Professor of English Studies at UKZN Lindy Stiebel together with fellow colleague Mr Niall McNulty have managed to get the North Coast Writers Trail ready for avid literary tourists recently.
The literary tourism duo both worked tirelessly to create a niche area which links writers, places and their works through literary tourism. This was the case with the North Coast Writers Trail that saw the team creating a route a fictional character charts in a novel, visiting particular settings from a story or tracking down places linked to a writer, such as a birthplace, home or burial site.
This particular trail focused on well-known writers from the North Coast such as Mafika Gwala, Dianne Stewart, Rosamund Kendal and BP Singh. Some of the sites to visit that make the trail interesting are the site of the first sugarcane mill at Morewood, the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum and the burial site of King Shaka.
‘We developed a partnership with the Ilembe Municipality based at Ballito to train up to 10 community guides to run this literary trail and provide knowledge to tourists and visitors. We had three days of training that included workshops and practical sessions in the field.’
‘The guides were chosen based on their interest in writing, culture and heritage tourism,’ explained Stiebel.
She pointed out that it is a challenge to create connections for the trails between writers, their works and related sites but they managed to do this on the North Coast Writers’ Trail as with others they have developed. The feedback for those that did embark on the trail with the community guides was positive and enlightening.
‘We had to go on research trips to the places, take photos and get interesting information about the writers. It was a lot of fun to find out about the North Coast, its writers and related places and we got to learn the most fascinating things,’ said McNulty.
Words by Melissa Mungroo