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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Chris Schoeman beklemtoon dat die Karoo nie ’n godverlate, vervelige streek is nie

The Historical KarooChris Schoeman se pragboek The Historical Karoo het verlede jaar by Zebra Press verskyn. In dié boek word die Karoo deur middel van sy drie hoofroetes geskets en ingekleur deur interessante geskiedkundige gegewens. Schoeman het onlangs met Naomi Meyer gesels oor die navorsing vir sy boek, waarom so baie skrywers uit die Karoo kom en sy voorliefde vir die Karoo.

Schoeman verduidelik sy doelwit met The Historical Karoo so: “Die boek moes die boodskap oordra dat die Karoo nie ’n godverlate, vervelige streek is nie, maar wel ryk is aan geskiedenis, kultuur, tradisies en interessante en belangrike persone uit die verlede.”

Hallo Chris, baie geluk met die verskyning van die mooi The Historical Karoo. Jou meestersgraad is in geskiedenis, maar jy is ook bekend vir boeke oor sport. Wat is jou eerste liefde?

Ek het bietjie belangstelling in sport verloor met al die politiek en die verkeerde mense in gesagsposisies, en waar in plaaslike rugby die tuiste van bekers soms bepaal word deur verkeerde beslissings van skeidsregters en TMO’s. Daar is ook te veel van dieselfde ding – Super Rugby, die Championship – dis moeilik om opgewonde te raak. Maar ek moet sê ek kyk graag na die All Blacks; hulle speel ’n aanskoulike spel soos dit gespeel behoort te word – en nog altyd bedoel is om gespeel te word. As ek kon kies, sou ek eerder konsentreer op boeke oor aspekte van die geskiedenis. ’n Gebeurtenis soos die Anglo-Boereoorlog gryp mense steeds aan, meer as ’n dekade ná die 100-jarige herdenking daarvan, en daar is gedurig nuwe aspekte wat uitgelig word.

Suid-Afrika is so ‘n diverse land met baie verskillende landskappe en biosfere. Waarom het jy die Karoo as fokus vir hierdie boek gekies?

Ek ry al vir baie jare deur die Karoo en daar was nog altyd iets omtrent hierdie gebied wat my gefassineer het. Miskien is dit die geweldige ruimtes, die rustigheid, die anderse landskap, die mense van die kontrei. Daar is weer ’n herlewing van die platteland, met baie mense wat padgee uit die stede weens misdaad en al die stres van stadsmens-wees, en die Karoo is juis so ’n toevlugsoord.


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Chris Schoeman Presents The Historical Karoo

The Historical KarooNew from Zebra Press, The Historical Karoo by Chris Schoeman:

To many people, especially those driving along the N1 national road at high speeds, the Karoo represents nothing more than a monotonous, hot and arid landscape to be passed through as quickly as possible. But in this vast, open region, history is everywhere, if visitors would only look for it. And that is exactly the purpose of this book: to point out all the many places, buildings, objects and associated personalities of historical interest in the Karoo.

The Karoo has been the world of travellers, writers, statesmen and scientists, figures as diverse as Olive Schreiner, Rudyard Kipling, Winston Churchill and Dr Chris Barnard. It has also been the scene of serious conflict, of which the many old British blockhouses, forts, grave sites and memorials dating from the Anglo-Boer War are vivid reminders; and it still boasts old examples of vernacular and industrial architecture, and engineering, in the form of corbelled houses, water mills and bridges.

The Historical Karoo is ordered according to three main routes that people drive through the area. It provides short histories of the towns along the way, and points out the sites, buildings and other aspects of interest that can be found there. Enlivened by historical and current photographs and informative side panels, this book is a collector’s item.

About the author

Chris Schoeman was born in Somerset East and has master’s degrees in history from the University of Port Elizabeth and Colorado State University. He has worked as a historian and journalist, and has authored and co-authored several books. These include District Six: The Spirit of Kanala, as well as the autobiographies of Springbok legends Danie Gerber, Frik du Preez and Os du Randt. His recent books include Boer Boy: Memoirs of an Anglo-Boer War Youth, Brothers in Arms: Hollanders in the Anglo-Boer War and Angels of Mercy: Foreign Women in the Anglo-Boer War and Churchill’s South Africa.

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Literary Evening at Kalk Bay Books with Tim Butcher

Chasing the Devil: On Foot Through Africa's Killing FieldsKalk Bay Books invites you to attend a literary presentation by Tim Butcher, titled “Our Man in Cape Town – Graham Greene’s Love Affair with Africa”

Travel is key to Graham Greene’s greatness as a writer, the ability to use foreign adventures to frame timeless stories, famously in Mexico, Cuba and Indo-China that gave us The Power and the Glory, Our Man in Havana and The Quiet American.

But it was to Africa that Greene journeyed when he left Europe for the first time beginning a lifelong but overlooked passion, one that would draw him repeatedly back to Africa, culminating in a martini-fuelled frolic through the Cape as wingman to Sestigers stalwart, Etienne le Roux.

Join us for an evening of stories and readings, including many fascinating facts and details that Butcher has unearthed during his research.

Tim Butcher is a British journalist and broadcaster now based in Cape Town. He is the author of two books, Blood River (following the route of Stanley’s 1874–77 journey into the Congo), and Chasing the Devil, for which he followed the trail of Graham Greene through Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 06 November 2012
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Road
    Kalk Bay | Map
  • Refreshments: Cash bar
  • Cover charge: R80
  • RSVP: Kalk Bay Books, 021 788 2266
    KalK Bay Books website

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Random House Struik’s Top Books of 2011

Amanda van Rhyn, Deputy Manager: National Marketing at Random House Struik has compiled a list of the publishing house’s top books of 2011, chosen from across their five imprints – Struik Lifestyle, Struik Nature, Struik Travel and Heritage, Umuzi and Zebra Press. This list includes some exceptional South African titles that deserve a place under your Christmas tree:

ByleveldVictorSasol Birds of Southern Africa IVSavourSpringbok Kitchen

The Springboks and the Holy GrailDie verste uurBeen There, Done ThatThe Loss LibraryVictorByleveld

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Tim Butcher Explores the “Untypically African” Country of Lesotho

Chasing the DevilTim Butcher, author of Chasing the Devil, spent a week exploring Lesotho. Butcher says if you took away the warmth of the sun and the 600-foot waterfall, you could just as easily have been on Rannoch Moor in Argyll:

The track left fields that had been regimented by South African farmers and switchbacked its way skywards up the Drakensberg escarpment to the very different, wilder country of Lesotho. Up here there was no big game, no dry savannah nor tropical forest, but the biggest skies you will ever see and a giddying sense of standing on the roof of the continent.

I spent a week exploring this fascinatingly untypical African country, hiking across its vast sprung-mattress tundra of grasslands framed by rocky outcrops and studded only occasionally by the rondavel dwellings of Basotho people. Take away the warmth of the African sun and I could have been on Rannoch Moor in Argyll.

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Podcast: Tim Butcher Answers Questions About Blood River

Blood RiverChasing the DevilWhen Tim Butcher became the Daily Telegraph‘s correspondent for South Africa, he decided to go on a journey following the Congo River, just like Henry Stanley did when he was correspondent for the same newspaper in 1876.

In a BBC Radio 4 podcast, a group of readers ask Butcher about the travel book based on his Congo experience, titled Blood River:


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Interview with Tim Butcher, Devil-Chaser

Chasing the DevilTim ButcherThe author speaks about the origins of his latest book, set in Liberia and Sierrra Leone, Chasing the Devil:

Butcher, a former war correspondent, is no stranger to epic journeys. His first book, Blood River, was a British bestseller about his attempt to travel down the Congo river.

He spoke about his new book.

Q: What was the motivation behind the current book?

A: Fear and frustration motivate the journey described in Chasing the Devil. I wanted to know more about Sierra Leone and Liberia, countries that rarely feature on the radar of world attention. And I was frustrated that while covering them as a journalist during their civil wars I had never been able to get more than a part picture.

It left me feeling as if I had a stone in my shoe, a niggle I wanted to deal with once and for all.

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Tim Butcher at the Magwood & Twigg Book Salon at Museum of Military History

Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa's Fighting SpiritMichele Magwood’s Magwood & Twigg Book Salon kicks of 2011 with a chat with Chasing the Devil author Tim Butcher.

The book tracks Butcher’s journey across Sierra Leone and Liberia – a 350 mile trek that follows a trail blazed by Graham Greene in 1935 and immortalised in the travel classic Journey Without Maps.

Don’t miss this adventurer-author in conversation with interviewer extraordinaire Michele Magwood. Booking essential!

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An Ahound the World Turkish Delight: Oscar’s Visit to Istanbul


Ahound the WorldToday we share a highlight from Oscar’s “world woof tour” with his owner Joanna Lefson, who has now published a book on the adventure, Ahound the World: My Travels with Oscar. The pair stopped off in Istanbul to help spread awareness about rescuing abandoned dogs from animal shelters. The highlight is reported in Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, and documents Oscar’s warm reception by Yedikule Animal Shelter in Istanbul:

Speaking to Today’s Zaman during the second stop of his journey in İstanbul, Oscar the dog said his main purpose was to better explain to humans what it means to be a dog. Oscar says he is also seeking to raise awareness about animal rights. Most importantly however, he is calling on humans to adopt “noble-souled dogs” from shelters instead of buying them from puppy mills or pet stores. His new mom, Joanne Lefson, is also helping Oscar in his cause to draw attention to canine suffering in shelters around the world. Lefson explains, “He wants his caged friends, who number around 475 million all over the world, to be free and stop suffering.” According to Lefson, even though Oscar comes from an ordinary quadruped family, he has a noble soul and heart; which is why he took on the mission to help dogs worldwide.

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Image courtesy Ezquara

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Q&A: Tymon Smith Chats to Chasing the Devil Author Tim Butcher

Donald Paul & Tim Butcher

Chasing the DevilThe Sunday Times books editor wants to know what went into the making of Chasing the Devil:

How did this idea of following Graham Greene’s journey through Sierra Leone and Liberia come about?
I had a troubled relationship with Sierra Leone and Liberia because I went there as a journalist from here (South Africa) covering it from 2001 to 2003, lost a couple of friends there and had a death threat put on me by Charles Taylor in 2003.
There isn’t a tradition of Liberian authors or Sierra Leone authors but weirdly there’s Graham Greene, this great literary figure who goes there when he is 30. He has great success with his first novel, but four books in he’s literally struggling to put food on the table and he has a young child so what does he do? He goes and gets a commission for nonfiction, and that’s helpful because you get guaranteed money upfront.
Back in the 1930s it was quite a cool thing to do. Evelyn Waugh was doing it here in Africa, Peter Fleming was doing it elsewhere, and others were doing it in the Middle East. He goes with a woman, like any man there’s a woman behind you, but in Greene’s case there’s a woman astride, a woman behind, a woman in every corner. He was an amazing bloke; he could barely keep his trousers on. So in 1935 he takes this woman with him, his cousin Barbara, and they both write books so I get two books – Journey without Maps and Land Benighted. They give me the fix point.

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