The Mazeppa, owned by John Owen Smith, was based in Algoa Bay from 1837 to 1848, when she moved to Port Louis, Mauritius. In 1858, she was “sold abroad”. In those 20 years she sailed all along the Southern African coast and across the Atlantic and Indian oceans and gave her name to Mazeppa Bay. She seems to have been built as a slaver in the U.S.A. in about 1830 and one of her mysteries is whether or not she continued in that trade in the African and Mauritian periods of her life.
Bayworld will be hosting a lecture on the SV Mazeppa at 17h30 on 20 January titled “SAILING THROUGH THE PAST: MYSTERY IN HISTORY” presented by Tony Voss. Tony retired from the service of the University of Natal in 1995, after a career of teaching in the English departments of South African universities, including the Port Elizabeth branch of Rhodes. He maintains research interests in Shakespeare, South African literature and Mazeppa. He now lives in Sydney. He is also a research associate at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Mazeppa Bay in the Transkei derives its name from the ship, the Mazeppa. The ship was captained by a CJ Cato, on its way to Delagoa Bay from Port Natal in search of a British man-of war to rescue the Garrison, which had been besieged by the Boers. The captain steered the ship into what is now known as Mazeppa Bay for shelter and ran aground. Legend has it that its ruins are buried under the sand dunes at Mazeppa Bay.
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