Complex reality of Nahoon story

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NAHOON has become a magical word for generations of beachgoers, surfers, business owners and holiday makers but few are privy to the history of injustice and adversity that underlies the beautiful beach area.

In Glenn Hollands’ book Fighting and Fun at Nahoon, he explores the social history of the area and its surrounds, reminding the community that their past and present continues to be haunted by social and political divisions of race and class.

As a surfer, Nahoon resident and volunteer on the Nahoon Point Nature Reserve Management Committee, Hollands became interested in the social history of the area.

After ploughing through the archives and playing pretend detective around some of the historical puzzles that emerged, Hollands put together this fascinating read to be enjoyed by all who frequent the area.

“The book explores the significance of the area as a complex space with a powerful idiomatic position in the collective imagination of its own residents and other communities,” Hollands said.

“The book argues that contemporary Nahoon is associated with the lifestyle of the white middle class and is mainly about privilege and fun. But this understanding pays little heed to the historical reality that included injustice, adversity, military conflict and maritime disaster.

“The poignancy of past conflicts, failures and unrealised dreams gives a much more nuanced understanding of the real Nahoon.”

Fascinating stories including a mysterious hotel that was the site of an infamous family murder were uncovered by Hollands as he conducted his research.

He outlines the mystery of the name, the history traced from before colonial settlement and its current perplexing placement in a post-apartheid city as a place of fights and fun.

University of Fort Hare history professor Gary Minkley said: “This book does not shy away from the unequal and enduring legacies of white privilege that shaped Nahoon. But it also invites us to enter the marvellous collection of histories, stories, memories and anecdotes anew and perhaps find other ways to account for futures of fun and familiarity.”

The book is available at Angela’s Coffee Shop on Beach Road, the Beach Break Cafe, Just Surfing and the Vanilla Bean in Stirling.

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