- Created: 09 March 2015
Author and journalist Carol Campbell has worked in print media for 24 years. She covered South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994 and went on to win a British Council award for education reporting the following year. Her novel, My Children Have Faces (translated into Afrikaans as Karretjiemense), based on the donkey cart people of the Great Karoo, was published to critical acclaim in 2013. Her second novel, Esther’s House (‘n Huis vir Ester), on South Africa’s housing backlog, was published in November 2014 and has also been well received.
Both Campbell’s books were based on the 12 years when she and her family lived in Prince Albert and then Oudtshoorn in the Karoo. In that time, she had regular interactions with the karretjiemense who lived for a time on the Campbell’s farm. It was through them that she came to understand their frustrations and needs as they stepped from a primitive and nomadic existence into a modern, democratic South Africa. After the Campbells moved to Oudtshoorn, she was again drawn into the lives of the community when she witnessed the illegal invasion of low cost government housing by ‘old’ Oudtshoorn residents. Esther’s House was based on this experience.
In 2013, the family left the Karoo and moved to Durban and Campbell returned to The Mercury, where she had started her career in journalism, as the night news editor. She continues to write creatively every day and is a regular speaker at literary festivals and schools. She returns to the Karoo once a year to visit the people who inspire her work.
My Children Have Faces, 2013, Umuzi
My Children Have Faces has been translated into Afrikaans as Karretjiemense, 2013, Umuzi (translated by Kirby van der Merwe)
Esther’s House, 2014, Umuzi
Esther’s House has been translated into Afrikaans as ’n Huis vir Ester, 2014, Umuzi (translated by Kirby van der Merwe)