375pp., illus., maps, paperback, Johannesburg, (2004) 2014
A reprint of Hazel Crampton's retelling of the story of Bessie, a seven-year-old English girl who survived a shipwreck near Lambasi Bay on South Africa's Wild Coast in the late 1730s. She was found and raised by the local people as one of their own and later married one of the most important tribal chiefs in the area. Her dynasty extends to many of today's Xhosa royal families. Hazel Crampton used oral histories and written accounts by early missionaries and traders who met Bessie's grandchildren to trace the story of Bessie and her descendants throughout the turbulent history of the Eastern Cape until the present day.
"The Sunburnt Queen is an extremely valuable adjunct to our understanding of South African history, particularly in its presentation of the oral traditions and viewpoints of the Xhosa nation, and in detailing the courage, hardships and vicissitudes of pioneers and castaways alike." Michael Hurry, The Sunday Independent
Hazel Crampton is also the author of The Side of the Sun at Noon, a quest and co-editor of Into the Hitherto Unknown: Ensign Beutler's expedition to the Eastern Cape, 1752. She currently teaches in the Masters in Creative Writing programme at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.