• Jeannette McGill

From my bookshelf: South African Reads

Updated: Aug 29



Growing up in a South African "seaside lego-land industrial village" (as I saw Port Elizabeth once described in a tourist guide-book); meant that mountaineering was not an immediately accessible activity or reading genre. My earliest memories were of devouring Bonnington and Boardman titles available through the library of the local section to the Mountain Club of South Africa - but more on those now historical tomes in a subsequent post. This post presents 4 of my "local is lekker" books. All individuals that I'm privileged so know personally, having even completed the odd mountain stroll with a few.


Poles Apart reads like elongated coffee chat among mates. The thoughts and experiences of the first two South African's to complete the Explorers Grand Slam showcase their experience and friendship achieved over numerous expeditions. Read along to experience Sean and Vaughan's banter and expedition wisdom first hand.


Left Foot - Right Foot tells Robby Kojetin's story of his journey from a crushing climbing gym accident through to his subsequent Everest summit; all told with Robby's characteristic humour and flare. Nothing seems to get him down!


Cullen is a non-fictional novel by the award winning short-story author and recently retired Underberg vet Tod Collins. One of the stalwarts of the Drakensburg community Tod weaves an intriguing tale that keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end.


Almost is the self-published, at 90 years old, memoir of Merve Prior who provides numerous vignettes across a life well-lived through mountaineering. The tale of the very first Mountain Club of South Africa expedition to the Jugal Himal of Nepal in 1978 is particularly interesting, as to his account of Pik Lenin which Alex Harris and Sean Disney were the first South African's to summit.


Wishlist: Sharper Edges: Stories Beyond High And Wild Places by Andy de Klerk

If anyone has a copy I would most grateful!


BTW: This blog is an affiliate of online bookstores. When you click on some book titles you will be directed to a website where you can purchase the pictured item. Should you choose to purchase the item I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All my opinions and suggestions are unbiased & based on my own extensive experience.

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