Monday 17 October 2011

My introduction to Africa - my review of "Dancing in the Shadows of Love"

The red dusty road
 When I first went to Southern Africa in the late 1970s I was so uneducated and naive about life out there ... my geography was quite good, I had my stamp album! – for places, structures, flora and fauna, I knew there were different coloured peoples, but I had no concept of apartheid, the way of life or the tribal aspects.

My father’s brother had married a South African and my mother’s brother had left England to farm in Rhodesia, as it was then.  The family weren’t desperately polite about the peoples and my farming uncle wasn’t terribly successful – it wasn’t the right area, and probably luck was against him – ultimately it was – he was killed on his farm.

Sugar Bird on Protea
And in those days I didn’t ask or delve ... when the time came I went to see some friends in Zimbabwe and a newly married girlfriend in Johannesburg, as well as the two ‘relative’ families.

Oh yes – in my late teens I’d met a South African lady at a course we were both on in London  and I was bemused (shocked) when she said she had clean sheets every day (servants to me were ‘unknown’)...  so when I went out it was with eyes wide open, with a brain completely devoid of anything helpful!

Buffalo Thorn
We, as a family, weren’t terribly social and my airs and graces were pretty simple ... I was easily overawed – getting to southern Africa was like hitting a time-warp ... there were the old colonial ways, the new modern influences, the stick-in-the muds, the mix of nationalities and all that brings ... the racist slurs (which I didn’t understand properly – more importantly couldn’t) and the new continent with its red earth.

I’ve added in this background as Judy’s book “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” took me right back to those early days ... including the albino character.  My mother-in-law’s maid, who needed extra work, came to work for me – not a comfortable situation ... but if I didn’t employ her, there would be less money going back into the family in the township.  To top it off ... Mary had a daughter, who was an Albino – so I certainly felt for them.
When I started reading Judy’s book I had extraordinary reminiscences of those days ... my complete inability in working out what was going on around me – oh yes I fitted in ... but so much was so different to any experience I’d had, yet it was old England.  I was artless – it’s a feeling I still conjure up today.

Judy had sent me a copy of her book through Smashwords, and not owning an eReader, I had my first experience of reading a book on my computer – this I found very easy on the eye.  I was completely swept up into the euphoria of the sights and smells of Africa, the beautiful, yet harsh landscape ... the land that one does not forget.

Cabriole leg –
walnut antique
Victorian 1893
So first things first – Judy on 20 June posts about “Reading eBooks without an eReader” –  that solves the ‘I haven’t got an eReader’ problem ... though her book is now available in print.

I love the cover of “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” by Martin Wenkidu; this painting by Martin, who is a deeply spiritual man, is entitled “Man and the World of Stars” – the story and influence so aptly applied here – are fully explained through an edited transcript – which Judy posted on 7 April.

Before I get to the review itself ... on 25 May ... Judy posts “A Muse of Fire: theinspiration behind Dancing in the Shadows of Love” ... where she sets out how and why her book came about.

A kraal 
Last and by no means least – here’s an example of a book that’s been set out to give us an understanding of Africa its myths and symbolisms, the poverty, the racial divide, colonialism, the modernising of the relics of the old ways, yet why the core of each culture is so important to the continuance of life and belief in such life.

It’s a fascinating expose of southern Africa, while drawing on a strong knowledge base of the English language, bringing in Jewish aspects, the indigenous norms, some dialects – the feel of this melting pot that is Africa.

A quiver tree
There are some reviews out there of this wonderfully powerful book ... and so my review takes a slightly different approach – you have my own backdrop to my initiation into Africa - the timeframe of the vestiges of colonial life from the early 1900s to recent times – so many changes, yet Africa remains to draw us into its red dirt, to catch us with its thorns, to woo us with its charms, to teach us to look at the earth and life together – to learn from the wisdom of the indigenous people, who will permeate their thoughts into our souls for the continuance of good.

White Rose
I have posted some photos around the text – to bring to life some words that can be helped with a visual jogger for those who don’t know Africa.  This is a book that you will enjoy, you will learn so much from, a text that will draw you back ... Judy is giving us additional background information in recent posts ... for example: “Shakespeare in the Shadows” of 29 August.

She has given us more than just a book ... more than just a novel – it will open your mind to so many things.   It is a book to be read twice, or thrice ... to refer back to the glossary, to mull over ... as her preface quote by Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Mystic, 1926 – 2011) says:

 “There is only one language, the language of the Heart.
There is only one religion, the religion of Love.”

I highly recommend this book and encourage you all to read it ... Another of Judy's posts:  Can you sever Love from Charity?

The photos I have used don’t refer to this post – but will be found in the book, which I hope will help you visualise the descriptive passages.

Dear Mr Postman – my mother would be amused to know that I’ve written my first book review, bringing in my memories of my early days in southern Africa.  This is now being posted on her 91st birthday ...

... she was awake and all three of us managed to visit – one of my brothers opened the cards and shared the news with her ... and then I went through them again later on.  She cannot eat or drink ... so information, cards and flowers are the things that give her pleasure – and most importantly the companionship.

Congratulations to the winners of Judy's book -  following on the interview with her that I posted on 29 September:
     Patricia of Patricia's Wisdom
     Karen Jones Gowen - Coming Down the Mountain 
     Rubye Jack - Blue Skies Sunny Days 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Old Kitty said...

What a most amazing experience! Thank you for sharing here - I think you should definitely get these memories down in a memoir - absolutely fascinating - and you were there at a most dynamic time too - Southern Africa, late 1970's.

Last year, I downloaded the free kindle software on my pc and I've since abandoned it - it truly is not for me! LOL!

Take care

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I've got to get my copy of Judy's book. It's on my list.

Great review, Hilary. It makes me want to read the book and visit S. Africa.

Hugs to your momma on her birthday.

Joanne said...

How wonderful to relate your own experiences to the book, and having that connection with it. Books are always all the more special when we see something of ourselves in them, don't you think?

And wishing your mother the very best on her birthday :)

Betsy Wuebker said...

I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for details of your own South Africa experience and I wasn't disappointed. That you coupled this glimpse with a review of what looks to be a fascinating book was even more of a treat.

Happy Birthday to your mother! :)

Mike Goad said...

Not by normal fare of reading, but with a 99 cent price, I'll add it to my stack of e-books on my Kindle.

I've only known one person who went to South Africa, a fellow I worked with 30 years ago -- and he went there in violation of U.S. law. Back then, South Africa was one of a number of countries where operators of American nuclear plants were prohibited from traveling to or working. I think it was because the government hadn't signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty AND it was believed they had a program for developing nuclear weapons. The fellow I knew was only there a couple of years in the early 80s and I only saw him once after that. I don't remember anything of what he had to say about living there.

Betsy Brock said... wonderful that got to experience such an interesting country. We have friends who live's lovely!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Old Kitty ... thank you and I'm really honoured by your comments. Yes - it was dynamic .. and perhaps now I have a better perspective -

I bought Judy's book for me and for two friends ... as I'd enjoyed it so much - but though I found the eReader on the pc 'easy' .. I didn't want to skip read - I wanted to savour those feelings that the book engendered in me. So I'd use Smashwords for a light novel - but never for something serious.

@ Teresa - Judy will be delighted to read that .. and I'm delighted you 'approved' of my first book review! and then you would like to visit South Africa too ..

Thanks re my Mama - she was happy and that's the main thing ..

@ Joanne - Judy's book just brought so much back to me .. and you're so right I did see some aspects of my life in those times ..

Also my Mama will be very happy to hear from you for her birthday.

@ Betsy .. thanks so much - it's difficult to relate my life there as it was really mundane in many ways .. but blogging draws my mind .. and Judy's book opened my heart.

Thanks to re my Mama .. she was 'quite' with it yesterday which was wonderful to see.

@ Mike - it's an interesting read and we'd (Judy too!) both love to hear your thoughts ..

The influence of the Americans was greater than Britain .. because so much was banned - and we used a lot of American consultants. Barclays Bank was banned and became First National .. and the Cape nuclear facility was developing. Again I can't remember much .. the BBC was banned etc etc .. so news was limited - no internet. Pity you've lost contact with your colleague .. but that's life isn't it.

@ Betsy - I was lucky to have the chance to live abroad and experience another way of life .. it opens one's mind. I hope you get a chance to see your friends sometime ..

Thanks so much Old Kitty, Teresa, Joanne, Betsy, Mike and Betsy for your lovely comments and the birthday wishes for my mother .. they bring us both cheer .. Hilary

Diane said...

Great post and memories of course for me.
You may be interested in which an old school friend of mine recently wrote. Diane

Diane said...

Just realised more info at

Retired Knitter said...

Very interesting review. I have never been to Africa, but I am always curious about places I have never been and probably won't ever go to. I will seek out this book. Thanks for the recommendation.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - thanks for your two comments .. the summary for Wendy's book on her blog - looks like it gives a very interesting take on life in Zimbabwe .. while her art work is amazing. She doesn't blog as such and I don't do FB - but have definitely noted her book for the future ..

@ Retired Knitter .. glad the review is enticing you to buy Judy's book and read a little more of Africa.

Great to see you both here - thanks - Diane and Retired Knitter .. Hilary

Southpaw said...

I really enjoy when you bring in your own experiences. It is so vivid. What an odd experience that must have been to go through.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Hilary, what a fabulous review. Thanks again for all the support with my book - I do appreciate it. This was a lovely, different way to do a review! Some of your pics are exactly what I envisioned when I wrote the story. :)

Sjoe! What can I say about my beloved country? As a visitor one can enjoy the privileges (without feeling the weight of the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with those privileges) but, even as its heart beats into your blood and, once there, never truly leaves, a full understanding of the complexities of this remarkable land remain elusive.

From the warlike Zulu kings' expansion and decimation of the indigenous San tribes to the concentration camps, started by the British Army under Lord Kitchner during the AngloBoer war as part of his infamous "Scorched Earth" policy to defeat the Afrikaaner Boers who were fighting for their right to free rule (thank heavens for pro-Boer heroines like your relative Emily Hobhouse!) to the years of apartheid and now the dangers of the ANC led government's love affair with money & China leading to the dreadful treatment of the great Dalai Lama (thank heavens for Archbishop Tutu who has always put humanity over politics!), this country is impossible to define...but it is a country that is very easy to love because it is so big and bold and brave.

Viva, South Africa, Viva!!

Your readers might like to read my article South Africa’s Wounded Name.

Hilary, once again, thanks so much for your support. It's been marvellous!

Sending your Mum a great big birthday hug - so glad you were all together. 91 is an incredible age!

Judy, South Africa

Sara said...

Your memories of South Africa are very powerful. Sometimes I think we learn the most when we are unprepared--perhaps it opens our minds to the experience in ways we don't know.

It is hard to visit a country so different than our own. I remember visiting Mexico in the 1970s and how shocked I was by the poverty in Mexico. It probably wasn't bad by global terms, but for me it was appalling.

This book sounds interesting and I bet it brought back a lot of memories for you. I will look for it. I have to find it in print because I can't read books online.

Thanks for sharing this review:~)

nutschell said...

I've heard a lot of stories about South Africa being a dangerous place to live in as well. I'm sorry to hear your uncle got killed there. :(
Great post, though, as usual. I'm definitely curious about this book.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - many thanks .. it's quite difficult to write succinctly enough to get the essence over - very appreciative of your comment.

@ Sara - I think blogging has helped open my mind .. I would not have expressed things this way a few years ago - I would not know where to start!

Yes - the poverty is terrible and the disabilities really upset me .. I think the worst is poverty in a rich country = it is so much worse some how - the poverty stricken know there's more to life but cannot get access to it.

Judy's book is great - it is in print .. I bought my two from Amazon America.

Wonderful to see you here .. and your Mexico experience must have been similar in some ways ..

@ Nutschell - sadly it's still dangerous out there .. but 1976 was the terrorists in Zimbabwe ..

I hope you get a chance to read Judy's book - well worth it ..

Thanks so much .. Holly, Sara and Nutschell .. lovely comments - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. had to answer your comment separately .. delighted you approve of my approach to the review.

Love your phrases ... Sjoe! and Eish! (was it?!) What can we say - I've succumbed to its lands .. will it ever unfold all its wonders and creation ..

So much has happened which you so clearly set out - the issue I would take is that ...

Back then 1900s .. it was the operative way to war: guerilla warfare was common against military might .. and the accepted practice of dealing with guerillas was to remove their support mechanisms .. and the women, children, some servants, some men were 'gathered together into camps' - they weren't concentration camps .. that terminology got added after Nazi Germany, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini used the excuse of camps to concentrate and kill people, or keeping them in extreme circumstances.

(whether war was right in the first place is another matter!) ..

- as with all things it's not quite as it seems. The lands, houses etc were burnt down, the women and children were safe ... some camps were bad some well administered .... however as with all things military - you had to plan a fortnight in advance for administrative rations ... so if you had 500 in camp then, but another 500 turned up in the fortnight - where was the food to come from?

The railways were single track and the military came first over civilian requirements ... there was no fuel, no soap, no fats ... Emily went out to fight the Boer women's cause and is revered by them - hence the memorial in Bloemfontein .. she was improving their lot and things did improve after her visit ..

Interesting you mention China - I've been wanting to do a post on that country for a while ..

Definitely viva South Africa ..

And I love your comment thanks so much .. Scorched earth applied to the Romans too .. and other warriors all through history ..

Cheers for now - my mother will be delighted to hear from you as will JJ our Indian nurse - who was totally drawn in to the prize you sent me over back in early June ..

Thanks - 91 is a good age isn't it .. Cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

First of all, congrats to the winner! I loved the post, Hilary. I have to admit that I'm horrible when it comes to certain cultures--African culture being one of them. When I moved to Mexico, it was a real eye-opener. So much about the culture and religious influence (the Catholic church's power over the populace) was new to me. Even though I live in a modern city, many older beliefs and superstitions still reign. Thank for this enlightening post into Africa.

Lydia Kang said...

Congrats to the winners! Wonderful post and such vibrant pictures. :)

MorningAJ said...

The only bit of Africa I've visited is at the opposite end (Med coast) I can't imagine being somewhere so different.
Interesting post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clarissa .. the 4 winners - Judy's been generous with her prizes.

I'd be lost if I had to go to Mexico or a South American country .. and am not sure what I'd do in many countries of the world. That whole influence thing .. the Chinese are now not influencing they're just taking or moving in ...

Judy has a wonderful way of describing her homeland in her book - it's full of details and nuances .. including those older beliefs and superstitions .. Glad you enjoyed the post ..

@ Lydia - thank you .. I sure hope they enjoy their book .. and the photos do 'advertise' some of the aspects of the book .. when you can see somethings, then reading becomes easier somehow ..

Thanks Clarissa and Lydia .. great to see you - cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

What a fascinating post, with such vivid glimpses into an Africa of the past. Thank you, I really enjoyed reading this.

Aubrie said...

I've never been to Africa, but I always watch those National Geographic shows on it. I think I'd really like this book.

Thank you for sharing!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I was so excited to get Judy's book in the mail last week. You are so right, the cover is truly beautiful, especially seen up close. This was such an interesting review, from your particular perspective especially. South Africa several decades ago must have been much different than now. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Hilary!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

And may I echo Old Kitty's suggestion that you get this down in a memoir. I think it would be absolutely fascinating.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Happy Birthday to your mum!

One of my cousins worked in South Africa about 10 years ago, and commented on the beauty. I've also read Kathi Macias' book, "No Greater Love," which is a novel set in South Africa. I highly recommend it.

Your friend's book sounds interesting. I'm glad it brought back such good memories for you.

Susan :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - so pleased you enjoyed the read.

@ Aubrie - I hope you get the book and have a happy read about the wonderful place that is Africa.

@ Karen - excellent you've received your book .. the cover is beautiful isn't it ..

I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Judy's book, her links (appropriate to the book) and whether my review assisted in the overview of the book.

Thanks Karen .. yes I really appreciate everyone's thoughts re Memoirs or similar .. it's in my mind - but just not straightforward .. a very mixed bag ..

@ Susan .. thank you - Mum seemed to enjoy her day and hearing from friends and relatives

It is very beautiful .. and Kathi Macias' book sounds fascinating .. is there time to read?! One day I will I'm sure .. thanks for telling me about it ...

Judy's book is fascinating ..

Thanks so much Juliet, Aubrie, KarenG and Susan .. really appreciate your comments .. cheers Hilary

PS: The daughter of a friend of my mother's (Lia used to work at my mother's Care Home) - sent us some South African proteas (like the sunbird is sitting on in the picture in the post) with some fynbos - which is the natural flora found in the Cape floral kingdom ... it's great to see Africa in my mother's room .. and know I posted about it here ... at the time of her birthday.

Cheers to everyone - Hilary

jabblog said...

You have certainly lived life to the full, Hilary:-) I like novels that educate and entertain, that open the eyes and mind to other possibilities.
I'm glad your mother enjoyed the company of her children on her birthday. That's more important than gifts or cards.

Arlee Bird said...

I was happy to see your reference to stamp collecting. Sadly it's a hobby that is not popular like it was when I was a kid. I learned a great deal about the world through collecting stamps.

I don't know all that much about Africa, but it is a fascinating continent. I'm sure I'll never get any closer than reading books and watching documentaries about it.

Tossing It Out
Please see my guest post at:
So You Want to be a Writer?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janice .. I think because of the blogging I can draw out memories and relate them more easily .. I'm lucky I enjoy blog posting - teaching, educating and entertaining myself at the same time -

- that stimulation has served me well over the years with my mother - it gave us plenty to talk about .. and yes she did get to see us all - at some stage during her birthday .. and she did enjoy her cards and flowers .. so all in all seeing my brothers would have done her the power of good.

@ Lee - thanks for coming by and commenting .. I know we don't seem to collect stamps now .. I was really hooked for a few years .. and I learnt so much, as you say - we can glean lots of different facts from the stamps.

There's a blogger here in the UK who regularly blogs about stamps - fascinating to see the sorts of stamps I used to collect or rather put into stamp albums ..

At least you get to see a little more of Africa via bloggers' eyes .. and a feel of life there.

Good luck with all your projects - that post is waiting for me to read ..

Cheers Janice and Lee - thank you so much for commenting .. Hilary

Ann said...

It is wonderful when you relive your experiences in a book. Sounds like an interesting read. Great review Hilary.

Unknown said...

What a wonderfully enlightening post, Hilary. Thanks for sharing it, and thank you for the review. It sounds like a good read. I do so love the cover.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ann .. I was surprised how much I sort of felt back in Africa and part of those times .. it was little unnerving. I hope you get a chance to get the book and enjoy it ..

@ Shirley .. glad you enjoyed it .. makes me smile! It's a great book from many levels .. and that art work is wonderful ..

Judy's links are all very well worth reading ..

Cheers Ann and Shirley - thanks so much - Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, it's fascinating to read about your experience, and I'm so intrigued now by Judy's book. Thank you for sharing! As one who also doesn't have an e-reader, I was glad to read that reading a book on the computer was not a problem for you. I have been hesitant to try it, but as a result there are so many great ebooks I'm missing out on.

Thanks again for sharing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. when I think back on things it was very interesting at times .. but very glad to hear you're intrigued about Judy's book and hope you can get it to read.

I was encouraged by the e-reader via the pc .. but I think I'd only do for easy to read novels (light reading).

I still think I'd prefer an e-reader .. but I read a Project Gutenberg book on the pc too - that was interesting as I could go back and forth very easily ..

Delighted you came by - thanks Julie .. cheers Hilary

Sue said...

Friends who've been to Africa even for short holidays always return saying "You HAVE to go". Visiting such a different country is so, dare I say, educational, particularly when confronted by prejudice and poverty you had no idea really existed on such a scale. I think it's good for us.

I'd love to hear you write about China, there's so much going on just below the surface of the smiles, particularly with artists, writers and well educated people.

I Love the red road. It's so similar to what we've been travelling over for the past few weeks. I suppose as both countries were joined some millions of years ago, it's not a surprise. It gets into your blood doesn't it.

They began showing "Ladies' No 1 detective agency" just before we left. I was thoroughly enjoying it - hope it hasn't finished.

And another book to add to the pile! Thankyou.
Happy belated birthday to your mother.


Liara Covert said...

Every moment offers opportunities to sense inter-connections among all our choices and experiences. What you feel in the heart requires no input from any other person. Accept it, go with it and love every moment for what it is.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Super post, Hilary! I've always been curious about South Africa. My Grandparents had several adventures there in the 70's and early 80's.

Susan Scheid said...

Southern Africa--I only came to learn of it from Carol-Ann, one of my writing colleagues on the Raining Acorns blog. Such a remarkable place.

And, if belatedly, happy birthday greetings to your mother. 91!

Anonymous said...

Wow! South Africa looks and sounds like a fantastic place! I would love to make a visit there someday. Thanks for a very interesting post.

God bless and have a wonderful week! :-)

BTW, I had a problem with my blog URL/address.

My new blog URL is:

Scarlett Clay said...

This book sounds incredible, thanks so much for the review.
I especially enjoy reading about your experiences, Hilary. I'll wager you have a book full of stories to flood the heart and mind, as well.
I hope you'll share more with us.

Love and strength to you and your mom, glad she had a happy 91st with loved ones and happy news.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue - it is a wonderful country - perhaps you can tear yourself away from China and give it a visit?! Unless you travel - you don't really understand what's going on .. and even then we only have a glimmer, having been to a country, or area (such as Eastern Europe).

If I write about China - it's be their global expansion and where they are in the world ...

Of course - you're red roaded in Australia too aren't you .. and it does get into your blood ..

The Alexander McCall books are great and give that flavour of Botswana/Africa .. Botswana has a different feel to Africa .. as it was a British protectorate - I'm sure you'll be able to catch up with the episodes .. they're fun to watch.

Judy's book is worth adding to the pile .. and thanks for my mother's birthday wishes ..

Cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liara .. certainly there are so many wonderful happenings and ideas out there that reach into and touch my soul .. it's good to enjoy writing them down and sharing with others.

@ Sharon .. thank you! Southern Africa is an amazing hotchpot .. so traditional, yet so 'western' .. your grandparents I hope can tell you many stories of those times - or have some records for you to look at anon ...

@ Susan .. I must check out Carol-Ann's bio .. I don't think I'd realised she had connections with Africa. Africa .. you can't forget her .. thanks too for the birthday greetings ..

Cheers Liara, Sharon and Susan .. lovely seeing you here - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron - thank you! Good heavens - would Mrs G let you leave home and would you travel that far away!?!?! I thought you only liked travelling locally ... ! Wonderful if you could visit ...

I seem to be picking up your blog - but I'll make sure, thanks for the note .. all your 1300+ followers are there too!!

@ Scarlett - how lovely to see you .. and yes if you can get Judy's book it is a wonderful read.

I'm really honoured you're enjoying the stories - I just am an ordinary person who perhaps can related a few things with a different perspective. Pretty normal really.

Many thanks for the love and strength .. I know you have lots of that and need lots too .. I am appreciative of your thoughts ..

Thanks Ron and Scarlett for your comments and interest - Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Hilary. I'll definitely check it out. Will you be writing your memoirs one day? I would stand in a line up to buy it.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to Africa, but its on our To Do List. We want to see a safari while we still can. Who know what the world will be like in twenty years.

We have a missionary friend who visits the continent and has some awesome stories to tell. I know, I know. I need to get out more.

Theresa Milstein said...

I was so excited to win a copy of the book. Thank you Judy and Hilary. My copy just arrived the other day.

Thanks for sharing the stories of South Africa in this post.

amy@ Souldipper said...

As I write, it was two years ago that I went on my Soul Safari on a game reserve northwest of Jo'berg and then spent a week in Capetown. The effect of South Africa is permanent. Every book written from that country grips me in some or many ways. I remember your post about the book - I confess I have not yet read it. Your joy and delight over its effect on you seals my determination to read it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joylene .. Judy will be pleased. I'm amazed! .. but there's definitely some weaving of family history that would be worth doing .. my personal stuff .. not so sure!

@ Stephen ..I seem to recollect that a safari is on your list - I sincerely hope you get to do it and at the same time see something of Africa.

I hope your missionary friend is writing about them? They'd be fascinating for the world to read ...

@ Theresa - fantastic you've got the book .. your imagination will enjoy Judy's book .. the sights, sounds and influences of Africa.

@ Amy - were you at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve .. or a quieter one - perhaps at Nylstrom? Just wonderful to hear that you had a fantastic time .. and Africa wields its influence.

I do hope you get a chance to read Judy's book .. I'm sure you'd enjoy it on many levels .. especially the soul one .

Thanks Joylene, Stephen, Theresa and Amy - lovely having your comments .. enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

Sounds like a must read. I have relatives in South Africa and they keep asking me to visit. I'm not good at travelling but maybe I should accept... maybe! Thanks for the insight.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ros .. Judy's book is great and will entice you even more .. I spotted your comment over on her blog .. brave the trip sometime sooner than later!

Glad the encouragement is there and you're considering taking it up - the relatives will know all the good places to go .. cheers and have a good weekend .. Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

I have a very dear friend from Cape Town who moved to Chicago about 12 years ago. They still go back to visit family, but are happy to live in a safer environment. Thanks for the excellent review Hilary, and best of luck with your book about a beautiful country Judy! P.S. Wish your mother a very Happy Birthday for me Hilary! I'm sure she is very proud of her wonderful daughter!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. delighted to hear you have great friends from SA and can find out some more about the country. I hope it can settle down.

I too hope Judy's book does really well - it opens so many doors to different aspects of life ..

Thanks for the birthday wishes for my Mama .. fortunately I've been able to help her a lot - which gives us both great pleasure.

Have a good weekend and I really appreciate your comment .. cheers Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

Catching up on your wonderful posts, Hilary.

What a wonderful review! Your memories are fascinating too. I am never bored by your writing.

Happy Belated Birthday wishes to your Mother. x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hy Glynis .. many many thanks .. your granddaughter is special and it is wonderful to see some pictures of her. No doubt there'll be plenty more .. and she will have some memories to look back on in due time: your blog, your books et al ...

My mother has had lots of wishes which have been wonderful to receive, read and look at - I'm so grateful to everyone.

Enjoy your weekend at home .. cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

Your posts are always informative and loaded with personality. It's good to get to know you a little better. :)

Congratulations to the winners of Judy's book! Thanks too, for the links. Hope you have a great weekend!


P.S. Happy Birthday to your Mother!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. you're really kind of you! I really appreciate your comment.

I know - lucky Theresa, KarenG, Rubye and Patricia .. I hope they enjoy the book and manage to appreciate all the links etc.

If you do click across - enjoy Judy's very informative posts re the book ..

Mum and I looked at the flowers, read some of the cards (again) .. and she seemed happy .. Many thanks for your thoughts - enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Marinela said...

Congrats to the winners! Beautiful post and such a lovely images..

Happy Birthday to your mum :)


Will Burke said...

I don't know much about South Africa, but it seems like this book would be a good introduction.
Sorry that you couldn't post a comment on my Blog; I hope everything's OK. Steven was able to, though.

Friko said...

Sounds like an interesting read.

Thank God the days of Apartheid are over.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marinela - many thanks .. a book on the real Africa .. and yes my Mama is still enjoying her cards and flowers.

@ Will - thanks for coming over .. Judy's book is very interesting.

Embedded comment boxes cause me challenges since Blogger changed their template coding in April, and there's no email for you .. so I went to Stephen as your review was about his book.

@ Friko - it is a very interesting read and I'm sure you'd enjoy her book.

Yes thank goodness apartheid is over - now to get out of the controlling leaders and spread the wealth, create jobs ... which true leaders would be doing.

Thanks Marinela, Will and Friko - good to see you all .. Hilary

Manzanita said...

Dear Hilary, I'm late in reading this. Sometimes I stop too long to smell the roses. Bless your Mother on her 91st birthday.
When I get behind on my posts and blog reading, yours is the blog I rush to read first. I'm sure I will find this book an interesting read. I lived in North Africa during the early 50's and that was under French rule. A distant geography from where you were but I was so young and my eyes were opened in wonderment ...... same as yours.

A Lady's Life said...

Africa is such an interesting place and there is so much to learn from it.
I feel very sorry for the people there who experience tragedy from horrible invaders who kill and maim.
I agree Travelling opens your eyes especially when you come home and have to live with people who do not understand and are naive to the world.
Sometimes saying no benefits society seeing what goes on in other countries.
I am glad the Middle East is opening up so people do not have to be afraid anymore.It causes dictators to worry and so maybe they will appreciate their own people more to stay in

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Apologies for arriving so late and subjected you to my 'eagerly anticipated' comment, I state, ever so modestly.
Due to the fact all your previous commentors have pretty well covered all the bases, there is no much more I can add, but only to echo. Indeed, this wealth of information clearly demonstrates what a fascinating life you have led. It must have been, very much, a culture shock living in Southern Africa. Me thinks a book of memoirs is definitely in the cards.
Will endeavour to peruse your various links. A belated happy birthday to your beloved mother.
In kindness and appreciation, your way, Gary

Susan Scheid said...

Me again: you may have already seen this, but in case not, if you go to, you'll find all her South Africa posts. It was fascinating to learn from about this country from her perspective.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Manzanita - crumbs! Manzanita - I'm really honoured .. I am sure Judy's book will inspire you and is the sort of book you would relish reading - I hope you get it.

I've never been to North Africa - but there's so much happening there now - it would be fantastic if you could do some posts on your time there in the 1950s. Also the French rule and language will have give you a different take on things. Interesting to hear more .. I'm slightly glad to read you felt like me!

@ A Lady's Life - I agree with your sentiments here - living in another country and travelling does allow us to see the world differently. History and geography too add to those aspects.

The Middle East and North Africa will be different places soon - it will be interesting to see what happens.

Thanks Manzanita and A Lady's Life - lovely to have your informative comments - appreciate them - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gary - no worries for being late! I really appreciate your thoughts re the memoirs .. I seem to be able to write my posts as though this is my normal life - not at all .. I'm like everyone else. But I certainly am grateful for your comment.

Enjoy the links Judy has put up re her book - they add to life in Africa ..

My mother is enjoying having her cards read to her .. and seeing her flowers and now bulbs bursting forth. She's always loved gardening.

@ Susan - many thanks for the link over .. it's one of the blogs I can't comment on - embedded comment box, while the drop down menu doesn't have the space for Name and URL .. I've emailed you instead!

I looked at the Thanksgiving post .. but haven't checked out her others .. I'll be back to do so.

Thanks Gary and Susan .. lovely to see you here and have your thoughts - have a good week .. Hilary

Paula RC said...

Happy Birthday to your Mum and thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of Southern Africa with us.

helen tilston said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. I just wanted to say hi and tell you I am your new follower and now I must get back to reading your blog
Helen Tilstonxx

Talli Roland said...

Congrats to the winners! And I'm with Old Kitty - this sounds like fascinating material for a memoir, Hilary. Get busy writing! :)

MTeacress said...

Talli's right - it does sound fascinating. I will surely put it on my TBR list. Thank you for the suggestion.

Enjoy your week, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jarmara .. many thanks and glad you liked my thoughts and memories of SA.

@ Helen - wonderful to have met you - and I'll be over to join in with you .. thanks so much.

@ Talli - I think it must be magic of the typing fingers .. but delighted you enjoyed the story.

@ Michelle .. Judy's book is extremely interesting and well worth a read ..

Thanks Jarmara, Helen - lovely to have you with us, Talli and Michelle .. appreciate your thoughts .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

'I was easily overawed." I lOVE people like that -- they see the wonder and interesting in novel things, and remain like that for life. And you HAVE, Hilary -- ever curious and interested in life around you.

It is a lovely book cover yes, I really like it!

And seemed to stir many memories of Africa for you -- bravo!

The kraal looks like an animal trap?

Happy 91st to Mama.

happy day to you!!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. so pleased to see you - and hope that the laying down of your songs are well on their way to being recorded. I certainly look around now - that's for sure.

Isn't that art work wonderful - and the book is so thoughtful too ..

The kraal is more a holding pen/livestock enclosure ..

Thanks for the birthday wishes for us all .. and a happy day today too .. cheers for now xoxoxo Hilary

The Blonde Duck said...

I've always wanted to go there!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Blonde Duck - I hope you and hubby can get there one day .. it's a lovely place to visit and learn about .. dream! Cheers Hilary