechcraft was damaged during an emergency landing at Springbok and would be airworthy only after a month. The situation had the advantage that I was not bothered by domestic problems and could immediately give all attention to my new work. [...]
This is an excerpt from Journal of a Geologist, by Gerhard Söhnge.
Title: Journal of a Geologist
Author: Gerhard Söhnge
Publisher: Geology Department of the University of Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch, South Africa 2001
ISBN 0-7972-0880-1 / ISBN 0797208801
ISBN 978-0-7972-0880-3 / ISBN 9780797208803
Hardcover, 18 x 26 cm, 197 pages, several b/w- and colour photos
Söhnge, Gerhard im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Journal of a Geologist is a very interesting autobiography of the practical and academic pioneer of South West African and South African geology, Gerhard Söhnge.