Africa's Snow White #3 The Prequel ... 3 centuries earlier

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The word 'refugee' has a surprising origin  
Leo Hornak
As long as there has been war, there have also been people fleeing conflict and attempting to find shelter outside their homeland.

But in English, the word "refugee" is surprisingly recent in origin. It has its roots in 17th-century France, when a huge influx of some 200,000 French migrants known as "Huguenots" left their country to escape religious persecution. The French "refugie" became the English "refugee."

Huguenots were Reformed Protestants who felt unable to follow their faith under France's Catholic monarchy. Tens of thousands of French Protestants settled in non-Catholic countries across Europe, and in colonies in America and South Africa, but one of the most common destinations was England — particularly the East End of London. About 50,000 French Huguenots fled to England, 2,000 to the American colonies and 500 to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa. Many fled to other countries in Europe, also to Australia and elsewhere.

Their journeys were often dangerous: Some accounts from the time are eerily reminiscent of modern refugees' attempts to enter Europe. A newsletter in 1681 described boats arriving "with few men in them, they sending their wives and children away first, and most of these have run great hazards at sea."

Then as now, the refugees received a mixed welcome. One pamphlet from the time mocks Huguenots as "canary birds naturalised in Utopia" — a reference to a stereotype of Huguenots keeping pet birds in cages in their workplaces. Utopia was, of course, England.

Not all the responses were unsympathetic, however. A sense of fellowship from some English Protestants helped the Huguenots to integrate into the British economy relatively quickly.

One 17th-century sermon by the preacher Samuel Bolde berates its readers for their failure to feel empathy: "Now if you would find help, and relief from others, when destitute, afflicted, and persecuted, have some regard to, your persecuted Neighbours, in this their day of affliction. Nature, Religion, Christianity, all that is good and excellent intreat, and importune your Charity. Can you deny these sufferers?"

Eventually, the Huguenots assimilated remarkably thoroughly into British life. Some of the most famous figures in British culture and politics have Huguenot family names. The actor Laurence Olivier, Peter Mark Roget (of Roget's Thesaurus), and Sir John Houblon, the founder of the Bank of England, are typical examples.

Paul Revere is a Famous Huguenot in US history, as is Alexander Hamilton. About 2,000 French Huguenots fled to the American colonies. They married within their own community, at first, but as time went by, they intermarried with English protestants. Only one US French Huguenot church still exists ... in Charleston, SC.

Paul Revere, by John Singleton Copley, c. 1768, via the Norman Rockwell Museum

Every American schoolchild has heard the name Paul Revere — the “midnight ride” and all. But not nearly as many people know that Paul Revere had Huguenot ancestry. His father, Apollos Rivoire, fled France in 1715, at the young age of thirteen. A silversmith by trade, Rivoire anglicized his last name while in the colonies, and had twelve children with his wife, Deborah Hitchbourn. Young Paul, of “midnight ride” fame, was the second-oldest son and followed his father’s career as a silversmith before the outbreak of the American Revolution. Although a committed Protestant, it is unclear what Paul Revere thought of his French ancestry. Other notable figures of the Revolutionary period with French ancestry include John Jay and Alexander Hamilton

Here is part of the review by the most senior South African ambassador in the world: A delightful read. It evoked in me memories of my own teenage years, growing up in Cape Town ... I look forward to reading Jonathan’s sequel to this book, as I am sure there will be one.” —Ambassador Leslie Manley, Ambassador from South Africa to Panamá, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Perú

Disclaimer: I really wanted to keep the connection between my Son's latest novel and my family as quiet as possible, as it is quite a scandalous shocker, but as you can see from VICKI's comments/review below, that's clearly not going to happen now. I am naturally proud of my son's awesome accomplishment in writing this novel, the sequel of which is being readied for publication as I write this blog post. Any other pride I may have had has long since been knocked out of me through what life has thrown my way - and anyone who has read this book knows that I'm not saying that lightly. Anyone reading this novel will quickly realize why I would have preferred to keep the link to me and my family a secret, but if not, by the time the sequel is done, there should really be little doubt as to why I would have preferred that to be the case - It's downright embarrassing having had a mother like Snow-White! So life has managed to keep this introvert quite humble, as anyone who has emailed or chatted with me will confirm, and in any case, in the end I think it's better to be that way - humble, that is. We are what we are because of our life's script for the most part, and because of what God has done for us - and what "that other guy" has thrown our way to complicate life. How (and if) we rise above those complications is really key to survival. I hope these books will inspire their readers to rise above their own circumstances and any cruel, undeserved and unwelcome challenges imposed on them and their families by others. Some may view these books as revenge ... no, just simple long-overdue justice for all the "queen's" victims - some of whom paid the ultimate price.

It's no secret anymore! My youngest son, Jonathan, has written a romance/mystery/thriller based on my family's story. It follows the real story 90% accurately - though Jonathan has taken liberties with conversations and minor details, but he does so very well. Here are excerpts below of what a couple of people wrote:

VICKY, in her review, blew my "rather delicate" cover, and as we cannot remove her review from, I've just had to "come clean". Here is VICKI's detective work: "I feel like a reporter for the national inquirer or something. When I ordered Jennifer Eloff's low-carb books back in January I noticed a new novel with an interesting title listed alongside them on as well. On a hunch I ordered the novel -- and what a find! Not only is it exactly the kind of romance novel I like to read, it is also a scandalous thriller with a plot worthy of any Agatha Christie murder-mystery. Except this novel is based on a true story. Given that Jennifer's surname is very unusual, I googled ELOFF and soon realized that it is very South African --- as, it turns out, is Jennifer originally. From reading her blogpost of October 28th it is quickly apparent THAT THE AUTHOR IS HER SON! This all starts to make sense as he would have had the necessary access to inside information in order to write this novel, and believe me - you cannot make up a story like this, it's way too unusual. That leaves a few more mysteries, but one in particular. If the author is her son, then who is she in the book? There are really only two good candidates -- Denise who is a striking blonde with green eyes, and Elizabeth who has brown hair and blue eyes. Looking at her photos in her website and on the backs of her books, the answer is almost certainly that JENNIFER ELOFF IS DENISE in this novel. Just as well since anyone having a mother like the unfortunate Elizabeth definitely would have a very heavy burden to bear throughout life. Based on this novel I would have to say that Elizabeth has deservedly earned her place in literary history as `Africa's Snow-white' -- and her mother is definitely as sinister as the queen in that old fairytale. This novel is appropriately named. But this means that somehow Denise and Elizabeth meet and become friends, as how else would Denise know so much about Elizabeth's life to be able to relate the story to her son? My suspicion is that Nicholas, their mutual love-interest, somehow is responsible for them meeting. I can't wait to read about that. Believe me when I tell you that this book is the kind of novel that is very rare now days and it is tough to put down once started. I really just cannot wait for the sequel. This young author is truly gifted. I MUST know how it all ends!!! If anyone else has any insights into Jennifer's life growing up in Africa, please share."

COMMENT: Vicky is mistaken; see if you can figure out who is who.

Janet Hammerlund (Brown) Review: "Africa's Snow White: Summer Love-Jealous Winter, is a tastefully told tale of pure young love that is thwarted at every turn by time, distance, and a diabolically self-centered real-life antagonist. The story (based on real people and incidents) is full of unexpected twists which continually piqued my curiosity and rapidly drew me into the next tender (or tense) story segment. I experienced conflicting emotions as I approached the final chapters of the book. One side of me couldn't wait to see how the story would end. The other part of me didn't want to finish the book...I was enjoying reading it too much. I appreciate the author's meticulously honed prose and his graphic descriptions of a distant land. This is a difficult story to tell, but Jonathan Eloff has written it with great sensitivity. I am purchasing three more copies of this book for relatives and friends. What better recommendation can I give? This is a most promising young author. I eagerly anticipate purchasing and reading the sequel to this engrossing novel."

COMMENT: Anyway, I needed to share that Jonathan has written this book so beautifully, even although he admits it was difficult for him and that it is not his preferred genre. It is a story that needs to be told, and in a way it is a real-life example of God's justice playing out - that my mother's grandson, whom she never knew, whom she disowned along with me many years ago, should be the one to tell the story. I hope many people will be helped by reading our story and seeing how it all turned out and why it turned out favorably for my family in the end. If anyone is dealing with a malignant narcissist in their family - this is a good present for that person, but it is also a very human story - an ultimately triumphant love story (forced to endure much pain and sorrow) unfolds within a far greater love story. The front cover of the book is a painting of me at 15 (little did I know what lay ahead in the next 40 years) and ... well, no point in divulging "his" identity as that's a crucial part of the story. So my lips are sealed except to say that decades later I am still chauffeur-driven on dates in a classic embassy Mercedes limo flying a certain country's flag mounted on the front RHS fender, in a land "far far away". (wink) Yes, I know - I was a brunette at that age, but I was golden blonde as a young girl and then again later as an adult and somewhere along the line I acquired a set of emerald green contacts and ditched them again - other than that, at 53, I have changed nothing about myself, no surgery ... just Low-Carbing.