For those who missed Chris Marais’ write up on Richmond, Northern Cape as a rising SA booktown, click over to The Weekender for an enjoyable spot of mental transportation (link below).
The idea to fashion a booktown in the middle of what Richmond’s website calls, with a certain jollity, “The endless Karoo”, came from Darryl Earl David, “the youngest and only Indian lecturer of Afrikaans in SA” (as he described himself recently), of the University of KwaZulu Natal, where he did a PhD on literary tourism. (Any connection with literarytourism.co.za?)
So far Richmond has three bookshops, including David’s Book Orphanage – a fact that certainly pulls it away from the term “booktown manqué“, but probably not quite far enough in the direction of the world booktown high street to deserve the official stamp. What about Boekdorpietjie to start?
THERE’s a name for nerds like myself: BP — bookshop prowler. We’re an international club, like vampires; we recognise each other right off the bat. South African BPs tend to hunt in little packs all over the country for Africana and, now that Zim is going seismic on everybody, Rhodesiana. We’ll huddle in dark corners and whisper: “Swop you two Green’s Karoo for a Marais’s Road to the Waterberg and Other Essays.” And then nervously await the other person’s decision as he or she ponders the offer.
And then there’s a discussion around the condition of the book, its pedigree (first edition or pavement special), and are there any interesting footnotes or scribblings in the blank spaces?