Tracing the footsteps of Alan Paton

2011-08-24 00:00

JEWEL Koopman, manuscript librarian of the Alan Paton ­Centre, will lead this month’s Woz’OCheka tour – the Alan ­Paton Literary Trail – on Sunday.

Pietermaritzburg was Paton’s “beloved city”, the place where he was born and bred — and it is here that a self-guided trail of sites linked to the author has been developed.

The trail, written by ­Koopman, with the support of Professor Lindy Stiebel, is part of the KwaZulu-Natal Literary Tourism project, and is based on earlier trails, such as the tour

organised by Joicelyn Leslie-Smith in September 1998, to ­celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Cry, the Beloved Country, and the Centenary Tour which Koopman organised in May 2006.

During the tour, participants will be able to visit 19 Pine Street, Paton’s childhood home; Russell High School (formerly Berg Street Girls’ School) on the ­corner of Chapel (Peter ­Kerchhoff) and Berg (Hoosen Haffejee) Streets, which he attended at the age of six; 16 Echo Road (formerly 551 Bulwer Street), the home bought by Paton’s father James in 1914; The Tatham Art Gallery (formerly the Supreme Court and Post Office), where James Paton worked as a shorthand writer in the Supreme Court; 10 Myhill Road (formerly 10 Gough/Howick Road), the home he shared with his wife, Dorrie, when he took up a post at ­Maritzburg College; Maritzburg ­College, which Paton attended as a pupil and later taught at; and the Alan Paton Centre at the ­University of ­KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg.

The tour will depart from the Voortrekker-Msunduzi Museum in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street at 9.30 pm, and lasts for three hours. Vehicles can be parked at the museum at a cost of R8.

To book and for more details, phone Pietermaritzburg Tourism at 033 345 1348.

The tour costs R50 and can be paid on the day of the tour, but must be booked in advance to ­facilitate transport arrangements.

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