Sir James Sivewright KCMG
1848 - 1916
Telegraph and Railway Pioneer in South Africa
Cape Colony Politician and member of Cecil Rhodes' Cabinet
James Sivewright was born in Fochabers, educated at Milne's Institution and graduated from the University of Aberdeen at the age of 18 with an MA degree. In 1869 he passed first in the competitive examination for the Telegraphic department of India and in 1870 entered the British Postal Service. With Sir William Preece, he was the co-author of the Textbook in Telegraphy which for many years was the standard text book on the subject. In 1877 he went to the Cape Colony in South Africa where he eventually became involved in the activities of Cecil John Rhodes who was responsible for the founding of Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. Rhodes' dream was to claim as much as possible of Africa for the British Crown and to build a railway line stretching from the Cape to Cairo. James Sivewright with his very special expertise was just the right man to help him in his many pioneering business undertakings.
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