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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

TREKKING TO IOL (article first published : 2000-09-19)

Soon anyone in the world can go to teema.iol.co.za and find an original story to share over 32 weeks. Trekking To Teema was written by Pieter-Dirk Uys in Cape Town during the years of tension and uncertainty between Nelson Mandela's freedom and the first South African democratic election.

The story is based on his own experiences when he left South Africa in his early twenties to study overseas. “I was shocked to discover what the world thought of us white South Africans,” he says. “We were the neo-nazis. I changed my African fur to match their European scales. I became one of them, committed myself to remaining in England. Then someone from Cape Town sent me a tape of Mimi Coertse singing Boereplaas and I came home.”

Trekking to Teema is the story of David Clayton, once Dawid de Lange who comes home and tries to find the one person who he remembers more than his parents or even his sister. A black woman whom was his mother when his mother was “too busy being white and worried.”

By early 1994, the book was finished but was rejected by publishers who would either not commit themselves to publishing such a “big story” or believed it to be “irrelevant white angst”.

The reality of publishing costs was a major issue but then Pieter-Dirk discovered that his good friend Jeremy Dowson from Independent OnLine (IOL) had “ventured into cyberspace” and almost before he knew it, Trekking to Teema was headed for the worldwide web.

IOL will give out two pages a day of a story that could take six months to consummate. “The ultimate democracy,” says Pieter-Dirk jubilantly. “Free to choose and free to read, and then come back for more with some rands in the hands! That's show business.” Keep checking teema.iol.co.za for the first pages!




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