Booktown Richmond


Dear BookBedonnerd Family,

Thank you all for being so patient…..

By this time of the year you would normally have received several New Richmond Reader newsletters with some inclination of what was potting on the Booktown Richmond front. Sadly, this has not been the case. As many of you are aware, we receive a small ……very small amount of money to operate BookBedonnerd, as well as any community events we can afford to help with, as well as to maintain the old Library…. BTRHQ…Booktown Richmond Headquarters. For eleven years we received a grant from the Northern Cape Department of Sport Art and Culture.

Our grant was applied for at the end of last year and accepted pending issuing an SLA…Service Level Agreement. Early in 2019, about 4 months after being informed that the grant for 2019 was in order, I was informed by the Northern Cape Department of Sport Art and Culture that they had changed their minds and that we would no longer receive funding. I was told by one of the people in the department with whom I had been dealing with for many years, that “there was a letter ready to be sent to me saying that they would not be supporting Booktown any longer”. We are talking about R100.000.00 per year which has been the same quantum for 12 years.

Despite regular calls to any and everyone in the department as well as letters to the HOD and Minister ……. none was acknowledged let alone answered, we were left with the option that we must cancel BookBedonnerd XII. Booktown Richmond is the biggest literary event in the entire Northern Cape and Karoo. We were left out to dry!

We had one ally in the Northern Cape Department of Tourism who saw what BTR had accomplished for tourism in the Northern Cape as the only Booktown in the country and on the continent.  Peter McKuchane director of NC Tourism came out to our aid in pushing the PM’s office and his own department to support the Booktown Richmond phenomenon.

This past Monday was our D-Day and it was either yea or nay…. a no reply would be a nay as we could not carry on in this vacuum.

Richmond would suffer the loss of our annual gathering, self-publishers will have one less opportunity to launch their works, literary people will have one fewer meeting point to talk and listen and learn.

Monday came and went, and Darryl and I were on tenterhooks…. procrastination of all procrastinations!.

Tuesday we received confirmation from Peter M that tourism would help us with some costs; we were G to go.….

So it has been a rocky road. I attach follow a few of the unsent newsletters, that were held back due to our inability to commit to BookBedonnerd XII……..a day in the life of Booktown Richmond!

We also attach just below the speakers and titles being presented on the Self Publishers Day, Wednesday, October 23 as well as the speakers on the rest of the days…Thursday to Saturday.

We are delighted that this heart attack matter has had a wonderful spin off in that we have percolating to the surface old friends and Booktown fans who will be helping and presenting the speakers. Long time loyalists Mike Lowry (a fellow vet nogal) and his wife Judy, authors Tracey Going, Mark DeWet, Angie Gallagher, and local farmer, Hendrick Ackerman.

So, in a nut shell we kick off at a leisurely hour on Wednesday morning…still to be determined how leisurely, and the day is going to be a very satisfying one with the bevy of wonderful presentations. The evening will be dedicated of course to the South African Independent Publishers Gala Banquet and presentation ceremony to be held at the Supper Klub.

Saturday will be a half day of presentations at the BTRHQ and lead on to the now famous Richmond Mile Race and parade and general street party…….and Currie Cup final

By popular request dinner on Saturday evening will a street affair outside the Supper Klub.
We are looking forward to BoekBedonnerd XII.

Just to show you that you have been in our thoughts I attach following earlier newsletters written ….somewhat topically around elections etc, keeping you we had hoped in the Richmond Loop, but which were never distributed as we were really in the dark as to whether in deed BBXII would ever come off…..




1. Fiona Khan Windown of a Woman's Mind
2. Steve Wilbery Dr Grumble
3. Richard Hunt Spirit of the Drakensberg
4. Hugh Bland Trappist Missions of KZN
5. Flow Wellington Gautrained
6. Sedrico Husselman Short Story
7. Mike Lowry The Rhino and the Rat
8. Jann Bader Shattered Dreams
9. Clinton du Plessis Comrades, ekskamermaats en counter revolution
10. Jens Friis Philippolis
11. Athol Williams Oaky Runs a Race/Oaky and Themba
12. Colin Johnson
13. Dominique Malherbe Somewhere in between
14. Helena Dolny Before and After
15. Louis Botha N/a'an ku se
16. Pat Kramer Johannes Meintjies A Monograph
17. Hendie Grobler e-book
18. Tania Smit Hekelwoorde
19. Peter Wilhelm Whirlwind in Thorntree
20. Athol Williams A Girl Called H
21. Clinton du Plessis Afrikaans Verslag
22. Cecily Norden Christine Spronse's Granddaughter
23. Liesl van der Hoven Hoe om Kommer-Goggas Mak Te Maak
24. Sjaka Siptember Graphic Novel. 
25. Sedrico Husselmann Poetry
26. Nigel Amschwand 1847 Dispossession and Migration
27. Antonia Malan et al Grave Encounters - Green Point Burial Grounds
28. Pat Kramer Corbelled Houses of the Karoo
29. Rob Bauemeister Winding Road
30. Rob Bauemeister On Reflection
31. Eleanor Damon Cysters van Pniel Biografie

32. Dina Ferrus Die Vrede Kom Later
33. Ian Sutherland Featherstream
34. Deon Potgieter Touched by a Prince
35. Barbara Castle-Farmer Finding My Own Way 

BoekBedonnerd until the end……

                                     Issue 18.3                                                                        June 2019                                      

Dear Karoosters,                             
The big chill has set into the Great Karoo and the Aga stoves are hot and the pot roasts bubbling away in back of the ovens. Nobody seems to be moving any more than is absolutely necessary it appears..... 

Nothin’ goin’ on in the dorp….. see down town Richmond on recent Sunday! 


The elections have come and gone, and it seems to be a case of plus ça change …. tous c’est la même chose”. I think that a lot of people were hoping for something more emphatic,; either a huge ANC majority (which you could see as a mandate for Ramaphosa to have a clear mandate to clean up the country and get the economy kick started, or a vote of approval for the ANC to continue to rape and pillage everything in their grasp, from the central and municipal governments to the mired of State Owned Enterprises.) or a hung government in which it would have to turn to a smaller part in order to garner a majority in parliament, with the EFF which would indicate a lean to the left and really more of the same old same old or a turn to the DA which would indicate a more business-like and honest approach to running our government. I would have hoped for the latter although it amazed me how the press and many other political commentators punted a strong ANC government. This feeling was based 100% on Cyril Ramaphosa sticking to his promises: something the ANC is singularly incapable of according to its history. Now we have to wait and see and pray for the best!

As a collector of South Africana literature over the years and reading histories from the late 1800’s to the present, it has been a common thread that South Africa was on the road to self-destruction and ruination. We are a pretty pessimistic lot, but as an immigrant I honestly see da very positive future…. notwithstanding the long list of matters we have to rectify unemployment and unemployables, a disastrous education system, a legacy of corruption and a sad moral fibre from top to bottom. But everything can be fixed. Look at China where a billion people have been taken out of poverty (Africa in the same 20 year period has placed 600 Million into poverty….I happened on this information in an interview with staunch anti-apartheid activist Lord Peter Haynes), Singapore and South Korea lifted themselves out of their respective moral and economic quagmires to become leading lights on the planet, socially economically and morally.

Africa does not score well on the list of Economic Freedom top of the pops but there is nothing to say that we South Africans cannot turn the corner and become the beacon of light and hope for ourselves as well as the rest of the continent. We South Africans and our societal watch dogs and our excellent courts must be ever vigilant and watchful of our governments and in fact all of officialdom and be prepared to stand up and to speak out and act for what is right.

We deserve to get what we voted for……but we must not be content to trust any man or woman just because they hold some sort of office or position. We are the units of a successful democracy. You and me.

Moving along we are looking down the road to BoekBedonnerd XII (PS….we were under the illusion at the time of writing that we might just manage to squeeze the Dep't of SAC  to come up with the funds….how naïve!)

DD……….The muse has left me. I find myself in a deep depression. First the ANC wins comfortably in a year when they should have lost power. But my beloved Proteas. Every 4 years I say that this will be our year. This will be the year that we finally lift the Cricket World Cup. But who could have ever imagined we could plummet to such depths. 3 matches played ; 3 losses……. And dare I say a 4 th defeat was staring us in the face had the rain gods not come and saved us against the West Indies. I have also been readying myself for my move to the University of the Western Cape in July. And having to stress about accommodation. Unbelievable that some of the most aesthetically displeasing houses start at 2.2 million in the Cape. And to add insult to injury, plots of 225sqm. 

Luckily there is always BookBedonnerd to lift the spirits. (PS….still at the time a remotely possible event) And the wide expanses of the Karoo to look forward to from the 23 – 26 October 2019. And from what I have seen on Facebook, I can safely say that gentrification in the most positive sense of the word has come to Richmond. There is barely a property to be bought. Those that are on the books take the same time to sell as houses in the big cities. People are retiring to Richmond. People are coming to Richmond to live out their dreams. I see and hear this every month. Which is quite amazing at this juncture in our history.


Forever BookBedonnerd 



Booktown Richmond 

March 13, 2019

Again, Karoosters all….

Due to some unforeseen interventions, loosing data for Booktown Richmond…. but then again paradise found and back on track, so many apologies for the terribly tardy missive.

This was to have been dispatched in February as above and a March letter following ……so the lazy bastards will be issuing a combo herewith.

Sadly, despite lengthy dealings with the KZN Department of Sport Art and Vulture / Culture, we shall not be in a position to host a BookBedonnerd First Filial Literary and Theatrical Festive in the lovely Natal North Coast village of Mtunzini. It seems that the province (government that is …again ANC retards) is simply incapable of seeing the opportunity presented. The entire village was prepped and ready to step up to the plate in order to see this project to its end. The Mtunzini Rotary have brought in a 40’ container of books and are distributing them to rural kraals and schools. Mtunzini BookBedonnerd was to have been the show case of bringing good literature and indeed literacy to this province. Sadly, the government did not see this and has lost a one-time opportunity to put this village on the map much as BookBedonnerd Richmond has really been put on the map, on the strong foundation of books and reading.

On a personal note we are pleased to announce that after a hiatus of too many months / years the Richmond Supper Klub has once again opened full time under Chef’s spoon of Chef Tonya and her grill-man husband Christiaan Ströh. Tonya is a Master Chef and they are excellent all-rounders in everything from haute cuisine to steaks and choppies and all the in-betweens….Thai, Italian, pizzas….. so please give them a try if you are passing through the dorp. It looks as though the Booktown pub crawl is gaining traction!

We are also happy to have once again the Capsicum Chef School from Boksburg sending a Head Chef Nico Lombard (featured recently in a Johannesburg Star headline) and a crew of chefs to help manage the Supper Klub kitchen when everything in Booktown Richmond is running on Hi-Octane during BookBedonnerd week…. can’t wait.

And finally, it was wonderful to learn that Richmond is one of the three finalists in the Northern Cape for dorp of the year, along with Sutherland and Douglas. An SMS to 33157 R1.50 to cast your vote!

Forever BoekBedonnerd 

As a sort of post script with special reference to up coming election….don’t forget to get out there and vote… these very testing times every vote will definitely count… I append a little ditty from a book entitled On the Road To Lake Turkana” which described a safari we took some few years ago in which I discuss the “land issue” with an Ethiopian landowner. His views are indeed interesting and particularly African in outlook, despite the fact that he was from the landed gentry class of landowners. Hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 23 from “On the Road To Lake Turkana” (Published 2004)

                                    Issue 18.1                                                                         Started January  2019

Dear Karoosters,

If you are reading this, you have survived Christmas and the New Year festivities and are safely home and into the slog of the new year before us. Despite the raging pessimism brought on by the “onslaught” …I sometimes think th.2at the difficult times we went through in the PW era was some how easier to stomach, in no small part because we knew as South Africans we would survive our serious problems, that the Nats were not going to be in power forever and that we would all see a grand new dawn in our beloved country. We all knew it.

Today the life of this country seems to be predicated on the fact that we are destined to suffer under an ANC regime for almost ever. Sadly, you get what you voted for, but certainly the electorate is smart enough to see that we a change for the sake of change; that's the democratic way things work in a democracy? When the Tories, Democrats, Liberals and Republicans or who ever else has been ruling the roost for too long, it’s time to sweep the carpet clean. That sweep is long overdue in SA.

I am astonished that our new el Presidente Ramaphosa has manged to convince just about everyone including the press that he is our man and can and will reverse things. He’s been around for years now as one of the top peanuts during the heyday of state rape and capture. He knew what was going on and if he says he didn’t know anything (I am afraid that Nuremburg will prove otherwise), then he should have known. He was there. Why did he not do anything or utter a single note of objection to the criminal activity WE were all aware of. It shows a weak spine I am afraid.

We as a nation have been inured to the daily barrage of corruption and criminality of the government from municipal to provincial and federal. Our State Owned Enterprises have been ruined and pilfered, some beyond all hope of returning to normal. The new normal is a precipitous decline into a state of abject failure and dysfunctionality.

Are we doomed to fall into the condition of that retched country to our north? Zimbabwe is not down and out…it is out cold and in a coma. The poor people. Is this our fate? Under the ANC I think so. To up date an old South African slogan: “Will we ever see Freedom from the Tyranny of the ANC in our Lifetime?” South Africa survived 40 years under the Nats, which also turned us into the most modern, developed and wealthy country in Africa, notwithstanding the development of the apartheid system.

Everyone in South Africa including the mid-range press asks with plaintive outstretched hands, “who else can run the country?” ABANC……anybody but the ANC. The ANC has shown very clearly that is incapable of running and governing South Africa. They are past their sell by date, they are an expired movement with no ideas and clearly lacking intelligent leaders and functionaries, to be of any service to this country. The only service they can render is to continue being a massive blood sucking parasite on the state which they have continued to demonstrate they are oh so capable of! That is the raison d’être of the ANC; to stay in power for the sake of power, all the while treating the South Africa treasury as their personal bank account. This is borne out daily from the Zondo Commission.

You know I never really liked that EC Watson family. They always smelt of some stink of duplicitousness. Luke, a small yet decent rugby player, but arrogantly full of himself, did not fall far from the tree. His family has shown its true colours. They are as big a gang of crooks and the Grand Master Zuma.  Zuma was their hero and role model. Will we see them all in jail?

So, who else, we all must ask? At present the ANC holds a tidy majority of almost 50 seats, but if every opposition party put their shoulders to the wheel and presented to the electorate an honest face and agenda that is reasonable, and to work in a grand coalition party of all present-day parties in the opposition, then we might just have a chance. The EFF is the loose cannon with a genetically inherent systemic corruption on the scale of the ANC from which it was derived of course. They learned at their masters’ feet very well you would have to admit. They would have to be part of the grand coalition, but it is only hoped that they are reduced to even more minor players on the parliamentary playing field if voter start to see them as the real danger to this country.

Machiavellian politics at its most sublime. Pity South Africa that we are reduced to this.

We are surely well overdue a shocking vote against the political party which has laid bare this country. The ANC has singularly managed to commandeer and direct our economic standing to that of genuine begging bowel Third World back water. Our education and public health are at the bottom of the international totem pole, our SOE’s have been raped and ransacked and the big daddy of big daddies, ESKOM has been destroyed; from a once profitable company in 2008 to one with a debt of R400 Billion plus and rising. This government, no rather this political party, has produced a generation of functionally illiterate unemployable young people and yet it bull shits itself into believing that everything is just OK!



So South Africa its high noon at the OK Corral, it’s time for good men and women to do whatever is necessary to stave off a disaster.

Just Do It…


The seemingly inevitable is not so if good men and women stand up and be counted.

As we put this first newsletter of the year together, we are not yet dead in the water as regards our plans to host a Booktown Richmond side show in Mtunzini on the last weekend in May. We have a letter of intent from the Department, but it still requires the approval of the HOD. We live in hope, but rest assured that if the ching ching comes through we promise a really great show in Mtunzini.

Watch this space.

Some things pretty exciting are on the horizon in Richmond. The old Masonic Hotel which faces onto Pienaar Street, the street below the main drag, Loop Straat, and which had fallen to almost ruin has been rescued by a couple of young and very aspiring hoteliers from Joey. They are planning to completely restore and renovate the iconic building which apparently once hosted Oom Paul Kruger. They have the full support of Booktown Richmond.

We have always contended that the growth of Booktown Richmond and in particular BookBedonnerd, have been limited by the number of guest beds in and around the dorp. The new Richmond Karoo Hotel will certainly be a big push towards the critical mass required to keep a small platteland dorp alive and indeed vibrant……when Richmond can proudly boast that it has a pub crawl of note then I reckon we will have made it. 

Aubrey Williams | Owner & Innkeeper
Loop Street, Richmond, Northern Cape
076 886 0262    |

                      You can have a look at our campaign on the Thundafund website :     

Sadly, we have to report the deaths of two of our long time and stalwart supporters almost form the get go. Mike Norris, Booktown Richmond and Muraltown Richmond has left us with a legacy of wall paintings to always remember him by. Mike was a great guy and story teller and we shall all miss him.

John Cameron-Dow well known writer and Richmond patriot who wrote the seminal book on the Comrades Marathon as well as the unauthorised Biography of FW De Klerk has left us to run the longest of marathons and we shall also miss him and his languid discussions. For those who got up with the sparrows he was also there on Loop Street in his red shorts pounding the street from one end to the other.

We have just received news that the old Richmond Lodge, which stands at the bottom of Spring Street, has been re-opened and rebranded as The Richmond Booktown Lodge. Annie and Dave have done a super job renovating the place and it looks great from the pictures. Secure parking and best of all everything in town is no more than a minute or two walk. 

                                                             (The Richmond Booktown Lodge 082-777-2760) 

So put down in your diary, the last full weekend in October, viz October 23-26, the 23 rd being the prestigious South African Independent Publishers presentations and Awards Banquet. Always a great thrash!


Forever BookBedonnerd