De Jonge Akker

Who doesn’t enjoy reading a story while cradling a mug of coffee in your hands? Visitors to the popular De Jonge Akker coffee shop on the Potchefstroom Campus can now sit back and enjoy a short story or children’s story on their cellphones. What makes these stories even more special is that the events take place in Potchefstroom.


Haven Stories form part of a site-specific digital literature project of the subject group Creative Writing. Byderhand 2015 was presented last year as part of the Word Art programme at the Clover Aardklop National Arts Festival.


In this project, consisting of four subprojects, writers and artists with a connection to Potchefstroom were invited to create work specifically for Byderhand. The four subprojects are Garden Verses in the Botanical Garden, Haven Stories at the Book Oasis, a Wandering Story at the Technical High School, and Taxistrips on the FNB shuttle route.


The idea of the site-specific digital literature is that the work is read at a place that has some connection with the work. A coffee shop in the heart of the campus is therefore the ideal place to read stories set on the campus, on the Bult and in town. With the friendly cooperation of De Jonge Akker, Haven Stories has been available at this cosy coffee shop since the middle of August.


Stories and writers galore


The large variety of stories include light love stories, stories about relationships, nostalgic tales, a detective story, as well as stories with a more literary purpose. The young at heart will also love the six children’s stories.


Some of the writers in the project are familiar faces on campus, like Duane Aslett (lecturer in forensic accounting and housemaster of Veritas), Nelia Engelbrecht (editor of Eish!) and Sophia Kapp (former lecturer in translation studies and currently language adviser at the Virtual Institute for Afrikaans).


The fun children’s story, Melkskommels vir Minki, is the work of singer Deon Meiring and the children’s book illustrator, Zinelda McDonald. Other well-known writers and names are Harry Kalmer, Helene de Kock, Martie Swanepoel, Carié Maas, Marlize Hobbs, Frederick J Botha and Susan Lombaard.


Many of these writers and artists have already received awards for their work. The collection of stories also includes the work of younger writers and former and current creative writing students.


In order to be able to read the story, one has to scan the QR code on the menu – and the story appears on your cellphone’s screen in a flash. There are also comfortable leather couches where one can experience stories in a new format among the real books. WiFi is available in De Jonge Akker.


A project to be proud of

Want some more?

A project to be proud of

Byderhand is presented by the subject group Creative Writing on the Potchefstroom Campus. The interdisciplinary creative and research project is undertaken in the research unit Languages and Literature in the South African Context and also forms part of the establishment of digital human sciences at the university.


The project was supported by writers and artists, the Dagbreek Trust, the research unit Languages and Literature in the South African Context and the subject group Creative Writing in the School of Languages.


Want some more?

For another Byderhand experience, a visit to Byderhand Garden Verses in the Botanical Garden on the Potchefstroom Campus will be an interesting experience. Fifteen poets wrote works relevant to the Botanical Garden. The poets include TT Cloete, Hans du Plessis, Bernard Odendaal, Johan Myburg, Tom Gouws, Heilna du Plooy, Etienne Terblanche and others.


For younger readers there is a garden full of children’s poems by Franci Greyling. The poems are supplemented with works of art  by Strijdom van der Merwe, in which the poems are portrayed visually. The experience is enhanced further by musical arrangements, typographical animation and translations into English and Setswana.


Scan the QR code at the benches, and sit back to experience the garden in a new way.  Feel free to bring earphones for a more personal experience. The Botanical Garden is open on weekdays between 08:00 and 16:00 and admission is free.


Please visit the project website for more information.

Article and photographs: Prof Franci Greyling, School of Languages, Potchefstroom Campus