Some of the comments, testimonials and book reviews on "Children of the Mist"
Children of the Mist is great and we are very grateful for what you have done - Griqua National Council, Kranshoek
Extracts from book reviews (scan of articles linked behind paper's title):
Scott Balson has spent 30 years researching and
collecting artefacts linked to South Africa's lost tribe, but as stated in
the introductory remarks, he took the time to double check all his historical
facts with experts in South Africa before finally printing the shocking,
astonishing, interesting, fascinating story of a people very little has been
known about until now. Online article
The Pretoria News, 7th January 2008
Paramount Chief of the Griquas, Alan le Fleur, said they were honoured by Children of the Mist and took great pride in it. "Many of our people do not know enough about our history and this book will go a long way in correcting that," he said.
The Kranshoek community hall was filled to capacity
at the launch.
Online article here.
The Herald (Western Cape) 24th October 2007.
Griekwa-geskiedenis in boek belig
Balson het 30 jaar lank navorsing gedoen oor dié
inheemse volk voor hy die boek die lig laat sien het. Twee eksemplare van
die boek gaan ook aan oudpres. Nelson Mandela geskenk
Die Burger, 20th October 2007
The Strachan and Co coin was the inspiration for
a book about the Griqua people who have trekked the length and breadth of
South Africa. In his novel, Children of the Mist, Australian Scott
Balson retraces the steps of this lost tribe of Africa.
Sunday Tribune, (National Distribution) 7th October 2007
Although presented as a work of fiction Children
of the Mist gives an entirely factual account of the history of the Griqua
people - based on over 30 years of research.
Grocott's Mail (Grahamstown) 12th October 2007.
Children of the Mist has been adopted by the Griqua as their own... SABC 50/50 Television - 8.5mByte Videoclip behind this link (National Prime Time) the video clip - 29th October 2007
Children of the Mist tells the epic story
of the Griquas, initially pastoralists of mixed descent from their roots
in Cape Town to their subsequent expulsion and their various treks in the
interior to escape white persecution that eventually led to small scattered
communities found around the country today, not least the town they founded,
The Witness (Pietermaritzburg) 16th October 2007
I think that dramatising the events and using the
narrative structure has made Children of the Mist very easy to read
and high enjoyable. This was largely untold and untaught history, and
Balson’s book fills in some of the gaping holes in South African’s
The Citizen Newspaper (Johannesburg) 6th November 2007
Balson's interest in the Griqua was firmly set from the time he worked for Barclay Bank in Ixopo - working at the Umzimkhulu agency near Kokstad in the late 1970s. Brought up within a ‘colour blind’ environment, Balson set his mind to ‘changing’ the Griqua fate, and somehow ‘set it right’, some 30 years later. This is where his groundbreaking research and his book "Children of the Mist" took form.....
Scott Balson finds inspiration through “people
who take up unassailable things and win”, like Nelson Mandela. At a
recent meeting with Verne Harris, who is Project Manager for the Centre of
Memory at the Nelson
Mandela Foundation, Balson was told that Mr Mandela had read Children
of the Mist and that there might be a signed copy for him when he returned
to Johannesburg later this month.
Book News Online October 2007
Children of the Mist sets out to redress the inaccuracies of the past and set down a definitive record of the proud nation that is the Griqua people.
They were forced by white sellers into a situation where they could no longer live in the way their culture had evolved into over hundreds of years, and to which they had become accustomed.
Children of the Mist is a very readable book
and is a valuable and worthy account of the history of the
CXExpress (Plettenberg Bay) 31st October 2007
Le Fleur, who lives at Ratelgat near Vredendal, would like the book, Children of the Mist to create awareness about the Griqua in South Africa and abroad.
“We’d like people to see us, the Griqua as one of the most prominent cultural groups forming part of the greater South African community”, says Le Fleur.
“The reader should also understand that neither
Colonialism, nor Apartheid had the power to extinguish the fire of our cultural
identity, and that the Griqua is still very proud of their aboriginal roots
in Southern Africa.”
SA Booknews Online, November 2007
Media Comments on Presentation Copy....
Children of the Mist is a well timed contribution
to the revisionism that is taking place in South African literature particularly
in regard to the presentation of history, challenging the established wisdom
about the foibles of indigenous people.
Business Day Newspaper - Scan Weekend Review Feature Online at this link - Mlongisi Zondi (pg8 and 9) 23-24 September 2006
Children of the Mist is carefully researched
allowing the writer to thread an accurate picture of the lives of the (Griqua)
Kokstad Advertiser 24th August 2006
Endorsements by S African Museums
Children of the Mist is the first attempt to write a popular history of the Griqua. Mr Balson has succeeded in writing a thoroughly readable and sympathetic book, which covers 300 years of history - Milner Snell, Chair, Kokstad Museum
Children of the Mist is highly readable and well researched. There is a space on every historian's bookshelf for this publication.- Hetta Hager, Curator Mary Moffat Museum, Griquatown
Children of the Mist is stocked by Cape to Cairo - the bookstore located in the world famous Origins Centre at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg
I found Children of the Mist of great interest and it (the launch) made it extra special being surrounded by the Griquas.
They were most grateful to you for recording their history.
(Letter scanned right)
From Margaret Parkes, Chair of the Friends of the Knysna Library
Would that Children of the Mist had been around while I was still at school! And whether our sympathies are with the Boers or the Brits, we cannot but be moved by the plight of the Griquas in their lonely struggle for simple acceptance and a place to call their own.
Allyn Jacobs (Well known S African numismatist)
Extract commentary by Prof Paul Maylam (videoclip 5mByte), School of History, Rhodes University, Grahamstown - address given at Grahamstown launch of Children of the Mist at the Cory Library
Children of the Mist is a story about a frontier zone. It was an area where racial and ethnic identities were blurred, where people could not easily be categorised into groups. Because of a western obsession with categorising people they were given a collective name Griqua. As Scott shows once Voortrekkers arrived north of the Orange River in the mid 1800s they swindled the Griqua from their lands.
It is essentially a narrative vividly told by a versatile author.
Dear Mr Balson
I hope you are well. It was a pleasure to meet you at Spier in Stellenbsoch.
I am currently busy reading "Children of the Mist" and am enjoying, not sure enjoying is the right word for such a sad and touching story, it tremendously. I want to thank you for the empathy and understanding that is evident from the first word. You have truly managed to tell the story of a beautifull and sadly terribly neglected people without whom South Africa would have been immesurably poorer. I can only hope that your book will restore their place in South African history and contemporary society.
Best of luck and thank you.
Louis Nel (Nama Language Practitioner)
Congratulations on "Children of the Mist". It is quite remarkable. Michael Laidlaw sent me the copy that you had autographed for me in Pietermaritzburg. I've a few more pages and then will start over....so much history to absorb. If you are interested I would list and deliver the book in the USA. A dealer discount would cover most costs. If interested let me know details.....I would take 12 books to start...payment in advance.
Warren Biller (USA)
I sat down with your book at 9am and read all day till it got too dark to see! I must say I am finding it all most interesting and I guess because History was never my strong point at school, I actually never realised there was a difference between the Bushmen and the Hottentots! What an admission. Well done on a most readable book - your research must have been endless.
I trust you are well and enjoyed your time in S.A. I have been recieving good feedback from people who have read your book and have enjoyed it thoughroughly.
All the Best
Willowdale Lodge, Kokstad, East Griqualand
Tel: (039) 727 3870
Cell: 083-688 5817
Hi Mr Balson,
I would just like to tell you I really enjoyed your book. I bought it in Kokstad on the Saturday at the museum. It made really very interesting reading and opens a persons eyes to what happened all those years ago. I have made an extensive visit to your website and find it very informative. I have written to your Global Village Project as the Chief from the area is busy with a Cultural village and is looking at developing an area in the Umzimkulu area on part of the old family farm that was taken over by govt. in 1966. This farm was given to Richard B Hulley by Adam Kok in 1866 thanking him for what Richard had done for him with regards to getting his cattle back from the Baca Tribe. So reading your book was really fantastic to get more of an insight. The document signed by Adam Kok is in the museum in Grahamestown which is in away a pity it should have been given to the Kokstad museum as I feel it deals more with this area, but it has gone to the 1820 settlers ass.
Once again thank you for a fantastic read and also waking my interest more on the history of the are.
I ordered you book Children of the Mist from Exclusive Books and have read it. What a marvellous book. Congratulations. It is so packed with facts that I am going to read it a second time. It is also a very sad story of people who where disempowered because of changing circumstances and they could adapt to defend themselves on equal foot with the conquerers. You sketched the them with empathy against a bad historical background without blaming a certain group as the single culprits. Quite correctly, this world is not occupied by angels! (At this stage white people are tired of the simplistic view of being portrayed as the bad guys, and black people the good guys.) Back to the book: You opened my eyes for a very important part of the South African history which was up to now, totally neglected. Thank you.
I visited you website of your visit to Mapumalanga, inlcuding Pilgrims Rest - packed with information!
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