On March 28 2019, five of my fellow third-year undergraduate students and I visited the Alan Paton Centre. The reason for our visit was due to all of us majoring in English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. The six of us are currently studying Alan Paton’s novel “Cry, the Beloved Country”, so our lecturer Darryl David encouraged us to go to the centre to have a feel of the man who wrote the novel. We were taken on a tour of the Alan Paton Centre by our tour guide Sherian Latif, the research assistant of the centre. Firstly, the tour consisted of an explanation of Alan Paton’s life when he began writing short poems, his novels –the most famous being “Cry, the Beloved Country”– as well as his family life and some other interesting facts about himself and his life. We were then taken to a study which was a replica of Alan Paton’s study with his original belongings; it was in his study that we saw his final piece of writing before he died. We were then taken to the archives section where pictures and writings of Paton’s work and the work of many other writers are stored at a certain temperature for preservation reasons. Finally, my favourite part of the tour was the library where we saw thousands of books and these books range from hundreds of years old to thousands of years old. This centre was indeed one of the most informative and exciting parts of my University of KwaZulu Natal experiences. It is a privilege that a man like Alan Paton was from the same place that I have lived for my entire life. It showed me what amazing history we have in our relatively small town of Pietermaritzburg. The Alan Paton Centre makes me feel proud to not only be from Pietermaritzburg but honoured to be a South African citizen. 

– Written by Sadie Dass 

(From left to right) 

Shaydene Naicker, Sadie Dass, Sanelisiwe, 

Gwala, Thaiyeerah Sheik, Lebohang Moeti & Vuyokazi Shezi.