Memoir tells story of sugar-farm life

A new book throws light on KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar-farming world and its history. Hazara: Elegy for an African Farm tells the story of a farm, and its surrounding community, in the Kearsney-Doringkop district.

The story begins in the 1920s when a young couple settle inland from Stanger and name their home Hazara, after the husband’s former regiment in the British Indian Army. Like other farmers, they socialise with neighbours and have visitors to stay in their house with its view eastwards to the Indian Ocean.

Then, after a chain of fateful occurrences, into this isolated world, with its horse riding and games of tennis, there arrives a teenage girl from England. Later, back home from flying operations with the Royal Air Force in World War II returns the son of a Zululand magistrate with a story of his own. He and the farmer’s daughter meet and marry, and transform Hazara into a model estate, but a political showdown is looming and their future seems increasingly uncertain.

Written by John Conyngham, author of the award-winning novel The Arrowing of the Cane and a former editor of The Witness in Pietermaritzburg, Hazara tells the story not only of the sugar-farming world but also the history of Natal and Zululand, and captures a way of life before it fades into the past.
Described by Graham Linscott in The Mercury as ‘beautifully written’ and a ‘worthy piece of Africana’, Hazara’s first hardback edition has sold out but it has been republished in paperback by Shuter & Shooter in Pietermaritzburg and is available from leading bookstores.

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