KZN duo spread message that SA is ‘awesome’

2010-05-06 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL duo is working hard at spreading the message that South Africa is awesome.

Durban’s Derryn Campbell and Pietermaritzburg’s Di Smith founded the non-profit organisation Awesome SA in 2007 and have been hard at work spreading South African cheer ever since.

The organisation’s newest project — Campbell’s colourful coffee table book aptly named Awesome South Africa — has been causing a stir since it came back from the printers just two weeks ago.

Even without a publisher, the book has become a word-of-mouth hit, with book stores running out of stock already.

The book is a visual feast, with carefully designed pages providing funny South African anecdotes and interesting statistics.

Some pages are quirky. For example, an overview of unique South African birds is concluded with a profile of the country’s most famous “bird” — Evita Bezuidenhout.

Others are more serious. A double-page spread highlights the risks and myths around HIV/Aids.

Smith says Campbell worked non-stop on the book, which was compiled in 18 months.

“I knew if I didn’t have it off to the printers by March this year, I would miss 2010. I worked around 18 hours a day — including Christmas!” says Campbell.

The women say they hope, through the organisation and the book, to see South Africans proud of their country and heritage.

“We want to see civil society changing attitudes and making a difference, instead of always pointing a finger at government.”

Campbell says: “We know there is a lot of frustration, and we are not saying that South Africa is perfect.”

Smith adds: “But we tend to focus on the negative and we forget to appreciate the beauty and positivity around us.”

Campbell will be at Exclusive Books, Liberty Midlands Mall on Saturday, May 22, to sign copies of Awesome South Africa.

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