Title: Lighthouses of South Africa
Author: Gerald Hoberman
Publisher: Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9781919939513 / ISBN 978-1-919939-51-3
Hardcover, 29x30 cm, 384 pages, throughout colour photos
This extraordinary book, Lighthouses of South Africa, is a landmark in lighthouse literature. Profusely illustrated with dramatic photographs taken by world-renowned master photographer Gerald Hoberman from the land, the sea and the air (as well as photographs of the mechanisms and optics of the lighthouses). This treasure trove tells of the romance of men who have gone down to the sea in ships along the perilous coastline of South Africa’s Cape of Storms. This epic book features the important role of lighthouses since the earliest known light at Pharos in the Ancient World, to the 45 lighthouses and beacons, fauna and flora, marine life, breathtaking scenery, lighthouse keepers and people around the southern shores of the African continent.
Working in collaboration with specialist consultant, James Collocott of the Transnet National Ports Authority, who commissioned this book, Hoberman reveals a multifaceted insight into every aspect of lighthouses. Though detailed in content, with co-ordinates and a host of technical specifications for each lighthouse, which will satisfy the most discerning pharologist, the book’s design is a visual delight that is easy to navigate. The book reveals the optical, mechanical and civil engineering genius, innovation and traditions of lighthouse science, against often treacherous and logistically challenging odds, in sometimes remote, uninhabited territory and wild seas.
Hoberman enlivens history, painting a vivid picture of legendary shipwrecks, providing graphic and dramatic accounts of the sheer terror of being shipwrecked, and blending in the story of civil lobbying for the establishment of lighthouses and other threads in the rich fabric of social history. There are maps showing the locations of the lighthouses and shipwrecks on the coasts of South Africa. The chapter headings incorporate delightful pencil drawings of the lighthouses by Mellany Fick and an anthology of poems from Virgil and Shakespeare to Kipling and Masefield.