The year began with a bang in Johannesburg then followed by a marvellous stay at Badgerleur (badgerleur.co.za) and Dipka Game Lodge (www.grasslandsmeander.co.za) two great wild life reserves.
Both are within two hours drive of Johannesbourg. If you want fresh air, wild life and plenty of walking, these are two places to find all these and much more. And no one's paying me to write these glowing accounts. It's all based on the good time we had in both places.
At Dipka, we celebrated Women's Christmas (Jan 6th) with Elizabeth (6 months) the newest family member, having her first Nodlaig na mBan en famille.
I took away from South Africa a number of books - fiction and non-fiction - about Africa which were given to me as suggested reads. Here they are, in no particular order:
An Elegy for Easterly, by Petina Gappah. A collection of short stories set in Zimbabwe
Skinner's Drift by Lisa Fugard. Young womans' return to South Africa and memories of her strange childhood
Begging to be Black by Antjie Krog. Krog wrote the great if controversial account of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Little Ice Cream Boy by Jacques Pauw. (Everyone seemed to be reading this one.)
In a Different Time by Peter Harris. Dynamic account of MK activists and the Pretoria court that tried them. If you've been to Soweto, you'll understand this book.Even if you haven't. you'll be moved by it.
January 10th: after South Africa, it's back to researching my next project which is about the Huguenots in Ireland and their contribution to the sailcloth industry. Flax, from which sailcloth was made, was grown in the Belfast region where many Huguenots had settled. Some of them moved to Cork, which at one time was the biggest exporter of sailcloth to Europe. Not surprising, perhaps, since there was a British naval presence there for some 250 years.
April 23rd (Shakespeare's birthday) I leave for Georgia for six weeks to work as an International Election Observe in the municipal elections there.
May my radio programme. The ffrench Connection, enters a competition:
14th PRIX MARULI - OLD TEXTS REVISITED, HVAR, CROATIA 2010
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF RADIO PLAYS AND DOCUMENTARY RADIO DRAMAS
This radio festival is dedicated to programmes made using texts predating 1894, considered to be the birthdate of radio broadcasting.
The ffrench Connection is also being entered in the New York Festival for Radio. Shortlisting for both competitions this month, May.
Click here to hear The ffrench Connection.
After this, I plan to do more radio work involving sailing and Sufism. Click here to read about Sufism in Syria.
Click here to view what happened in 2009
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