As many of you are aware, we have just come to the end of an amazing virtual Africa Book Safari on Facebook.
For many years, my husband, Rob, and I have longed to go on an African Safari with a game drive which takes you off-road to see some of the animals close up in their natural habitat. But they are all SO expensive, and now that we’ve reached retirement we couldn’t see it ever happening.
However, it is 50 years this month since we entered full-time ministry when my husband was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. We wanted to celebrate it in some special way. What better way than to take a game drive into a game reserve? Especially after the recent publication of my book, God in Africa, and the conclusion of the very successful Africa Book Safari. (More about that tomorrow.)read more
Not only is Marion the author of A Time to Laugh, she is a personal friend, and is quite the most prolific writer I know. I have totally lost track of how many books she has written, or how many stunning book covers she has designed, both for her own books and for other authors.
So why am I writing about her today? Because we have an exciting adventure coming up in a few months, and she is helping me head it up. As writers in Southern Africa, we have a number of problems.
Some of our issues:
Many readers across the globe know very little about life in Africa, apart from what they read or watch on the media which can vary from a little-bit-accurate to wildly out of touch.
Authors of Africa seem to live under a sort of radar, with readers either not knowing about them, or not realizing they are from Africa.
Most American publishers require their book stories to be based in America, or if they are located overseas, to at least have American heroes and heroines.
Several of us are banding together in the near future to tell you a bit about ourselves, our writing, and in particular, to promote one book written about Africa. There will also be a number of freebies on offer, so don’t lose out! A Time to Laugh takes place in a beautiful seaside town in Africa, called Ballito Bay. It will not, however, be the one covered in the event, but you’ll hear more about that later . . .
Here is one of Marion’s books which I absolutely love . . .
About the Book, A Time to Laugh:
For thirty years, Brian and Elizabeth Dunham have served on the mission field. Unable to have children of their own, they’ve been a father and mother to countless orphans in six African countries. When an unexpected beach-house inheritance and a lung disease diagnosis coincide, they realize that perhaps God is telling them it’s time to retire.
At sixty, Elizabeth is past child-bearing age. She’d long ago given up wondering whether this would be the month she would conceive. But when her best friend and neighbor jokes that Elizabeth’s sudden fatigue and nausea are symptoms of pregnancy, Elizabeth finds herself walking that familiar and unwanted road again, wondering if God is pulling an Abraham and Sarah on her and Brian.
The mere notion has questions flooding Elizabeth’s mind. If she were miraculously pregnant, would they have the stamina to raise a child in their golden years? Especially with Brian’s health issues. And the child? Would it be healthy, or would it go through life struggling with some kind of disability? What of her own health? Could she survive giving birth?
Will what Brian and Elizabeth have dreamed of their entire married life be an old-age blessing or a curse?
There are a number of references and similarities to the story of Sarah in the Old Testament, yet this story line is fun while at the same time serious. Brian and Elizabeth Dunham have just returned from the African mission field where they cared for orphan children. They experience more than a little trepidation when Elizabeth develops symptoms indicating pregnancy. She is in her sixties. Is it possible? And if she is, will the baby be normal?
A beautiful story, well thought out. Well done, Marion!
Read more about Marion and her amazing selection of ever-publishing books here.
And don’t forget to sign up for my twice-a-month newsletter including snippets of home fun, writing updates, recommended reading and listening, and occasional freebies. Please note, you can unsubscribe at any time, no questions asked, and your emails are totally safe. I will never share them with anyone else. For information about my privacy practices, please see here.
[stextbox id=’alert’]To stop the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 in South Africa, a National lock-down is currently in place until midnight 16 April. For more see: National Covid-19 website[/stextbox]
As COVID-19 sweeps the globe, South Africa started behind many of the big countries, partly because we were in summer while other countries were in winter. Evidently, COVID-19 doesn’t like heat. However, we have now joined the pandemic and sadly, we’re catching up.
As a country, South Africa has some unique problems, including a huge population suffering with AIDS and TB. We also have huge residential “townships” jam-packed with people, many of whom are not able or willing to cooperate in the call to a total lockdown of 21 days.
But we have also some amazing factors in our favour.
Our president called for a national day of prayer.
He and the government have issued strict regulations to control a nation-wide lockdown of at least 21 days.
The police, supported by the army, are trying to enforce these regulations. Why anyone wants to rebel is quite beyond me, but there you have it.
But perhaps the biggest factor of all is our National Anthem. You see, it is actually a prayer.
South Africa is famous for many “firsts” but I wonder how many people know that our official anthem, Nkosi Sikilel iAfrica is the only neo-modal national anthem in the world. That means, it ends in a different key to where it begins. It is also a multi-language anthem.
The national anthem of a country is normally sung in the language used by most of the people of the nation. But we have twelve official languages! So read on . . .
The South African anthem developed along with the history of the nation as follows:
History of Anthem
1897: a Methodist school teacher by the name of Enoch Sontonga composed a hymn in Zulu, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. This was first sung in churches, but later became used as an act of political defiance against the apartheid government.
1918: South African poet, C.J.Langenhoven, wrote an Afrikaans poem called, Die Stem (The Call).
1921:Rev. Marthinus Lourens de Villiers set the song to music.
1936:Die Stem van Suid-Afrika became the co-anthem with God Save the King/Queen.
1942:Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was published in Sesotho by Moses Mphahlele.
1957:Die Stem became the sole national anthem.
1994: The S.African government adopted both Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and Die Stem as the national anthems, and they were both performed at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela.
1997: All of these were merged to form the current anthem. New English lyrics were adapted from the last four lines on the first verse of Die Stem and part of the Sesotho version was included.
The result is a stirring anthem sung in the five languages of Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English.
The Africa Book Safari is a cross-genre initiative initially run by Marion Ueckermann and Shirley Corder. We introduced you to nine authors who either live in Africa or have their roots in this continent. They each showcased one of their books that gives insight into life in Africa, using different genres.
Included in the mix are suspense novels, romance novellas and stories, devotional books, memoirs, and others.
From Friday 25 to Monday 28 we held a Weekend Event on Facebook, with prizes, posts by the authors, Africa pecial deals, and a whole heap of fun.
Although the Safari Weekend is now over, the tour group is continuing. Sign up by hitting the button below. Over 800 people attended the weekend. Don’t miss this unique opportunity of joining this fascinating group.
You’ve seen a little glimpse of what happens during this incredible migration of the wildebeest as they cross a river in the – not thousands – but millions! Here are a few quotes from other people:
“To see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe. You know then what you had always been told – that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick-walled streets and the tyranny of clocks.” – Beryl Markham
“Everything in Africa bites but the safari bug is worst of all.” – Brian Jackman
“No-one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.” – George Schaller
“There is language going on out there – the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language – and music – of the wild.” – Boyd Norton
“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.” – Rudyard Kipling
[stextbox id=’alert’ bgcolor=’d66b06′]Which of these books most appeal to you so far? There will be a random draw for God in Africa from the comments of the first week of blog posts, so make sure you enter and add your email address in case you win![/stextbox]
COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT AUTHOR INTERVIEW ON
So the Africa Book Safari Weekend has come and gone.
Prizes have been won and are mostly on their way to the winners. Specials were appreciated, some are now over, others coming to an end. Most importantly, I hope you had a chance to interact with some of the authors of Africa and perhaps meet some you didn’t know about. I certainly have, and I’m part of the team! I’ve got a couple of new authors that I intend to pursue and read their books.
The thrilling thing is the one bond that ties us all together: A love and common knowledge of our wonderful continent. It’s amazing how you can learn about a country through devotional material, travel insights, memoirs, non-fiction, and novels of different sorts. From romance to suspense to legal stories.
Here are the safari authors interviewed so far via this site:
There are still three to go, so don’t stop visiting and commenting! It is so important for all the authors to be encouraged in this way. The fact that these are the last three has nothing to do with their importance. All of us were given a schedule to follow, so each safari author was covered by each of the others. So we were all second somewhere – and last somewhere!
Here are the three remaining safari authors to be featured on my site:
Ashley Winter Feel-good Christian Novel
Anna Jensen Travel Devotions
Val Waldeck Non-fiction Memoir
And then there will be one final round-off post looking back on a unique experience for us all.
So hang in here and please visit again tomorrow.
[stextbox id=’alert’ ccolor=’f7580f’]What have you enjoyed most about this entire Safari adventure?[/stextbox]
On 25th October, the Africa Book Safari kicked off with a bang. And boy! What a bang!
We had a blast! Over the weekend we had 771 attendees, and between us all, we produced a staggering 14,4K posts, comments, and reactions!
Everyone seems to have been extremely happy with the way it went, and there have been some super giveaways. The atmosphere was great with fabulous interaction between Christians from all over the world. The top country represented was (of course! the States) but South Africa came a close second.
On Friday, our selected Christian authors all posted their interviews on their own sites for their regular readers to see, and told you a bit about their chosen book, also based in Africa. You got to read mine on Friday, but then the weekend happened! Oh wow, did it happen? It was amazing, but we had NO TIME for looking after our blogs! So I do encourage you to check back on any authors you missed and then keep moving on.
I would encourage you to visit here every day to see where to go next. That way, you will hop from one blog to another – and get to meet all the authors with some days staying here with me.
On this site so far you have just seen my own interview and Marion Ueckermann who happens to be the person who co-hosted this event with me.
With the book launch of God in Africa around the corner, I went to visit my brother in East London (about five hours along the beautiful coastline of South Africa) for a few days to celebrate his 60th birthday.
There is a small step down from the bedroom where we were sleeping to a landing with the bathroom on the left and a short steep staircase on the right. One night, I made my way to the bathroom in the early hours of the morning and, being a considerate kinda gal, I used the light on my cellphone so I wouldn’t disturb my husband.
As I took the step down, the light went out. I stumbled, fell onto the balustrade, and started a headlong bounce down the stairs towards the wall. Praise the Lord, He caught me! I managed to hook the rail with my left arm and took my weight on my right arm (on the carpeted step.)
After an ungainly slither (or something) back up to the landing, I took stock. Nothing broken. Just a flap of skin ripped from my arm in what turned out to be a carpet-burn. Cutting a long story short, and despite prompt if irregular, first aid, that wound duly went septic. Hence the bandage.
BITES 1, 2 & 3
Then came the bites. We had a beautiful day visiting part of The Wild Coast, an area Rob and I had never been to.
Only after we were home in PE, I discovered an itchy bite which when I investigated was actually huge, inflamed, and had a black center. Not nice. It looked like a tick bite, and I had a book launch a week away! I made an appointment to see my doctor the next day. By that time two more had developed.
Again, to make an ugly, long story short, despite huge doses of penicillin all three went septic and nasty and so I had dressings on them all. I’m currently on my second course of penicillin and gradually starting to heal.
Despite satan’s best efforts to thwart it, not to mention all the bandages (mostly hidden from view) the launch of God in Africa went off fabulously. I had a great team of folk helping, and it was really a lovely afternoon. I sold nearly eighty books and I’ve sold one or two every day since. Here is an overview of how the afternoon worked out.
Much more in the next post, but this is a heads-up. During the days from October 25-28 a group of eleven authors living in, or connected to, Africa will be going on an Africa Book Safari. Want to learn more? Watch the video and come along with us. We already have over 300 people signed up to join us. Lots of giveaways, special offers, a vast selection of genres.
I’m telling you—it is going to be so exciting!
What excites you most about Africa? Or about this book?
This recipe is for buttermilk rusks, one of the snacks you were offered if you attended the launch party for the boxed set of devotional books, In All things. The boxed set is no longer available, but you can get the paperback here.
13 weeks of devotions from Christian authors of South Africa, including Anna Jensen, Ann Goodfellow, Crystal Warren, Deryn van der Tang, Dianne J. Wilson, Marion Ueckermann, Shirley Corder, Val Waldeck, Vida li Sik, and Yvonne Tippins.
Background to the creation of rusks:
The South African karringmelk (buttermilk) rusk can be compared to American biscotti, but they are, in fact, only distant cousins.
The S.African rusk evolved from early Cape settlement and from the pioneers making their laborious and dangerous trip inland from the coast via ox-wagons. They are extremely hard, almost inedible unless dipped (or dunked) in hot coffee, or as in our case at the In All Things launch party, Rooibos Tea. (Learn about Rooibos tea over at Anna Jensen’s blog by clicking on the link.)
Sorry the ingredients are metric, but that’s our method of measurement in SA.(See Conversion Table here.)
3kg self-raising flour
2 x 500g butter
2 x 500ml buttermilk
8 eggs (beaten well)
1 desert-spoon baking powder
2.5 cups sugar
2 teaspoon salt
Mix self-raising flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Melt butter and sugar together slowly (body temperature ONLY).
Pour the melted mixture into flour mixture.
Add beaten eggs.
Press into oven pans about 1.5cm high.
“Cut” into rusks about width and length of adult middle finger by pushing a long flat object (eg. ruler or egg lifter) into the dough to separate the dough. Do not try to cut with a knife – the dough will just drag.
Bake for around 1 hour in a 165 degree Celsius preheated oven. Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, they’re ready. If not and the rusks are browning, cover with foil and bake longer.
Once baked, remove and break into separate biscuits along pressed lines.
Place back into the oven pan, stacking biscuits loosely and dry overnight in a 70 degree Celsius oven.
Make sure to wedge something in the oven door that will keep the oven open fractionally—about a centimeter—so that there is airflow to dry the rusks slowly.
How to eat a rusk:
Once rusks are ready, grab a cup of coffee (or rooibos tea –follow this link to read more), dunk and enjoy! There’s a knack to dunking. Dip the rusk too long and it’ll break off in your hot drink. Too short and you could just break a tooth! Dip twice before popping the end into your mouth. And keep a teaspoon handy to fish out any errant pieces that bob to the surface of your drink.