A unique book about Dutch history in Africa
By F. van den Hoek, B. Vermeulen and C.M. Lindemann.
This is the amazing story of an exceptional man’s journey into a primitive world during a time that was almost lost forever… until now. To be more precise it is Alfons Vermeulen who went to the colonial Belgian Congo in 1899 and spent 26 years there. His mission was to establish trade posts for the Dutch NAHV company which held concessions in the vast, unexplored Congo territory ruled by Belgium and France. Subsequently he published two well-received biographical novels about his Congo period which show Africa, Congo and life in a refreshingly positive light.
Where Joseph Conrad describes Congo in Alfons' time as a living hell in 'Heart of Darkness'; Alfons presents us with a realistic account of life along the Congo river. A paradise where the 'primitive' and 'wild' inhabitants of the jungle prove to be more civilised than their European counterparts.
Already in his eighties Alfons managed to produce a third, unpublished, book in manuscript form. Many hours of research, editing and restoring of these documents led to: 'The Memoires of Chicongo', the third part of, which is now, a trilogy and will be published as such. Here Alfons details more aspects of daily life in the Congo and literally takes us to a world that has since dissappeared.
This book is currently only available to scientific researchers and relatives. I have plans to publish the book this year, 2012. If you are interested in a copy please contact me.
Update December 12th 2011
The soundbite on this webpage is an excerpt from the family story as told by my grandmother, Alfons'daughter, and captured on a three hour reel to reel tape session. It details the life of the Ruding, Bodewes, Stavermann and other shopkeeping families from the Netherlands. More on that later.... :)