Dromedary: Camelus dromedarius—one-humped camel.
Camels are commonly regarded as carriers—of both people and merchandise.
In the context of Dromedaris, the reference is primarily to the ship of that name—one of the three vessels which brought Jan van Riebeeck and his small group of people to South Africa, from Holland, in 1652, in order to establish a refreshment station on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. Their mandate was to provide the ships plying between Europe and the East, with commodities essential for the well-being of the souls on board. Out of that handful of people grew a nation—as the French Huguenots arrived to join the Dutch, followed by the German and, in 1820, the British settlers. Our mandate in the Dromedaris Concept was to try and bring a different kind of fare, back from South Africa, to the rest of the world. .... Our books, which had not been available beyond the borders of the country.
These, we have stipulated, will not necessarily be about South Africa (although many will). All will have been written by acclaimed, expatriate South African authors. Some will have been previously published; others will have been translated for us—preferably by the authors, themselves—from the original Afrikaans; and it is hoped, that in time, the Afrikaans versions will also be readily obtainable in North America. Featured here is the author of 21 books, seven of which have been written in Canada and are readily available.
South Africa's unofficial ambassador in Canada
Marie Warder—an unsung public relations officer for South Africa, the country of her birth.
North Americans are now learning things about South Africa and Southern Africa that they never knew before. For example, when Marie Warder overheard a clerk at Veteran Affairs Canada, state that South Africa was 'never in the war!' loyalty to her husband's South African squadron immediately triggered the writing of 'With no remorse....' set in Malta, and complete with a photo of the South African Air Force band 'The Venturians'. Marie sets another novel in a Johannesburg newspaper office during World War 2, so that she can make mention, among others, of Jan Smuts, Dan Pienaar and South Africans in POW camps. Saddened by widespread ignorance of South African history, she tells the story of Van Riebeeck, the Dromedaris, Paul Roux, the Huguenots—and the avaricious, unscrupulous governor, Adriaan van der Stel.
It is not surprising therefore, that reviews on Amazon.com and Chapters/Indigo.ca, as well as references on Google and other search engines, reveal how many of Marie Warder's readers, falling in love with South Africa, now want to go there for themselves. She promotes South African Airways, Castle Beer and such uniquely South African delicacies as biltong, koeksusters, braaivleis, vetkoek and beskuit; weaving them so skilfully into her tales, that is not unusual for readers to write for more information, ask for recipes and express surprise upon learning that the blooms they love in North America are called Barberton daisies in South Africa, for good reason. Her obvious love—for the Orange Free State, the Basotho people of her youth, as well as her affection for Kempton Park, (where she founded a private school), Parys (where everyone now wants to go fishing)—shines through in every chapter of every novel she pens.
In 'When you know that you know, that you know! (2005)—her most successful novel to date—Nelspruit is her choice for the setting. From there her readers are transported to the other end of the African content, in the swashbuckling adventure: Dominic Verwey—SAMARITAN OF THE SAHARA.
Marie Warder's book 'The Yardstick'—volume three of the much-loved Beauclaire series—takes us to a unique part of South Africa, the Kalahari Desert, in the country's largest province, which is also the one with the smallest population density. The book is set in three different places. To begin with there is the remote farm, 'Blouspruit' which, to quote the book's narrator, was 'invariably referred to as 'Verlate Vlakte' (which means something like 'forsaken', or 'deserted plain') rather than by its real name, which one could translate as 'Blue Stream.' However, after the tragedy, Mark, my husband, used to refer to it as 'Rooi Verdriet' (Red Sorrow), which I considered more appropriate, on account of the sorrow inside, and the red sand outside of it; and, in any case the word, 'vlakte' was hardly appropriate, because 'Blouspruit' lies among the dunes. Those red, red dunes....'
From there we are taken to an upscale suburb of Johannesburg. However readers may also look forward to being re-united with Benjamin Ashton and his family on 'Beauclaire', the now familiar citrus farm near Nelspruit.
South Africans who have long had to resort to online purchase of our books, or flock to book stores while on visits to Canada, will be pleased to learn that all the novels in the Dromedaris 'Stories from South Africa' series, as well as the non-fiction book, 'The Bronze Killer', are now obtainable in South Africa. (Details on our 'Buy a Book' Page.)
Thanks for your visit!
Dromedaris Books 10/2012