Südafrika in Wort und Bild

MARIE BREYTENBACH is a widow in her forties living in Germany. The loss of her husband remains the central part of her life. She has no ambition for social contacts and keeps to herself.


Everything changes when she receives a letter from her brother KRIS, asking her to come back to South Africa and see their farm once more before it will be destroyed. The government plans to build a reservoir and put the whole valley with its South African culture under water. Marie visits the farm with her brother. She realises she is on the crossroads of her life; she decides to stay and write her memoirs and paint again. Kris helps her to find a place in Cape Town where she first starts painting. Cape Town proves to be too dangerous; there are riots in the street; Marie moves to Stellenbosch.


After a year Kris asks her to see what had happened. He had thought that maybe their farm had not been flooded after all; Standing on the broad rim of the reservoir dam he sees through his binoculars that the house is still there. However, there are no roads left, and they could only reach the farm when they would build a bridge over the gorge.

Marie wants to repurchase the farm to build a hotel for people who are looking for peace. They could only reach the farm on horseback;


Marie sees the government officials. They tell her that she can’t buy the farm back, as it does not exist in their books anymore. They sold it to the previous owners. The mayor proves to be very understanding, and he uses his contacts to help her. DIRK VENTER of the press assists her in submitting her story; the reason for coming back to South Africa; she presents it to him together with her memoirs, selling them to the newspapers and large magazines. It appears in a weekly column.


She could only reach the farm on horseback; they had to broaden the footpaths of the coloured workers and build a hanging bridge before guests could come. She borrowed a horse to visit the farm from time to time.


Marie succeeds in building her hotel with the help of complete strangers.

She meets a man whom she had known as a child; they fall in love and get married. PATRICK is a journalist and searched for her when he read in the newspapers what had happened. She never changed her name when she married her German husband, therefore, he was able to find her.


After a while Patrick wants to go to Europe again; they leave by ship to Turkey, where he writes a documentary. Marie is homesick for her country and her farm.

When they return, Marie succumbs for the first time since their marriage to his lovemaking with pleasure. Her world is in order again.








“… Come here if you would like to see our old house and the farm once more before they destroy everything. ….”


Her brother Kris had written the letter. Marie Breytenbach couldn’t open it at once; the shock sat too deep.

She turned it around and saw his address. Her heart fluttered. They had gone their separate ways, knowing nothing of each other. She put the letter down unopened and went into the kitchen, boiling a tea; then she returned to the desk with the letter on it. With trembling fingers, she tore open the envelope. What did he mean? Their farm destroyed?


She searched for comfort in her surroundings. Pacing back and forth, she examined all the little things of which she had become so fond. For a long time, these walls had been her tiger’s cage; nobody entered her private life. At first, she was reluctant and did not want to leave. What would she find there, in a country she had left so long ago? Her income was moderate, just enough to live. But what kept her here?

Her decision had been made.


The days, in which she had to prepare everything, went by. She gave up her office job, cancelled the rent and gave away her plants. When it was time to leave she stood in her former flat and looked at herself in the mirror. The green eyes with the brown specs, which had been so full of life and had bewitched so many people before, were clouded with dark circles and now lay deep in her sunken face, like emeralds covered with dust. Her cheekbones pale and fallen-in; the once prominent dimple in her right cheek invisible; the lips that once loved to kiss had become a hard line. She stroked her hair back, and for the first time since her beloved husband died, she used lipstick again.


.“I’m fourty, but still alive,” she whispered defiantly to her reflection in the mirror."



Chapter 1



Marie sank back against the wooden bench. The steam engine whistled and jerked as it pulled the passenger carriages across the stark beauty of a Karoo landscape with endless arid plains and intriguing rock layers. Everything felt remote and numb as she listened to the monotonous rhythm of the train wheels as they went over the narrow-gauge tracks. She watched the telegraph wires rise and fall, rise and fall.


Marie got up and pulled the train window down to let in some fresh air. Small dots of sweat stood on her brow; the noise of the shrill whistle and the chug-chug of the train as it inched along; black rust particles settling immediately on all objects as billowing clouds of black steam swirled into the compartment. She hastily shut the window again. Sitting down she dabbed her eyes; taking a look at her surroundings; wooden panels, green vinyl benches. She was not alone, in one corner hunched an elderly couple. The woman was busy knitting, her eyes glued to her knitting work. The wrinkled Shar-Pei of a man opposite her was probably her husband; a face covered by a cob-web of wrinkles. He held a newspaper in front of him not reading.

Was he hiding from her, not wanting to involve in a conversation?


On the other side, a lean, very intellectual looking young man with black spectacles was leaning against the wooden bench, reading a very intellectual-like book. Otherwise, the 3rd class carriage was empty."


This is a sample text. Please contact me for the full manuscript.




When Jericho Writers asked their members to post an honest review about how it works for them, I immediately felt the urge to comply with this request.


Up to now, I have written my novels in German in Self Publishing; However, I needed in-depth editing, costing quite a lot. I am multi-lingual (Afrikaans, English, Dutch, German and Swedish); More likely you could call it non-lingual. I can’t use any language anymore perfectly. I’ve stopped writing.


Two years ago I went to see our childhood farm one more time after 59 years., memories overcame me. When I stood on the rim of the gorge “donga” the rock on which I stood broke loose; I fell 4 metres into the gully. I was severely hurt, but alive. It was then it began to revolve in my mind something I had hitherto only dreamed of, to write down the memories of the farm, but covering it in fiction. My new novel was born.


Here Jericho Writers came in. I was amazed by the friendly personal help I received. All my questions were answered quite prompt. I decided to submit the first three chapters for an overview, scared about the feedback, as I was quite sure my English would never be up to standards.


I received a personal report from an editor for these three chapters regarding the overall formatting and length, the overall quality of writing and presentation, the commercial potential, structure, voice and style, characterisation and dialogue, plotting, pacing and tension, as well as feedback on specific editorial points.

“My novel has great potential but at the moment deeply flawed by an unstable use of some of the historic present/past tense and some uncertain use of English.”


I went through this feedback point by point and started to study English grammar. I began reading English novels, and now, a couple of months later, I have the feeling I am getting somewhere.


What helped me as well was watching the videos of Harry Bingham, giving so many tips and tricks. I also attended a webinar, but there my main problem was that I hardly understood what was said. The audio in itself was not good; many words I’ve never heard and sometimes the slight dialect of the person made it hard (for me) to understand.


The Townhouse community where fellow authors give their critiques had been helpful to me. Here you can get feedback from different authors, who of course see things differently. I was told here as well that my story was good, but my English not. Some gave me direct help. It is a forum that is extremely helpful.

Overall I can say that becoming a member of Jericho Writers was the best thing I did in a long time.


A great Thanks for all your help.





Für meine Freundin Marian Haan, die ihr 70es Geburtstag am 7. März feiert


"Waltraud Meckel: Liebe Elizabeth Kott, es war die beste Lesung die ich bisher erlebt habe!!

Man oh man Elizabeth , Deine Lesung in Ffm. Grießheim war ne Wucht! Einfach spitze! Die Gäste waren mit Herz und Seele dabei. Die Lesung und Dich wird so schnell keiner vergessen."


Dieses wunderbare Feedback kam von einer Zuhörerin. Ich bin total von der Socke.

 Ich habe es allerdings auch sehr schön gefunden. Es waren insgesamt (ein paar sind früher gegangen, aber dafür habe ich für diese Gruppe alleine aus meinem Krimi gelesen) so 20 Personen. Sie waren wirklich sehr interessiert, haben mit Fragen unterstützend gewirkt. Waltraud und ich haben auf jeden Fall tolle Kontakte geknöpft. In kürze werden wir zusammen in der Stadtbibliothek von Griesham eine Vernissage und gemeinsame Lesung anbieten. Ihr werdet rechtzeitig informiert werden.


Hier folgen noch ein paar Bilder.




Herzlich willkommen!

























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