By Julienne Du Toit
In the South African countryside, away from the rowdy cities, there is connection, trust, decency and neighbourliness. Does this mean there is still a place where communities work?
When my husband Chris and I left Joburg and moved to the Eastern Cape Karoo town of Cradock in 2007, our friends and family thought we were stark raving mad.
Many of them still want to know why we packed up our city lives to come to this Karoo river town. Actually, it’s a question that could be asked of any one of a growing tribe of South Africans who have sold up in the city and moved to a dorp in the platteland since the mid-1990s. So why Graaff-Reinet? Why Vanwyksdorp? Why Calvinia, Napier, Lady Grey, Toorwater, Bedford, Botrivier, Prince Albert, Gariep, Riebeek Kasteel, Brandvlei or any one of a thousand other specks on the map?
Graaff-Reinet’s centrepiece Moeder Kerk. Photo by Chris Marais
The biggest part of that answer is that the potential offered…