Synopsis

Sporting Travels of a Karoo Son tells the story of a boy who grew up to view sport, travel and life through a different perspective. It is possibly the first book ever written by a sporting tour guide and offers a personal insight and a vast array of stories.

Newton is an internationally famous tour leader and many tour operators and members of his parties have invited him to retell his stories at different venues. The facts and details of what happens on the field during international matches may have been reproduced many times, but this is only a small part of the whole spectacle. In this book, Newton charts the varied sporting events he has worked at in many different countries, including the Rugby and Cricket World Cups and The Ashes. He reveals the stories that have emerged from behind the scenes at these well documented events from the view point of the spectators, rather than the players.

In the first part of the book, in order for the reader to understand why he sees things from a different perspective, he takes them on a journey through his childhood adventures on the farm in the semi desert, his boarding school education at St Andrew's Grahamstown, university degree at Stellenbosch, teaching at SACS, a boys’ boarding school, playing rugby in Italy and participating in sport in South Africa during the era of apartheid. This provides a crucial backdrop and a context for the rest of the book, while being an informative social history and amusing story in its own right.

The second part follows Newton’s tour guiding in southern Africa which encompasses a Zambian eclipse, a meeting with the King of Swaziland and a rugby tour in Cape Town. Part three describes his overseas tours, including accompanying the English cricket fans to the last three Ashes series, in Australia in 2002-3 and 2006-7 and in England in 2005, to the West Indies and South Africa as well as the Rugby World Cup, Hobie Cats in Mexico and golf in Kuala Lumpur and Puerto Rico. What makes it different is that he does not just describe the sporting action but the stories that run alongside it, the people and the countries too.

This book will interest both sportsmen and tourists but it is also multi dimensional and has a wide base to appeal to a vast audience offering enjoyment and escapism, as well as information and insight. Some people will empathise with farm life, some with travel and sport, some with history and humour. Those who went to boarding school will recall their own stories, those who did not will laugh at his antics. Those who watch or play sport will remember the events and enjoy the alternative angle portrayed.

 

 

(c) Newton / Hellier