Written by: Anne & Roger Nash
Article source: Voices from Cathcart

They say that “local is lekker” and we are very proud to announce that we have recently published an anthology of recollections entitled Voices from Cathcart by people from the small town of Cathcart in the Eastern Cape. Whilst most of the writers live in Cathcart, others are as far-flung as the UK. All the contributors have donated their time and effort to the project and funds raised from the sale of the book have gone directly to fund-raising for the Callie Evens Lodge Retirement Home in the town.

This book began with the idea of running a memoir-writing workshop at the Lodge, for the elderly Lodge-dwellers and anyone else who was interested. In the run-up to the workshop, it was realised that there were people who would find the physical act of writing difficult, but who might have priceless memories to share. So, a couple of people were interviewed and recordings made of their stories first on an audio-recorder and then in written form. However most contributors chose to write their own stories.

The book has more than 80 stories, articles or poems, from 68 people – people whose roots in Cathcart go back to the early 1800s and even further, and also from ‘Johnny-come-latelies’ who have settled In the town as recently as two or ten years ago. Some old Cathcartians who no longer live here, but who heard of the project, have contributed.

It was hoped that the book would represent the whole of the Cathcart community, black and white and old and young, and that it would be multilingual. To that end, an essay competition for young people was held, encouraging them to write about older relatives and community members, or about themselves, in any language. Because of the upheavals in schooling related to the lock-down, eventually there was only one contribution, from nine-year-old Taro Chiwara, whose contribution ensured that the ages of people represented in the book stretch from 9 to 99!

There is huge variety in the book. You will find in it: stories – funny, romantic, dramatic, inspiring and tragic; memories of childhood and youth, on Cathcart farms and much further afield; poems and letters; war-time memories; accounts of life-passions and enthusiasms, such as field trialling, dancing, singing and flying; accounts of how people got to be in Cathcart, and memories of life in Cathcart town – MOTHs, Round Table,

Cathcart High School, civic matters, sport and entrepreneurial adventures. Unfortunately, there is only one Afrikaans entry. We would have liked more – and some written in isiXhosa too.

The book ‘Voices from Cathcart’, made up of about 80 stories by different Cathcart People, and edited by Liz Botha, can be ordered from Liz, on bothaek@telkomsa.net, or on 0827801920.

The book is in A4 format, with soft cover, and can be ordered in full colour (R350) or with inner pages in B&W (R200). All profits go to the Callie Evens Retirement Lodge in Cathcart.

The blurb on the back cover gives more of a picture of what it comprises, and you can hear some of the contributors reading 1-minute extracts from their stories below.

Iso Wardle reads: 

Eileen Webber

Yanga Sigidi reads from his father’s

Aileen Berrington talks about the book:

Kevin Wearing tells his story about how Brandt’s Supermarket burnt down:

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Date published: 16/07/2021
Feature image: www.facebook.com

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