The new For the Love of the Land book attracted a record-breaking crowd at its recent launch function held in the Western Cape. More than 250 people – many whom have traveled from different neighbourhoods on the Cape Flats and even as far as the Eastern Cape – descended on Paarl to hear authors Ivor Price and Kobus Louwrens speak about their labour of love.
Erika Oosthuyzen, head of non-fiction at publishing giant NB Publishers, says the big turnout was the biggest she’s ever seen at a South African literature event. “I have never seen so many people at a book launch, especially farmers. The perception of a farmer being only a white Afrikaans speaking male with long socks and short pants have been standing in the way of good relationships. The timing of this book is absolutely spot on and very much necessary.”
For the Love of the Land has had the tongues wagging since it first hit bookstores three weeks ago. The book features essays on 30 diverse Mzansi farmers, including Wadea Jappie from Phillipi in the Western Cape, Max Ndamane from Richmond in the Northern Cape and Nokamile Manjuza from Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape.
Amongst the mesmerized crowd counted Dr Marlene le Roux, CEO of the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town and co-founder of the Women’s Achievement Network for Disability, as well as farmers Alfreda Mars from Moorreesburg, Dr Pieter Prinsloo from Queenstown, Kosie van Zyl from Napier, Wayne Mansfield from Pniel, Eugene and Allan Simons from Firgrove and Whernit Dirks from Piketberg.
During a brief question and answer session led by radio personality Martelize Brink, Le Roux said that she was appreciative of the book’s release because she grew up, worked on a farm and recalls the struggles that came with it. “The For the Love of the Land book relays two very important stories for me. One of farm workers and the other of successful black farmers who are doing exceptionally well in the industry,” she said.
Le Roux went on saying that being a farmer in South Africa is not easy. “Kobus and Ivor have managed to capture a small part of my life in this wonderful book. I’m grateful that they brought these wonderful farmer stories to our attention.”
Gary Patience, a farmer from Saron in the Western Cape, was first in line to buy a copy of the thought-provoking book and said that he could not wait to get home and start reading it. He says, “Agriculture is such a big sector and I think the book explores many wonderful stories that we have not previously heard.”
German social entrepreneur Gunnar Oberhoesel, who was invited by Price, says although he has not yet read the book he looks forward to binge-reading his friend’s book. “I love that the book shares deep personal stories of farmers. It’s important to share these kinds of stories in order to fully appreciate the work and effort farmers put in.”
On Tuesday, 3 December at 19:00 readers in Centurion, Gauteng will attend the third launch of For the Love of the Land where both Price and Louwrens will be sharing the book and agricultural insights at the InnJoy Boutique Hotel. To confirm your attendance e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Love of the Land is available at bookstores nationwide for R240 and will also be sold at the Centurion launch function where the authors will sign copies.