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Madibaland World Literary Festival: Chris Marais & Julienne du Toit

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Production Notes (Foreword)

Karoo Roads is a whisper from the past, a drink at a backyard bar in the middle of nowhere, an adventure with an ostrich, a night under the stars, a song in a village church hall, a round of golf with a Rastaman, a ghost in the fireplace, a battle with a blizzard and a walk in the veld with a wise old jackal hunter.

It is also a collection of some of our favourite Karoo stories, gathered over 20 years of rambling on dirt roads and forgotten highways, in snow and sunshine, on days that were good and bad but always memorable.

Many of the characters in them, like Matjiesfontein’s David Rawdon, Outa Lappies of Prince Albert, Group Captain ‘Dutch’ Hugo of Pampoenpoort, Alfie Wewege of Port Nolloth and a slew of old-time steam train drivers from De Aar, have since passed on. But, in these pages, they live and breathe.

Thus, a word of warning: do not use Karoo Roads as a travel guide. Rather let it inspire you to explore the interior of this country, with all its contradictions, ironies, laughter, tears and heart-stopping sunsets.

Light the fire, pour the drink, sink into your favourite chair and join us on a series of adventures and discoveries. As always, your seat in the Karoo Spacebakkie awaits.

Back Page Text:

Faces, Places and Incredible Spaces

Come out and visit the world’s friendliest arid land, the Karoo. Discover the stories and legends that lie beneath.

The steam train drivers and their stokers who came to roost in De Aar; ten cement dancers in a veld-frenzy on a farm outside Loxton; the Rasta golfers of Calvinia; an offbeat night in Aberdeen; the rockers of Barrydale; a freak springtime snow blizzard in Richmond; the deep-sea cowboys of Port Nolloth; the mountain cowgirls of Graaff-Reinet; how the Gariep Dam was built; the midnight ghosts who walk the veld and the windpumps that bring the water – these are some of the hinterland stories of South Africa.

Karoo Roads is a collector’s treasure box of trips and tales gathered from more than a decade of research and rubber-on-the-road experiences, penned and photographed by two award-winning travel writers, Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit, who will introduce you to some of the loveliest, toughest, most creative and downright crazy characters, critters and cultures thriving in the Dry Country.