the journey man

The Journey Man

4.18 out of 5
(11 customer reviews)


A South African Reporter’s Stories
Retail Price: R200

“It’s like sitting in a journo bar listening to old hacks tell their funniest, sauciest stories.”

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the journey man

Who remembers the old Summit Club days in Hillbrow?


The Journey Man parachutes you back into the South Africa of the 1970s and the years leading up to the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

the journey man

Sailing down the Mississippi to New Orleans.

It was a time when Hillbrow hummed to a different tune. When the coolest newspaper in town was the Rand Daily Mail, and the naughtiest publication around was Scope Magazine.

the journey man

At sea with the diamond divers of Port Nolloth.

It was a time of nipple stars, test-pattern TV and the Soweto Uprising, as Grand Apartheid began to unravel. When the Silver Creek Mountain Band lit the night up with their magic fiddles, Eric Clapton came to visit and the Carlton Hotel was nearly blown up by three rough diamonds.

This was the era when Chris Marais plied his trade, first as a staff reporter for the Rand Daily Mail and then as an award-winning journalist for Scope. These are his stories.

Fill your glass to the brim. Get comfortable. You’re in for a helluva ride with The Journey Man and his old pals.

Want to see more?

Reviews of The Journey Man HERE

Riding with The Journey Man HERE

An Extract from The Journey Man HERE


4.18 out of 5

11 reviews for The Journey Man

  1. 4 out of 5


    Fantastic book – engrossing read thank-you!

  2. 5 out of 5


    Taking a journey with the Journey Man and loving it. Chris Marais you, my friend, are a wordsmith beyond compare. Loving your new book. Old hacks everywhere will love this saunter down memory lane. As am I. Find this book and read it. You’ll love it.

  3. 4 out of 5


    I met Chris decades ago when I wrote an article for SCOPE Magazine (yes, the one with the nipple stars) of which he was the then Jo’burg editor (the mag, not the nipples).

    For many years, I’ve looked up to him as one of the leading lights in the SA journalism firmament, and this is a perfect opportunity to peep behind the scenes of his exhilarating life #‎JourneyMan‬‬

  4. 4 out of 5


    Firstly I must say that I read purely for entertainment, I do not read non-fiction, I find it boring.

    However, this book is amazing. Entertaining, funny, and I just can’t wait to get back to it when I’m forced to put it down. Well done Chris Marais, it’s a fantastic read!

  5. 4 out of 5


    Outstanding! When is Journey Man 2 due?

  6. 4 out of 5


    Personally, I can hardly wait for the next one. I’m biased of course, but I do know a good read when I see one.

  7. 4 out of 5


    I read quite a bit last night, what a ride! You certainly bring those years back to life, and you can have no regrets about a life unlived.

    I am enjoying every word, and the turn of phrase you honed over all those years is still very much with you.

  8. 5 out of 5


    If you want a “transport of delight”, a stirring, evocative, memorable, engrossing, compelling, funny journey through the world in your lifetime, in this country, look no further than “The Journey Man – A South African Reporter’s Stories” by the best travel writer on the continent, Chris Marais.

  9. 4 out of 5


    The read certainly was a journey with you – through your spirited youth, your travels in the U.S., across South Africa and through the years.

    All the way your unmistakable Chris-voice gave your experiences vivid life. Each read was like a visit with you, and I could read a chapter and put the book down, knowing it would be easy to “drop back in” when time permitted a visit with you again.

    I loved the insider’s experience of South African events to which most of us simply were not privy. I loved the characters you encountered, and the oh-so-South African feel of your narrative.

    For someone so far away from South Africa, it was an emotional experience reading your book, and all the more so knowing you. It is not easy writing all about oneself, and you did it candidly. Thanks for your work, your art.


  10. 4 out of 5


    Chris Marais’ The Journey Man is very, very funny and also a reminder of what is was like 25 – 30 years ago. It’s like sitting in a bar, listening to a great story teller.
    It you can get hold of a copy grab it. Read it to remind yourself of why we still love this crazy, mixed-up country with its crazy, mixed-up people. – Mary Myrdal

  11. 4 out of 5


    To read Chris Marais as a fellow hack is to drink deep from the cup of nostalgia for a time we all experienced with a familiar cast of media players – many of whom are no longer with us

    The Journey Man is not so much a voyage into the past, as a teleportation into a parallel space time continuum in which we were all younger, crazier, and ready to conquer the world. It’s with a sense of wistfulness that I revisit that now foreign land and see it through older, sadder, but (hopefully) wiser eyes.
    Chris Marais

    Chris Marais, a consummate narrator …

    The Journey Man jogs the most jaded of memories. Thanks to Marais I flash back to a younger time when the bedazzlements of strobe lights and Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff throbbed through the speakers of The Grand Wazoo in Pretoria. Marais’ memory of that bastion of sophistication and everything hitherto forbidden, is more prosaic.

    He calls the club from the newsroom of the Pretoria News. “Hello, is that the Grand Wazoo?

    “No I’m just the cleaner,” comes the response.

    The hilarious Marais is a consummate narrator, freshening up familiar territory with his philosophical, gossipy, and always entertaining prose. Who doesn’t remember Hillbrow in the early 80s? Who didn’t drink coffee and play backgammon at Café Wien? Who didn’t browse through Hillbrow Records, Estoril Books, explore the flea market in the basement on Pretoria Street or buy a brown chicken from Fontana at 3am?
    Who doesn’t remember Hillbrow in the early 80s?

    Who doesn’t remember Hillbrow in the early 80s?

    Here’s Hillbrow through the Chris Marais lens, kicking off with a bout of female mud wrestling:

    “… full tilt, nipple caps flying, panties slipping down to reveal G-strings, legs akimbo, eyes full of oil …

    “…a suicide story. Some kids smoked one white pipe over the limit and threw themselves out of a flat on the 20h floor. They left no notes …”

    “Mother Hillbrow is a filthy bitch at sunrise …”

    Marais even writes about the Hillbrow Herald – that long-defunct “knock-and-drop” where I first cut my own journalistic teeth … yup, those were the heady, halcyon days, my friends. We thought they’d never end …

    Of course, this is his story, and not mine. It’s just that Marais has a way of writing that wraps a friendly arm of prose around your shoulders and draws you into the action. Combining memoir, satire, confession, and humility, Marais, ever the literary showman, tells it like it is without resorting to adjectival metaphor. Unless, of course, you count the journey as the leitmotif, since Marais takes you on a journey in both senses of the word.

    The Journey Man is an event-filled travelogue that spans the Atlantic Ocean from San Francisco down to the Karoo, but it is also the mental journey of a young man learning about people, politics, and philosophy on his way to becoming a better journalist, and dare I say, human being. Oh, who am I kidding? The Journey Man is boozy, druggy, blokish fun, more a rush than a trip down memory lane that is in equal parts memoir, commentary, and derring-do adventure.

    You’ll find yourself immersed when you really should be packing the dishwasher/responding to plaintive Pee Arse/filling in a tax return. It’s catnip for scribes so don’t say I didn’t warn you! – Caroline Hurry
    * This review first appeared on

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