Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Karoo mermaid now in print

- Zelia Mullins -

The elusive Karoo mermaid or watermeid has caused many to travel untold dusty routes in search of her, Rose Willis writes in her June edition of Rose¹s Roundup. One investigator was Wendy Hardie, who last year with a TV crew made a trip through the Karoo in search of this legendary creature. They found traces of her in many places, some in arid areas and others near pools in places like Meiringspoort. This led to an interesting and popular documentary, ‘Searching for mermaids in the Karoo’. Prince Alberters will remember that part of it was shot in and around our town.

They’ve now followed it up with a booklet and DVD explaining how to get to these spots, where to stay, who to contact and what to look for. “We hope those who enjoyed the documentary and stories behind the legend will be inspired to investigate and do the journey themselves, and here and there pause to enjoy a cup of tea, or maybe something stronger, with the locals,” Wendy said.

This is exactly what Wendy and her colleagues did when they reached Prince Albert, “where the mix of sophistication and village-in-the-middle-of-the-Karoo made it such a highlight of our journey.” In spite of almost being persuaded by Judy Maguire that the mermaid rock paintings at Ezeljagdspoort, a private property, were in fact swallows, Wendy remains a firm mermaid believer. “Those arms holding flutes and skipping ropes in the painting ...and those stories of mermaid sightings from the elderly people in Amalienstein and other places absolutely captivated us.

During our filming we met other mermaid supporters - like Anita Holtzhausen in Oudtshoorn - and so the mermaid/swallow debate in fact added intrigue to an already fascinating subject, which allows everyone to decide for themselves.”

The booklet and the DVD of the documentary are on sale at the Prince Albert Tourism Office -­ (023) 5411366 - from the end of June or can be ordered from Wendy ­

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