Through Fortress and Rock
AMONG the least known of the 25 "Randlords", the European emigrants who sailed for South Africa in the late 19th century to make their fortunes in the diamond and gold fields, are George and Leopold Albu, the sons of a Berlin coach-builder, and Adolf Goerz, a mining engineer from Mainz. Yet the companies they founded, General Mining and Union Corporation, were the beginnings of what today is Gencor, South Africa's second-biggest mining house and the world's biggest exporter of steam coal and producer of ferrochrome and titanium dioxide.
Goerz died too young to fill out this story, but the travails of General Mining and the Albu brothers, who as teenagers arrived at the Cape and trekked for 28 days in an ox-wagon to Kimberley, provide intriguing insights into South Africa's shifting ethnic snobberies. …
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