Between the Stacks: Books offer preview of travel destinations

  • Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Between the Stacks

By Mirjam Veldkamp

Mount Pleasant Regional Library

In a few weeks from now I will be traveling to a country that is known as the Rainbow Nation. It is a term first used by Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and later President Nelson Mandela elaborated upon it in his first month of office. The name refers to the diversity of races, tribes, creeds and languages that characterizes modern South Africa.

You can image that I am thrilled to visit this country. I have talked to numerous people who have intimate knowledge of this nation including Amy Steinmeuller, our children’s librarian who was featured in Between the Stacks on Oct. 10, 2012, and Carol Quinlan, featured in Between the Stacks on Sept. 12, 2012. I have had an African dish prepared by friends who lived three years in Cape Town (the city where I will spend most of my time), looked at pictures of other friends and searched, of course, the library catalogue.

Besides travel information and tourist attractions, I wanted to refresh my memory about South Africa’s history. South Africa used to be a Dutch colony and therefore its history was part of social science classes taught in my elementary, middle and high schools. (If you read this column on a regular basis and you read my bio in Between the Stacks on Dec. 12, 2012, you know by now that I was born and raised in the Netherlands.) I can remember that during those classes I was always intrigued, hearing about exotic and far away countries with their rituals and customs, but I was at the same time appalled to learn about the atrocious behavior of the people who started occupying these lands.

This same dualistic feeling I encountered again when I started reading Dominique Lapierre’s “A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa.” In 1652 Dutch farmers landed on the southernmost tip of Africa. They were sent by the Dutch East India Company, their mission simply to grow vegetables and supply ships rounding the cape. The colonists, however, were convinced by their strict Calvinist faith that they were among God’s “Elect,” chosen to rule over the continent. Within this righteous belief, they established control over the land by any savage means imaginable. This was the foundation of what became later South Africa’s Apartheid regime.

Another non-fiction book I checked out was “More Than Just a Game: Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Most Important Soccer Story Ever Told” by Chuck Korr and Marvin Close. This is an incredible story about the inmates of Robben Island who used soccer as a symbol of resistance against Apartheid.

“Black Butterflies” is a movie I recently watched. It is about the poet Ingrid Jonker, who is considered the South African Sylvia Plath because both women destroyed themselves at an early age and both women seemed to have “daddy issues.” Ingrid Jonker’s poetry gained an international platform in 1994, when Nelson Mandela read her poem, “The Child Who Was Shot Dead by Soldiers in Nyanga” (“Die Kind”) during his first address to the new South African Parliament.

Although the history of South Africa is rather depressing, the information I received of modern day life in South Africa is very different. Discover books for all ages about wildlife, travel, recipes, and much more about South Africa at www.ccpl.org.

Upcoming programs at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library:

Blind Date with a Book (grades 6-12)

Feb. 1-28

Enjoy a blind date with a book by visiting the Young Adult Department and selecting one of the blind date bags. Inside are a mystery book and a survey. Will you find literary love?

Mount Pleasant Reel Club-A Book/Movie Discussion Group (adults)

Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.

Read the book, watch the movie and then participate in a lively discussion.

Book: “Brokeback Mountain” (short story) by Annie Proulx

Movie: “Brokeback Mountain” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger is the story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys. Rated R; 134 minutes.

Building a Budget: S.C. Credit Union Financial Seminar (teens and adults)

Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 6-7 p.m.

A budget is the most powerful tool available for establishing financial control. Learn how to design a realistic spending plan to help you live within your means and develop a savings plan to reach your goals. This workshop will provide tips on how to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Please visit https://www.scfederal.org/Home/Plan-Learn/Financial-Seminars/Workshop-Calendar to register.

PLAY: It’s Black History Month (all ages)

Saturday, Feb. 9, all day

Stop by the Children’s Desk, and pick up a Black History activity sheet.

Second Saturday Writing Critique Group (adults ages 16+)

Saturday, Feb. 9 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Open to all writers. For information, contact the Reference Desk at 849-6161 or MtpReference@ccpl.org.

Monday Book Discussion (adults)

Monday, Feb. 11 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Valentine’s Day Celebration (ages 3 and up)

Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m.

Listen to stories, make a craft and enjoy a snack.

Friday Night Movie: The Vow (adults)

Friday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

“The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Rated PG-13; 104 minutes.

(Mirjam Veldkamp works in the reference department at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library Branch, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road, 843-849-6161, www.mtplibrary.blogspot.com, www.ccpl.org).

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