A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

literature
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

A LITERARY GUIDE TO THE EASTERN CAPE (article first published : 2003-11-10)

Jeanette Eve’s fascinating A Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape is an impressive 402 page soft-cover book that spans a few centuries, deals with over 100 sites and allows readers to “visit” works of 80 well-known Eastern Cape writers and poets as well as the landscape that inspired them.

The Eastern Cape holds a special place in my heart as Grahamstown represents the annual National Arts Festival, a time when I am able to recharge my creative batteries and remind myself that there STILL IS a theatre-supportive audience out there! The other reason is the warmth, love and hospitality of my husband’s aunt and her family who have cared for me during the hectic festival schedule for over 15 years.

Beautifully presented, A Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape has a sepia feel which gives it a kind of old-worldliness and Basil Mills’ photographs and engaging pencil drawings are well-chosen in Sarah-Anne Raynham’s design and page layout.

Subtitled Places and the Voices of Writers, it’s armchair travel for literature lovers where they embark on a journey from The Garden Route, the Langkloof and the Gamtoos Valley through to the Transkei. As they pass through, they take in The Nelson Mandela Metropole (mainly Port Elizabeth) and names such as one of its most famous sons, Athol Fugard. Then it’s on to Sardinia Bay and Lovemore Park where Marguerite Poland grew up. New Brighton is viewed through the eyes of contemporary writers Jimmy Matyu, Mzi Mahola and Mxolisi Nyezwa.

The Sundays River Valley is associated with Sir Percy Fitzpatrick while Grahamstown is hailed as A City of Writers. This acknowledgement has much to do with Guy Butler, the respected custodian of the English language in South Africa who played a leading role in the creation of the 1820 Settlers Monument, the National Arts Festival and the Shakespeare Society. Grahamstown is also the home ground of Don Maclennan, Christopher Mann and Dan Wylie. The move to Salem introduces names such as Jeremiah Goldswain, James Butler and Robert Greig.

Artist Walter Battiss grew up in Somerset East and the book features one of his poems. Nieu Bethesda is, of course, synonymous with Helen Martins and her Owl House, evoked in a poem by C J Driver. Cradock and its vicinity has been proclaimed “Olive Schreiner country” and a major portion of the book is dedicated to her.

A chapter titled Three Stormberg Writers deals with William Plomer, Johannes Meintjes and Farida Karodia. The Winterberg section discusses Thomas Pringle and Ntsikana, the first traditional Xhosa poet to have a composition translated into English. The town of Alice and Lovedale reminds us of poets such as John Bokwe, James Jolobe, Basil Somhlahlo and Helen Jabavu. East of the Winterberg brings Mark Swift and Andre Brink into the journey as well as Samuel Edward and Krune Mqhayi while East London has produced Zakes Mda

Jeanette Eve worked on the book for over ten years and travelled some 8,000 kms. She has produced easily accessible connections between the literary descriptions and the real world. This means that the book offers a wide appeal so even if literature is not your forte, the “travelogue” part of the guide will present much that is of interest. This interest can then be awakened further by reading what respected people of words say about a particular area, place or town.

A Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape is published by Double Storey and is available at leading bookstores at R275. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart