The very long and crippling southern African drought has virtually brought Karoo farming to its knees.
In most of the Northern Cape and now the Eastern Cape Karoo, there are five-year-old children who have not seen a decent spell of rain in their lives.
Farmers have slaughtered their stock, spent their savings and cashed in their retirement annuities to survive the drought, which in parts of the region has lasted for as long as seven years.
Government drought relief is insufficient and slow in arriving. Farms are closing down, families are temporarily splitting up and going in search of ‘town jobs’ like truck driving, shop-keeping, guest house reception, accounting…just about anything to put some food on the table.
Small towns are facing ruin, because most of their economies run on local farmer support: the co-op, the bakkie dealership, the restaurant, the accountant, the bank, the general goods store, the diesel mechanic and such. Thousands of farm workers are without jobs and have streamed into these already-stressed settlements with their families in the often-futile search for safe haven.
And just in case anyone thought this was an insignificant ‘platteland problem’, consider this.
During times of normal rainfall, Karoo farming employs around 100 000 people, contributes 30% of the country’s protein needs (mutton, beef and venison), a quarter of its wool and 100% of its mohair in addition to growing fruit, nuts and lucerne.
The seemingly-endless drought has also exposed a series of water crises in the towns, villages and settlements of the Karoo. Many places will soon run out of all available water sources if the killer drought continues.
Amid all this sorrow stands the Great Heart of ordinary South Africans, who have initiated several incredible drought relief projects to help the farmers, their wives, their workers and, ultimately, the whole country in their time of need.
The Gift of the Givers Foundation, Grain SA, The #ImStaying Facebook Group, Agri SA, various government departments, local musicians, other farming communities in less compromised areas and small town groups like Boks vir ‘n Boervrou (a box for a farmer’s wife) are just some of the incredible outfits that are crisscrossing the country with water, feed and food for the needy in the drought regions.
At Karoo Space, all we have to offer are our stories and some of the proceeds of our book sales. This is the deal, for anyone ordering from us via email:
An author-signed double book package (The Journey Man and Road Tripper Eastern Cape Karoo) for R400, which includes VAT, postage within South Africa and a R100 donation to one of the drought relief movements listed above.
If you already own one of the books on offer, consider buying the package anyway and using your spare book as a gift. You’ll be keeping Karoo Space on the road, and farming families on the land.
Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org with Drought Relief Books in the subject line. She will send payment details, process your order and send on your donation.
Please Note: This Drought Relief Book Offer is limited to two books (The Journey Man and Road Tripper Eastern Cape Karoo) and is only available from the Karoo Space platform via email order, and not from our network of dealers countrywide.