Stories of pioneer girls going West
KATHLEEN Karr, an awardwinning children’s writer who sailed the Nile, learned to box and ensconced herself in library archives to research humorous, frequently suspenseful novels about pioneer girls heading West, “turkeypokes” herding poultry, a grave-robbing phrenologist and – told from a camel’s point of view
– an Army experiment in the West Texas desert, died on December 6 in Chicago. She was 71.
The cause was complications from multiple sclerosis, said her daughter, Suzanne Karr Schmidt.
In a life that took her from a
New Jersey chicken farm to the makeshift ring of Finley’s Gym, a landmark of the Washington boxing scene, Karr resembled the independent-minded boys and girls who populated her two dozen books for young adults.
She began writing on what she later called a “dare” from her husband, crafting a string of gentle adult romances beginning with the 1984 novel Light of My Heart. Unlike what she called the “bodice rippers” that dominated the market, the books were focused less on sex than on heartfelt connections, paving the way for her transition to an equally wholesome genre: children’s historical fiction.
Her writing was drawn partly from childhood memories as well as her professional life as a film GERALD Morkel, former Western Cape premier and Cape Town mayor, has died. He was 76.
He died at his Tokai home on Tuesday afternoon. In 2014 he was diagnosed with cancer of the abdomen.
Close friend and family spokesperson Garin Cavanagh remembers Morkel as a “gentleman politician” and a doting husband.
“He had a very good relationship with his wife Hazel and they were always very close,” he said.
Morkel married Hazel Richards on September 3, 1960.
“He entered politics at a very young age, but it wasn’t really a calling because he had a construction business… He got invited to a political meeting and he went out of curiosity, then someone nominated him to a position. He accepted the challenge and decided to do his best,” said Cavanagh.
Morkel was elected to the coloureds-only House of Representatives in the Tricameral Parliament in 1984 as a member of the Labour Party. In 1994, he joined the National Party and became Western Cape leader of the renamed New National Party in 1998. When Hernus Kriel decided to step down as premier, Morkel took the top job.
Cavanagh said Morkel was highly accessible in his political positions. “He wasn’t shy and so he was always open and willing to assist people.”
He resigned in 2001 and became a member of the DA. He was elected mayor of Cape Town in November 2001 but, less than a year later, the DA lost control of the city to an ANC-NNP coalition after a floor crossing in October 2002.
He remained as the Western
Cape leader of the DA before stepping down because of his ties to German billionaire Jurgen Harksen, who faced charges of tax evasion and fraud in Germany.
Morkel continued to serve in the Cape Town city council until his retirement in 2011.
A memorial service will be held for Morkel at the Grassy Park Baptist Church on Tuesday at 7pm.
Cikizwa Tiny Matole