Stunning pictures of African journeys

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PRIZEWINNING photographer Basia Meder’s newest book is charmingly titled, “Granny Backpacker in Africa.” A stunning assemblage of African travel adventure stories, it is illustrated with 500 colour photographs and follows  a 14-month journey across 21 countries. 

Ethiopia, Dimeka Hamar woman
In March 2002 Meder began her adventure of a lifetime, a solo backpacking journey in Africa. Equipped with previous backpacking experiences in 50 countries around the world she freed herself from her everyday obligations and took off.

This was her somewhat eccentric concept of retirement, travelling thousands of kilometres throughout the entire African continent with only her cameras for companions.

After landing in Johannesburg, Meder says she “climbed her way to the north” through 16 countries to Egypt. In Madagascar she found herself in the middle of a revolt. In Lesotho she was engulfed in snow and in Malawi she was struck with malaria.

She encountered mountain gorillas in Rwanda, celebrated Christmas in Ethiopia, and then was overcome by the beauty of the Sahara Desert. From Cairo, she set off to Western Africa, first to Ghana, then Togo, Burkina Faso and Mali. Later she travelled to Morocco, to finish her African odyssey.

Ethiopia-Simien Mnts woman
Meder, a former Canberran and a Canberra Critics Circle awardee, is a Polish-born Australian living in Sawtell, northern NSW. Qualified in mechanical engineering and information technology, after migrating to Australia in 1981 she continued her profession for another 16 years inCanberra. Her passion for travel and photography has taken her to over 80 countries in all continents.

She describes photography as “a spontaneous and important way of communication, which she regards as a universal visual language.” As an observer of people, especially women, she has created memorable portraits in this book showing joy, pride and dignity.

After Meder returned toAustraliashe wrote her travel stories in her first language, Polish. These were published in 2010 in two volumes by Bernardinum Press inPoland. In 2011 the English translation was printed in Poland, where it won the National Geographic Prize (Polish Edition) – Travel Book of the Year 2010. and published by Tidbinbilla Press, Sawtell.

Tuggeranong Arts Centre will host a visit by Basia Meder to Canberra and her book launch of “Granny Backpacker in Africa” (English edition) and two volumes of the Polish edition. A photographic exhibition, “Faces of Africa,” will also be on display for one day at TAC. The book will be available at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre at half price in Canberra$35 (full price $70).

Book launch of “Granny Backpacker inAfrica,” at Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 6pm Dec 6. All welcome.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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