Sink the BirkenheadSINK THE BIRKENHEAD !
which is the story of Maqoma´s Last War

by Nicholas Dekker

This is the story of a lone Xhosa Chief who destroyed a British Navy troopship that threatened to annihilate his nation in 1852. This is the story how the attack was carried out by a few African black people. This is the story of a lone abalone diver who spent scores of hours investigating the wreck of HMS ‘Birkenhead’ between 1958 and 1988. This is the story how the irrefutable evidence of sabotage was found. This is the story of Britain´s mindless invasion into Xhosaland. This is the lamentable story how one of the bravest African Chiefs was buried in a pauper´s hole on Robben Island.

Click to see a larger version of the back coverBackcover of ‘Sink The Birkenhead’

In the left lower corner you see the signature of Tromp van Diggelen, my old friend who got me started on the ‘Birkenhead’. Today I don´t think a lot of people in South Africa remember Tromp, The Strong Man Of Africa. I knew him only for the time I dived on the wreck, 50 years ago but I never forgot him as he had made a great impression on me. When we met he was already in his seventies and I wasn´t even thirty, despite that we got on very well. Tromp was of dutch descent, his family claimed to be descendants of famous admiral Tromp of the 17th century and his mother was an afrikaans lady from the Freestate. He was a weak child but by the age of eight he invented exercises to strengthen his body and when he was eighteen he had become a world champion wrestler. His life was one long adventure, probably that´s why we got on well, we both lived more for the adventure of things than for the money. He lived near Kalkbay, a small fishing harbour in False Bay and was known there as the kabeljouw king as he pulled great 50pounders out of the sea as if they were mackerel. He was a good photographer too, look at that photo and see how carefully it is composed. As a young fellow I felt honoured by our friendship and that feeling has not changed today. Without him one of my finest adventures, the Birkenhead saga would not have happened which would have been regrettable for both of us. If you can find his book, ‘Worth While Journey’, Heineman, now out of print, buy it.


Sink the Birkenhead! by Nicholas Dekker
ISBN: 0-620-32974-2
eBook [PDF 344 pages]
ZAR 90.00


Sink the Birkenhead! by Nicholas Dekker
ISBN: 0-620-32974-2
Paperback [344 pages]
ZAR 180.00 [Price includes packaging and postage]


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