Former PMB resident presents ‘warm’ Will and Kate with her two children’s books

2014-04-15 00:00

A FORMER Pietermaritzburg woman yesterday presented the charming children’s books she has written to the proud parents of a sweet baby boy.

Nothing unusual in that perhaps, unless the little lad happens to be George, the King of England in-waiting.

Clare Erasmus, a former sociology lecturer at the University of Natal, now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is the author of two children’s books about a young church mouse that lived in the Christchurch Cathedral when a devastating earthquake struck New Zealand in February 2011, destroying much of the city and damaging the cathedral extensively.

Erasmus presented her books to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Will and Kate, yesterday while the pair, with their first child George, are on an official tour.

Speaking to The Witness afterwards from Christchurch, a very excited Erasmus said the royals had been “amazingly warm and very approachable”.

She said they had playfully joked about who would read the stories to little George first and she had replied that there were two books, so they could each read one.

“They were very encouraging. I spent about three minutes chatting to them.”

Asked about her impressions of the young royal mother, Erasmus said, “Kate is absolutely gracious and seemed quite sincere and very interested. She is beautiful. She was so warm and embracing that my nervousness disappeared. The experience was quite surreal at first.”

Erasmus’s books about the mouse Kia Kaha promote the message, “Keep going and don’t give up”, in the wake of the devastation of the earthquake.

She said she loves living in Christ­church and New Zealand. “It’s very similar to South Africa.”

After the earthquake there had been an exodus of people from the city, but she and her husband Conrad were not prepared to leave.

“It’s a slice of heaven.”

Erasmus now teaches at a Christ­church school.

Her brother, Rodger Ferguson of Pietermaritzburg, said he was “very proud” of his sister.

Ferguson, who alerted The Witness to his sister’s achievement, said ‘Kia Kaha’ is a Maori phrase meaning, ‘Stay strong’.

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