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Emil Holub

Emil Holub (1847 - 1902) was a doctor and explorer, and of Czech birth. After studying medicine he went to South Africa in 1872. He spent time in Kimberley, travelled into the interior, and collected fossils, dried plants and animal skeletons. He practiced medicine for a short time in Cradock in 1878 and also gave a lecture at Colesberg that year. He later returned to Europe and lectured extensively about his travels and the fauna and flora of southern Africa. He returned to South Africa in the 1880s and undertook further exploration, hoping to travel from Cape to Cairo. Some of Holub’s large collection of ethnographical specimens, including southern African rock art (‘Bushmen’ paintings), is still in museum collections in Prague and elsewhere in Europe. Schreiner met Holub at Cradock and a letter of that time pokes fun at his seriousness. In 1887 she wrote to Ellis, “I have just heard that my old friend Emile Holeb the African traveller is killed.”, although in fact Holub only died in 1902.

For further information see:
Anon (1968) ‘Emil Holub’ in (ed) W.J. de Kock Dictionary of South African Biography¬† Vol I Pretoria: National Council for Social Research, pp. 390 - 392
Karel Schoeman (1991) Olive Schreiner: A Woman in South Africa 1855-1881 Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball
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