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Chris Marais

Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit live and work in Cradock, in the Eastern Karoo, when they’re not travelling around the heartland in search of stories. They write for SA Country Life magazine regularly, have written two books on the Karoo (Karoo Keepsakes I and II) and run a website called www.karoospace.co.za and have just launched their e-Bookstore on Karoo Space.
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Rise of the Freelancers

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 19:47

Every day, I hear the cries of media people – journalists, graphic artists, photographers and copy editors – who have just been kicked out onto the street by their long-time employers. Many of them have given decades of faithful service – with little remuneration – to their newspapers and magazines. Most of us do this […]

Karoo Roadside Attractions

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 19:48

By Chris Marais & Julienne du Toit  In the big desert spaces of the world, an overland driver often encounters interesting objects along the road. Sometimes it’s a novelty object, a ‘world’s largest’ something or other. Other times, it’s a road sign full of bullet hotels. And you park next to it and wonder: what […]

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KAROO DIARY: The Sculptor of Nieu-Bethesda

By Chris Marais 25-11-19 23:16

As you stroll past Frans Boekkooi’s studio in the Karoo village of Nieu-Bethesda, you will see the likeness of playwright Athol Fugard looking down from the doorway. Apart from the amazing image of Athol – creative patron of Nieu Bethesda – the next work of art to catch your eye inside will be Visman Steier […]

KAROO DIARY: Owl House Eye Candy @ Nieu-Bethesda

By Chris Marais 22-07-14 13:59

For many decades, the little village of Nieu-Bethesda in the Sneeuberg Mountains of the Eastern Cape Karoo was a dead-quiet place where very little happened. The spring-fed water furrows (leiwater) gurgled through Nieu-Bethesda, there were lots of donkey carts and survival was hard for most of the villagers. Then playwright Athol Fugard wrote The Road […]

KAROO DIARY: In Search of a Keepsake

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 19:48

As a travel journalist, you can wander the world, see all its peoples, taste 105 different kinds of ice cream and stomp through a thousand museums – but you know you’re always skating on the surface of experience. You’ve only had one layer of Life’s Onion. What a privilege it was then, for my wife […]

Karoo Diary: The Blockhouse Blues

By Chris Marais 16-07-14 08:23

Text and Photographs by Chris Marais We marched up the hill early one morning and settled into the old British blockhouse. Down below, the N1 highway between Jo’burg and Cape Town was churning with freight trucks and the Free State mists were dissipating. The blockhouse – one of 8 000 erected all around the country […]

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Karoo eBooks Launch

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 19:49

The next best thing to actually being in the Karoo, South Africa’s semi-desert Heartland, is to have access to the just-launched Karoo Space eBookstore. Download the Karoo Collection Sampler on your tablet or smartphone, find a shady spot somewhere and settle in for a tour of the most phenomenal people-friendly desert in the world. Travel […]

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KAROO DIARY: The Silver Creek Flows!

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 19:46

If you’re South African and of a certain age, chances are you’ll be familiar with the Silver Creek Mountain Band. Text & Pictures by Chris Marais The Creek is South Africa’s longest-surviving bluegrass band. Forty years ago, they were a live music force to be reckoned with. Two fiddlers, banjo, lead guitar and a big old […]

Karoo Keepsakes Goes to Franschhoek

By Chris Marais 27-02-15 22:31

The Franschhoek Literary Festival is one of the Groot Menere of all South African litfests. As authors of the Karoo Keepsakes series, my wife Jules and I normally hang out at smaller gatherings, like the Richmond Boekbedonnerd affair, the Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival at home here in Cradock and WordFest in Grahamstown. In fact, we’ll […]

Karoo Diary – One Man’s Scrap…

By Chris Marais 25-04-14 17:06

There’s something deeply adventurous about rootling around an old Karoo farm junkyard, clutching a camera and a very big stick. The camera is for when the morning light falls softly on the red rump of an ancient, pensioned-off Massey Ferguson tractor. The very big stick is for the Cape Cobra – the dreaded geelslang – […]

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