Fredo has been working on the book of the history of South African table grapes for around 18 months. His job was to write the manuscript and deliver it before it would be given to an editor and the layout team.

Six months of research and 4 months of writing produced a manuscript of 90 000 words. We thought it was the end, but then had to take responsibility for photographs to illustrate the book and assist with layout and reading and helping to correct  four sets of proofs. Finally we read the 4 proofs eight times – covering some 270 pages – before we signed off our work at the stage of Proof Four.

Back in October last year we thought that the South African table grape industry body, SATI, – who commissioned Fredo to write the book, would sign off the text so we could move on. This was in fact done and we thought that when we started working on the first proof in December, it would be near to the end.

Somehow the world of creativity had to deal with the world of bureaucratic and political correctness. Somehow we muddle through and at the end of March Fredo had to move on to other work. In retrospec, anyone else who is ever commissioned to write a book of this nature needs to know that telling a story in a creative way with design that fits in with this creativeness is one things. This however has to be balanced with what those who commission you want to achieve. This is where perhaps political correctness and bureaucratic needs often muddy the water.

Despite this we are certain that the book titled – 125 years in pursuit of Excellence – will be a delightful read. It weaves the magic of table grapes into a history which stretches back almost to the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape. It tells stories about table grape politics. Above all it is the story of South Africa’s entrepreneurial table grape growers and the communities who produce the fruit.

At one stage the task became a burden

At one stage the task that had to be completed became somewhat of a burden. Writers are a different breed, obliged to write with integrity and normally they produce a creative and what must be a spellbinding story. We poured our hearts and souls into the task and pursue stories and information to the ends of the earth. This is what we do, if we want to be honest and true to ourselves. Along with the rest of the writing fraternity in South Africa, who so bravely write about what is going on in this country, we are proud of what we have achieved.

Fredo is now glad to be moving on. Ahead of us are a few special editions for our overseas publishing partners. We are writing a feature for Asiafruit – and one for the Chinese – or rather Mandarin – edition of Asiafruit on South Africa’s Sunday’s River Valley. In the Sunday’s River Valley the growers and exporters are very keen to promote the origin of their Valley of Citrus overseas. They are keen to tell everyone in South Africa what a huge contribution they are making to the economy of the region.

In addition to this Fredo and Janey have visited Mauritius for a family event. We are also writing a feature for our overseas publications on the Mauritius fresh produce business and interesting markets and people living on the island.

For the next three months Fredo will also run the media and social media campaign for his friends in the Sharon Fruit business. There is great excitement amongst consumers in South Africa for this delightfully sweet fruit – and we have great fun telling them more about it. In fact, we are also taking Sharon Fruit on Safari to the Moketzi Valley in Limpopo and to Polekwane where people love Sharon Fruit.

Then – we will also be tackling the final 25% of our own book – Citizens of Africa – which is likely to tell the kind of stories which may cause a few people to sleep uncomfortably for a while. It is not the kind of story where we have to comply with political correctness which are imposed on you by committees of people who so often manage and decide on projects you write on commission.

In pursuit of honesty, creativity and above all the joy of writing – which Fredo Blog is all about!