Soulful South African road trip

2010-10-06 00:00

IT’S 2006 and Justin Fox’s father has been diagnosed with cancer. Torn between his urge to get onto the open South African road and his sense of duty to his family, Fox embarks on a marginal safari — a trip around the border of the country.

Starting at his home in Cape Town, Fox travels East to discover quaint towns and interesting characters. As an award-winning journalist and editor for Getaway magazine, Fox writes a thrilling travel book — one that reads like a story: full of intrigue and colour. Interspersed with explanations of the countryside and stories of the people he encounters, Fox explores the issues of identity and family.

He thinks of home often and describes the places his famous architect father Revel Fox shaped and visited. He speaks about his father and his take on his fatherland. It’s rich and soulful and, at times, almost heartbreaking. He describes his undertaking best on the first page of the book: “Restless, anxious about an uneventful slide into my late 30s, hungry for adventure — or colourful change at least — I’ve been craving the road for some time.”

Fox also makes interesting decisions in his trip. He decides to bypass the more “flashy”, well-known hotspots, choosing rather to take in the history and beauty of smaller, more out-of-the-ordinary places. Fox retains the authenticity of his encounters with the people in these places, by writing as though they were speaking to the reader directly.

The book has been described as a valuable piece of writing for all South Africans; one reader even said she had bought two copies for Fox to sign at the book’s launch so she could pass them on to her two young daughters. I too loved this book and, after reading it, feel the urge to embark on a “safari” of my own.

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