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Forest books

It was the enchantment of the Outeniqua Forest which led her to her first literary success.

She undertook extensive research for her first Forest novel, Kringe in 'n bos (Circles in Forest) which appeared in 1984. She regularly walked the forest paths with her family, sleeping close to the forest elephants at night.

"I live close to the Forest. Driving past farms, pine plantations and undergrowth, you ask yourself: What happened to the ancient forests which once stood here?"

In 1886, 400 to 500 elephant roamed the forest. However, by 1972, only 12 of these magnificent animals were left. What happened to them? Who destroyed them and why? Searching for answers, she stumbled upon a wealth of information and started to write her very first novel on the forest. According to her, she wrote Kringe in 'n bos (Circles in a Forest) to try and tell the truth about the forest and its elephants. Translated into 11 languages, this book achieved international success. She also won the sought-after ATKV Award. A film - Circles in a Forest - was based on the English translation of the book.

Another two forest books followed: Fiela se kind (Fiela's Child) (1985) and Moerbeibos (The Mulberry Forest) (1987). Katinka Heyns produced the film of Fiela se kind.

In Dreamforest (Toorbos), as in Circles in a Forest (Kringe in 'n bos), Matthee's intimate knowledge of and insight into the forest, as well as her genuine caring for the trees, flowers and animals of the Knysna Forest once again became evident.



Circles in a ForestCircles in a Forest
Saul Barnard is a woodcutter with a restless soul - he wants to keep strangers away from the Forest and stop the destruction of the Forest ... read more
Fiela's ChildFiela's Child
On the one side of the mountain, in the Long Kloof, there's Fiela Komoetie, devoted to her foundling - the child God entrusted to her one night when she found the three-year-old boy crying on her doorstep - a castaway lamb ... read more
The Mulberry ForestThe Mulberry Forest
Silkworm farmers from Italy were lured to Gouna in the Knysna Forest to establish a silk industry. The only problem was that mulberry trees refused to grow in sticky mud ... read more
DreamforestDreamforest
It tells the story of the intimate relationship of an initiated "forest woman" with the heart of the forest, and how it becomes an obstacle in her experience of the man she loves ... read more



Knysna forest


Knysna forest


Dalene Matthee, Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer van 13 boeke, is veral bekend vir haar vier Bosboeke" wat in die Knysna-bos afspeel. Haar boeke is in 14 tale vertaal.
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Photographs © Hylton Herd.


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