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Farewell and Totsiens Boekehuis: The Final Newsletter


Despite the massive online petitioning and rallying of the book community, the Naspers-owned bookstore Boekehuis closes shop today. The Johannesburg bookstore, voted in 2006 by the Independent Booksellers Federation as one of 50 unique bookshops in the world, was what Percy Zvomuya called a “lekgotla for the city’s intellectuals”.

While the huge response to the petition led some to argue for Naspers’ “duty” to keep the bookstore afloat, many agreed that the outpouring of support arrived a little too late to save the store. Boekehuis sent out its final newsletter today:

* * * * * * * *

Dear Friends of BOEKEHUIS,

We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your loyal support and kindness during the 12 years of the wonderful project of BOEKEHUIS.

It has meant a great deal to us, as have your attempts to prolong the life of the shop. Today is our last day.

For future projects From 1 February 2012 Corina van der Spoel can be contacted at her new email address:

~ ~ ~

Beste Vriende van BOEKEHUIS

Ons hier by BOEKEHUIS wil almal hartlik bedank vir u jarelange ondersteuning en vir die warmte en liefde wat ons van u ervaar het. Dit was 12 wonderlike Boekehuis-jare.

Dit het soveel vir ons beteken, en veral ook die ongelooflike reaksie en pogings om die lewe van die boekwinkel te verleng. Vandag is ons laaste dag.

~ ~ ~

With warm wishes / Met beste wense

Corina van der Spoel
Bettie Parsons
Leandri Snyman
Eunice Makume
Vivienne Modirwa

* * * * * * * *

Boekehuis Team and Corina van der Spoel

One need not see the Boekehuis’ closing necessarily as an indictment of the book reading culture in South Africa. With independent bookstores like The Book Lounge and Kalk Bay Books hosting packed out events and the growing presence of sites dedicated to local literature, there are good signs that South Africa’s reading public is growing, not shrinking.

Today, book lovers said their goodbyes on Twitter:

Boekehuis. A iconic book shop stands empty..on its last day. A sad day for book lovers Jan 31 09:28:29 via Camera on iOS

Laatste mail befaamde Boekehuis in JHB, nu terziele: Ons wil almal hartlik bedank vir u jarelange ondersteuning. Dit was 12 wonderlike jareTue Jan 31 11:38:51 via web

RIP Boekehuis. Your author talks, awesome sales and divine quiche will be missedTue Jan 31 11:01:36 via Echofon

Today sees the closing of Boekehuis in Melville. Good bye and thank you for coming!Tue Jan 31 10:41:00 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Got a farewell email from @Boekehuis. Feel devastated. Could cry. What a loss to SA writing. Thanks Corinna and co. Will stay on in memoriesTue Jan 31 10:13:17 via UberSocial for BlackBerry

It’s always sad to see a bookshop close. We were sorry to heart about The Boekehuis Jan 29 07:00:37 via HootSuite

Read the interview with Carina van der Spoel of Boekehuis – about its closure – with Gillian Godsell, on our… Jan 29 06:32:36 via Facebook

The end of an era. Tomorrow Melville’s indie book store, film and theatre hub for jozi massive, AKA BOEKEHUIS shuts doors for good. *sigh*Fri Jan 27 10:44:01 via web

Photo courtesy Maroela


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