The Island That DaredSOUTH FROM THE LIMPOPO


Publisher: John Murray
Published:1997
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0719557897
Extent: 432

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When Dervla Murphy first pedalled across the Limpopo she fancied that she ‘understood’ South Africa’s problems because for more than forty years she had – from a distance – taken a particular interest in them.  Twelve hours later that illusion was shattered.

South from the Limpopo reflects her moods of confusion and elation, hope and disappointment as she tries to come to terms with a country even more complex and fractured – but also more flexible – than she had expected.  Her journey of over 6,000 miles took her through all nine provinces of the new South Africa.  From remote impoverished ex-homeland villages, to the luxurious homes of rich whites, the scruffy homes of poor whites and in the black township of Khayelitsha, Dervla experienced the contrasting social conditions of South Africa’s people.  Dervla Murphy bicycled alone through this extraordinary and haunting nation during a period of great uncertainty and tumultuous change (before, during and after the elections) with her remarkable ability to mix and share with people of all colours, creeds and political persuasions, she provides a unique perspective on South Africa with its apparently insoluble problems and desperate inequalities – a country she truly came to love.

'To call Dervla Murphy a travel writer is a serious understatement.'  Donald Woods, Sunday Times

'Dervla Murphy admits that she has ‘become inexplicably attached to this crazy country’.  The measure of her achievement is that she gets her reader to share wholeheartedly in that attachment.'  Tim Heald, Literary Review