Text & Pictures by Julienne du Toit & Chris Marais
There’s an ever-increasing gang of us living in the outlands of South Africa, former city slickers who have moved to the platteland.
We have resettled in more than 1 000 little dorps and villages around the country, bringing our skills, savings and business ideas to the melting pot of the rural areas.
That’s what our latest book Moving to the Platteland – Life in Small Town South Africa, is all about. It tells the stories of more than 200 down-sizers (we prefer to call them ‘right-sizers’) who have made the leap from city to small town.
But it’s not just a rosy picture of life in the country. We give you the warts and all, the ups and the downs, the successes and the failures. That’s what makes Moving to the Platteland such a good reading companion for anyone itching for open skies, country roads and a simpler way of life.
We are former Jo’burgers who have been living in the Karoo Heartland town of Cradock for the past 11 years. As freelance photojournalists, we have had access to hundreds of homes over the decades, and the stories that lie in them.
So it’s our own experiences and those of many others that make up the substance of this book.
Moving to the Platteland will help you to choose the right town, relocate your business, find the right school for your kids, live off the grid and become a player in the domestic tourism industry. You will also hear how others have become part of the great rebuild of South Africa, by making a change in their new neighbourhoods.
The world is urbanising at an alarming rate. South African cities, in particular, are taking strain. Two-thirds of our people are now city dwellers.
Moving to the Platteland, however, tracks the growing population trickle-back of counter-urbanisation. Ultimately we offer hope for renewal and a way forward based on the successes of platteland pioneers.