This book is a personal journey into the family archives of photographer Paul Weinberg. As a child his sorties into an old black trunk that the family had at home where he encountered stamps, letters, photographs and most importantly postcards, excited his imagination to a world far beyond the borders of South Africa and the African continent. They became a collection of connections to his grandparents, to their ‘roots’ in eastern Europe and his own.
The book explores his past as he retraces his family footprints in South Africa. It takes him to far-flung small towns in the interior of South Africa where the family eventually found a niche for themselves in the hotel trade. In the form of postcards to his great grandfather, Edward, it is on one hand a visual narrative of this journey and on another a multi-layered travel book as he pieces the jigsaw of his family’s footprints together. A sub-theme of the book is a story of the ‘old hotel’ which was at one point so central and dynamic in the lives of many of these small towns. Weinberg revisits these hotels and explores their whereabouts, and their evolution.
Weaving history, historiographies, memoir and archive into a personal pilgrimage, this book offers fresh insights and perspectives on a family who made this country their ‘adopted home’. Through the metaphor of the postcard this book sets up a dialogue between the author, his great grandfather, the past and the present, and asks important questions about who writes history, and who is left out.
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