Where the cool Warrichi flows
By Jim Allen ; with illustrations by Dell Hall. Melbourne : Macmillan, 2003. Octavo, boards in dustjacket, pp. 144, illustrated.
“The seven short stories included in this delightful book recall incidents from Jim Allen’s childhood spent in a mixed-race community in South Arfica’s rural Transvaal where his father opened a trading store. Born in 1925, Allen later studied English, Afrikaans, Latin and Greek at Witwatersrand University and English at Oxford. After migrating to Australia in 1962 he taught at the University of New South Wales. He dedicates his book to the three groups of people – Shangaan, Afrikaans and English-speaking – whose friendships and conflicts moulded him. ‘What my sister Dell and I have set out to do is to recover a lost world – in fact, two worlds: one, arising out of memories of our childhood on the farm, Marite, in the Eastern Transvaal in South Africa from the time of the Great Depression till the beginning of the Second World War: the other, including the South African War (‘Boer War’), 1900-1902, but reaching back in time to the early 1880s before my parents were born, a time when my great uncle, E. L. (Lil) Banger, adventured up northward from Durban, fired a shot at the Pietermaritzburg town hall clock to test his first rifle, and began his life as a hunter and trader, eventually buying the farm Marite for half-a-crown a morgen in 1908. In 1921 my father, R. C. Allen, joined his uncle at Marite as a partner in his native trading store. They used a purple letterhead figuring a handsome bushbuck ram reclining, and the words BANGER AND ALLEN. They also had an antique Remington typewriter.'”