Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coloring your world from the Rainbow Nation

How exciting to meet all you wonderful readers and writers from across the globe. I write from, but not necessarily about, the Rainbow Nation, located at the southern part of the African continent. Please indulge me a brief history lesson before I continue with my blog.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu first coined the term Rainbow Nation in 1993 to describe a post-apartheid South Africa. And what an amazing description of the beautiful people of South Africa with their diverse cultures and eleven official languages! No more ebony and ivory – the dividing of Black and White – but a nation filled with hope for a bright future, finally at peace with itself and the world. The rainbow, a symbol of the calm after the storm, epitomizes the past South Africans leave behind and the future we all strive for.

Although I’m English speaking and know only two of our eleven languages, there have been times in my writing when I desperately wished I could pen certain things in Afrikaans, for it is a language rich in unique cultural expressions. Translation unfortunately does these sayings no justice. It is only those who understand the language who can grasp and enjoy the meaning of those tiny quips. But sadly, Afrikaans is a dying language in this new South Africa of ours.

As a South African writer having never set foot on American soil, putting my first novel and sequel (set in the USA) to paper was totally foreign. It has been a fascinating three year journey writing American with a South African brain. I’ve had to think American to write it, taking care in my stories to ensure groceries are placed in the trunk, not the boot; that cars stop at a red traffic light, not a red robot. Let’s not even mention trying to keep local colloquialisms and British spelling out of the writing equation. Thank heavens for word processors that have almost every language option available under my African sun, including American English (which I’ve chosen for this blog).

My current writing project is based in this wonderful land I’ve called home for the past . . . well, let’s just say for quite a number of years. It’s a story that is dear to my heart and close to home. It has been enjoyable to write of familiar things and use local sayings that foreign readers will hopefully manage to find in their dictionaries.

Having lived in Ireland for a number of months, I’d still like to write a novel that takes place in that fascinating country. I’m also toying with a story idea set in India.

Fortunately, writers can visit any country they desire from the comfort of cyberspace, although there is definitely nothing to beat the travel bug – it can bite me any time.

The world is a writer’s oyster, for in the stories we tell, we have the power to choose whether our pot of gold lies somewhere in the emerald fields of Ireland guarded by tiny men wearing green suits and funny hats, or whether it’s to be found at the end of a rainbow nation where the streets are rumored to be paved with gold. After all, writers Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, with the help of Producer Peter Jackson, found theirs right in my backyard in a place called “District 9*.”


MARION UECKERMANN only discovered her writing talents later in life. Her passion for penning poetry was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then Marion has been honing her skills and has published inspirational poetry online and in a poetry journal. She has recently authored her first full-length Christian Women’s novel, Prodigal, and is looking for a publisher. Ms. Ueckermann now lives in Pretoria East, South Africa. A member and moderator of the South African Christian Writers Group, Marion can be contacted via email to marionu(at)telkomsa.net or through her website www.inkslinger.co.cc


  1. Dankie, Marion!
    My mother grew up in Warden in the Free State when it was still called that. I have visited your beautiful country many times, always with mixed emotions. Things have definitely changed, but I'm never sure if they're entirely better. South Africa will always be a land of many paradigms I think.
    Bless you, friend and Totsiens!

  2. Hi Marion

    Thank you for an interesting blog, even the history lesson was colorful and fun to read.

    Keep searching, I'm sure you'll find your pot of gold.

    God bless

    Ruth Ann

  3. Catherine
    How interesting that you have South African roots and there you are all the way in Bermuda. Yes, things have changed in our country, some things definitely for the better, other things I doubt will ever change. But we live in hope for a brighter future for all South Africans. I guess our struggles and paradigms make for interesting writing fodder.

  4. It's sad to say that I know next to nothing about Africa. Just what I hear about on the news. It's nice to read about things other than the headlines.

  5. Lovely post. You show the heart of an international writer. And I love the pictures of Northern Ireland close to the Giant's Causeway. This is my homeland, and it's dear to me.

  6. Marion, fascinating post. Your country has undergone so much change in a relatively short period of time. Thanks for sharing your homeland with us :-)

  7. Super post Marion. Well done for showing some aspects of our colourful nation. (Using Brit English, just to show our true international nature. :-)


  8. Marion, so glad you shared the link to this post on facebook. Your history lesson about South Africa juxtaposed in an intriguing way with Ireland.

    Looking foreard to seeing you at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.