Much needed funds were raised and fun had by all at the launch of Voices from Cathcart, a book featuring stories from 68 people, including those whose roots in Cathcart go back to the early 1800s and even further.
The book also contains accounts from residents who have settled in the town as recently as two or 10 years ago. Some former residents who no longer live in the town, but who heard of the project via a local newsletter, also contributed.
The book has a variety of content including funny, romantic, dramatic, inspiring and tragic stories; memories of childhood and youth, poems and letters, war-time memories; accounts of life passions and enthusiasms and memories of life in the town.
The initial idea was running a memoir-writing workshop at the Callie Evens Lodge for lodge-dwellers and anyone else who was interested. However, the project soon developed and a couple of people recorded their stories first on an audio-recorder and then in written form. More and more people came forward to tell their stories, culminating in the 154-page book with 80 stories from 68 Cathcart people – and lots of pictures.
The launch on Friday took place at the Methodist Church Fellowship Centre and as much as R5 000 was raised from the sale of food and other items including pancakes, biscuits and rusks on offer at a number of market stalls. There were also beauty products, files for keeping a child’s school history and prints of photographs of some of the contributors to the book.
Contributor Anne Nash gave an introduction of how the book developed, while four others, including nine-year-old Taro Chiwara, read out excerpts.
Chiwara is the youngest contributor and the winner of the young people’s essay prize. She read her piece on “My Town” and Yvonne Tharratt, in her 80s, read parts of her childhood reminiscences in “Sophisticated ladies”.
Ace Makayi, one-time shop assistant at S&J and community leader, read his piece entitled “Learning to drive at S&J” while Kevin Wearing, long-time resident and local butcher, told his story of “The night Brandt’s supermarket burnt down”.
Head of Home at Callie Evens Lodge, Pat Stocks, gave very positive reaction to the publication of the book and editor Liz Botha thanked all who had helped to make it a success.
Botha said the launch was probably the first community event Cathcart had seen since the Covid-19 lockdowns. It was a sunny day with no wind and the turn-out was good, she enthused.
Anyone wanting to order a book should contact Botha on 082-780 1920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full colour copy costs R350 and a copy with black and white inner pages is R200.
All profits go to the Callie Evens Lodge. Books are also obtainable from the lodge and from Fogerty’s Book Shop in Gqeberha (PE).