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Videos: Fynbos Fairies Flit to Life for Appreciative Audience, Young and Old

Antjie Explains her Passion for RhymesNotwithstanding the Cape Town Book Fair launch of Antjie Krog and Fiona Moodie’s Fynbos Fairies / Fynbosfeetjies, a second event to help spread the word about this delight of a book was called for – and so it was that the Gardens Wordsworth was packed two nights ago with rhyme-lovers young and old.

In fact, all three of the authors associated with the book put in appearances: Krog, Moodie and Gus Ferguson, who translated Krog’s fairy rhymes into English – sometimes so well that, as Krog admitted during her introduction, she was forced to revisit and improve upon her original efforts!

Before reading from the book, Krog made what she called “a plea for rhymes”. She urged her listeners to consider the power of the rhyme, revealing some of her research on the subject, most notably the fact that “a child of four who has memorized four nursury rhymes will at eight be the best reader in her class… rhymes bring the basic structure of language to a child.”

Anouk GorenOne of the main inspirations behind the book was fortunately on hand to agree: little Anouk Goren, pictured here, Krog’s granddaughter and a “fairy freak” of note, according to her father. It was Anouk, playing in the garden with her fairy friends, who first brought it to her grandmother’s attention that the only narratives about flower fairies available (until now!) all came from England. The moment had arrived to bring indigenous sprites to life.

In that respect, Fiona Moodie’s lavish – and botanically correct – illustrations are more than just aids to the eye: they are fairies frozen in mid-skip -flit and -dance.

The pleasure that rhymes give to listeners of all ages was evident in the readings that evening: both Ferguson and Krog produced peals of laughter from their listeners – showing us how to read nursury rhymes properly. Here are two video highlights; and visit the BOOK SA YouTube channel for several more.

(Click the play buttons below to watch; or if the videos don’t load or are too fuzzy, watch them on the BOOK SA YouTube channel.)

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More photos from the event:

Talia Sanhewe, Antjie Krog, Justin Fox and Helen Moffett


Nicholas Appelbaum, Anna Baumann, Michaela Younge, Glenda Younge and Clara Baumann


Fiona Moodie


Rethie Laubser, Caroleen Davidson and Val Fowler