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  • Writer's pictureFrans Bijsterveld

The farm

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

A true account of my family history. Two men sail the high seas from Lisbon, Portugal, and land in Mozambique. One eventually becomes the honorary chief of the Shangaans in South Africa. His youngest daughter marries a born athlete and they soon leave for Southern Rhodesia, where they eventually settle in the small gold-rush town of Selukwe. This is a story that spans a century of excitement and challenge that faced these early pioneers and their offspring. Life often changed in a flash, but there was one constant that remained as solid as a rock through it all. It was called Grantham, and it was the family farm.

(see reviews below page)


Video of book




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2 Videos below of Selukwe in the early '50s showing the town, the Wolfshall, the farm (Grantham), road through the Selondi, drift on the L. Umtebekwe, a few parties, my grandfather's (Christian Stenslunde) house etc.


2 Videos below in the early '50s showing Selukwe (lots of mining personnel), Nalatalie Ruins (?), fishing and boat racing on Whitewaters, Gwelo. Also the 1953 Royal tour (Royal Tour: 1953 Queen Mother and Princess Margaret – Rhodesian Study Circle)


Review by the San Francisco Book Review

. . . I like that the author explains both the rich history of the time and gives detailed accounts about how the people were forging ahead, creating a home wherever they found themselves. It also showed how there was often a sense of community in remote areas that attracted diverse migrants. One of the best bits about this book was the numerous photos and documents the author included. It allowed me to really imagine what these people experienced in their daily lives. I think the book is a heartfelt, lovely tribute to a family that went through both adventurous times and hardships. And, the warmth and humor the author used to recount their journey made this an enjoyable read.


Review by the Online Book Club (

The farm by Frans Bijsterveld is a non-fiction book about the author's family roots. Mr. Bijsterveld anchors his story on the life of his great-grandmother, Anna Hazelhurst. Anna's father, João Albasini, had endured the deadly sea voyage with his father from Portugal to Mozambique. He eventually settled in South Africa . . .

This book is a product of thorough research and exciting storytelling skills. What I like the most about this book is that it contains lots of documents and pictures which corroborate the author's story. Also, I was able to put faces to the names mentioned in the book through the photos, which made the book more engaging.

Another aspect of this book I liked is that it brought back memories of how life used to be, especially in Africa. I also enjoyed the history lessons in the book and learned a lot about colonialism in Africa. The author's insights into the South African Boer War and the transportation business in Africa at that time are also commendable.

Furthermore, the author's writing style makes his narrations easy to follow. And the family tree diagram he included helped me to know who was who . . .

. . . Review by Saint Bruno

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Esma van Schalkwyk
Esma van Schalkwyk
Feb 08, 2021

Dear Frans, I was gobsmacked by your book, The Farm. It is so well written it took me back to my childhood. The research that has been done is extensive, accurate, and well presented.

The photos are a visual feast and stimulate the imagination to ponder what it was like to have lived in Rhodesia.

Thanks Frans. Loved it.


Esma van Schalkwyk
Esma van Schalkwyk
Feb 04, 2021

Have received my book, 'The Farm.'

Will have time to read it over the weekend.. Can't wait.

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