Maretha Botha is an Italian National, born in South Africa in a small Western Province town called Montague and grew up in nearby Worcester – a town reminiscent of living in Switzerland among the snow-capped mountains in winter. Worcester had a small library. At the time, the librarian limited young Maretha’s visits to three times a week, because “You spend too much time with your nose in a book and neglect your school work.”
Maretha Botha has remained a confirmed bookworm and constantly strives to raise more bookworms who will enjoy reading, not just as a pleasant past-time, but as an excellent tool to be used when grown-up. The area around her birthplace and hometown is often a source of inspiration. She had this landscape in mind when describing the Molodi valley “as an out-of-the-way place, somewhere in the grasslands of Southern Africa.”
MY FRIENDS LIVE ON A free-range cattle farm in Molodi, an out-the-way place, somewhere in the grasslands of Southern Africa. Should you visit there and search carefully, you may well notice many of us. Some are slippery and slithery; others are striped, snub-nosed, long-eared and short-tailed, long-horned and round- eyed, furry or feathery. I think you’ll fall in love with us, no matter what we look like! On a frosty morning in May, Flame stormed through the doggy trapdoor with a loud bang. He jumped up against my tree and yapped, ‘Are you still sleeping, Hope?’
Flame had startled me, but I whistled, ‘Not any more! I’m awake now, but you’re very early. Naka[i] is still hanging on the horizon.’ He woofed, ‘I have a brilliant idea which I want to bark to our furry and feathered friends, but for them to accept my plan, they must hear about my life as a puppy in the Kalughari, first. It’s tough for me to bark about certain events, so would you mind telling my story? Besides, you’re very wise; knowing Faunalang and whistling to the birds in their own songs. You even know some Humanlang too. So, you’re just the one for such a story-telling job! Perhaps you might even enjoy telling us more about yourself?’
I fluttered my pink eyelids and whistled, ‘Thank you for asking. I suppose I can try. After
all, not only humans like stories. I’ve heard that animals and birds also enjoy them, whether they are eyewitness reports or hearsay. Just like you, I find it difficult to talk about my life before coming to the farm, but when the time’s right, I’ll whistle all about it.’
 Naka = a bright early morning star which appears before dawn towards the end of May in southern parts of Africa. It’s a sign of the onset of the coldest time of the year and signals the time for the goats to breed.
Maretha Botha has written a series of four books in the series, “Fauna Park Tales”. Featured here is Book 1, “Flame and Hope: An African Adventure”.
Connect with Maretha via Social Media:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Maretha-Botha/e/B00MOORJAO/
Fauna Park Tales Twitter: https://twitter.com/FaunaParkTales
Flame and Hope Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flameandhope.co.uk/
Maretha’s Blog: https://marethmbotha.wordpress.com/
Maretha’s Child-Friendly Blog: https://marethabotha2013.com/