The humorous but difficult journey of a South African journalist from urban Johannesburg to small-town Trier, the oldest town in Germany and birthplace of Karl Marx. Her tale is spiced with journalistic accounts of meeting the last surviving officer with Hitler in the bunker or being at home with right-wing, populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn days before his murder.
Ten years in the making, this book started off as a collection of intermittent
writing describing the author's personal experiences and difficulties of settling in Germany.
She describes her battles with the authorities for work and residence permits and even registering a birth has its hitches. She struggles with the inability of a whole nation to queue or simply say sorry. She pokes fun at her own inability to spotlessly clean her house, make anything with her hands or go on compulsory but torturous hikes - all prerequisites to living in the country.
In more serious chapters she deals with the German guilt complex after World War Two, describing personal encounters in Trier, Weimar, Regensburg, Dresden and Berlin.
She savours the cultural life of her new country watching a John Cranko ballet performance in Stuttgart, the artistic home of the world acclaimed South African born choreographer - only in the country of his birth he remains an unknown.
And then there are relaxing moments where the author learns to accept her new country, enjoying
outings along the stunning Moselle valley with its steep vineyards or describes
the quaint beauty of Roman Trier, as she follows Marx’s footsteps in the city
of his youth. After her hectic Johannesburg and
she chronicles her love for the region’s laid-back lifestyle, its wine, Sekt and excellent cuisine.
From Rock to Kraut is divided into short, easy-to-read chapters, making it ideal reading for travellers, anyone interested in Germany and for all South Africans who have moved abroad.
UK/US: ISBN 978-3-8334-8904-4, Trade Paperback - 216p, £ 11.99 US$ 22.95
Anli Serfontein: From Rock to Kraut
Austria, Germany, Switzerland: ISBN 978-3-8370-6216-8, PB, 224 S € 14.90
Anli Serfontein: Basteln, Wandern and Putzen
Read Vito von Eichborn's Foreword on choosing it as Book of the Month
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