HAZEL CRAMPTON is a writer and artist, author of The Sunburnt Queen and the recently published The Side of the Sun at Noon, and coeditor of Into the Hitherto Unknown: Ensign Beutler's Expedition to the Eastern Cape, 1752. She currently teaches in the Master's in Creative Writing at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
ON MY bedside table is a weird collection of papers and books: articles and law journals on dagga for a book on the subject, which I finished writing yesterday and is to be published by Jacana early next year; a couple of back copies of the London Review of Books and Vanity Fair; and a screamingly funny book of silly quotations called The Funniest Thing You Never Said.
There's also a copy of William White's visit to Maputo in the late 18th century which I'm re-reading succinctly entitled Journal of a Voyage Performed in the Lion Extra Indiaman, from Madras to Columbo, and Delagoa Bay, on the Eastern Coast of Africa (where the Ship was Condemned) in the Year 1798.
It includes "Some Account of the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants of Delagoa Bay", and a "Vocabulary of the Language", and is complete with "f-es" for "s-es". And Giles Whittell's account of the U-2 Cold War fiasco, Bridge of Spies, which I'm finding especially interesting because I've recently been to Russia, and the 31oC heat of Moscow, its tulips, fountains and women in tight minis and killer heels, were a startling foil to the old USSR of the book and what I'd seen of East Germany before the Wall came down. Oh, and a copy of William Dalrymple's Return of a King, which I haven't got to yet.
By HAZEL CRAMPTON
Source: Cape Times