Huberta's Journey

by Cecily van Straten (Tafelberg) ISBN 978-0-62-4-05502-0

 

This is a fictionalised account of the story of Huberta the hippopotamus, one of the most famous animals in South African history.

 

Huberta left her waterhole in the St. Lucia Estuary in Natal in 1928. She set off on the 1600 km journey to the Eastern Cape - a journey which would take three years. In that time Huberta became a minor celebrity and attracted crowds. There was an attempt made to capture her and put her in the Johannesburg Zoo. After this she headed south to Durban where she visited the Durban Country Club and caused dinner guests excitement enough for them to follow her to the beach. She reached East London in March 1931.

 

Along her travels people thought she was smiling at them. She would rest her head on her front legs like a dog. In spite of the fact that she was declared Royal Game, which means she was protected, she was shot by hunters. After a public outcry, the hunters were arrested. Huberta’s body was recovered and sent to a taxidermist in London. Upon her return to South Africa she was greeted by 20,000 people and can now be seen in the Amathola Museum in Kingwilliamstown.

 

This is a brilliant abridged version of the original. I highly recommend this outstandingly simple and true story

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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Grape - From Slavery to BEE

Stories of the Vineyards in South Africa. By Jeanne Viall, Wilmot James & Jakes Gerwel (Tafelberg) ISBN 978-0-624-04938-8

 

What helps grapes to grow? The Cape Doctor. Why do grapes grow in a selected area? What is the difference between table grapes and wine grapes? All your questions are answered in this wonderful book about making wine.

 

You learn about the people who harvest the wine and have done so for centuries. You find out about the labour, land and housing issues. There are short stories and love stories about people who have been in the area that are amazing.  There are stories about the origin of pinotage, where the term "stokkiesdraai" comes from, and how the first canal was dug in Upington, also a big wine growing area.

 

Does the 'dop' system still exist?  What is going to happen to the vineyards when climate change occurs?  Read on.

 

You will find the journey through the vineyards fascinating. You end with the music of the wine people, the dancing, the singing, the partying till dawn. Despite quality wine-making today, most wine farmers struggle to make a profit. 

 

This story is about the resilient diverse people whose lives have revolved around the vineyards. It is a worthwhile read that you can learn from.

 

Dee Andrew

3/5

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