“Africa touches me to the core of my being …
The glory of Europe is its history, but the glory of Africa is its LIFE!”
– Quoted in David Anderson’s book On Safari
As well as being South Africa’s most experienced travel writer, David Bristow – also known as The Eardstapper – is the author of more than 20 books on South Africa and Africa beyond.
Colleagues at Getaway travel magazine – where he was editor for 14 years – dubbed him the walking enviro-pedia. “It’s unlikely there is anyone better traveled than him and his knowledge of The Cape and indeed all of South Africa is encylopediac,” commented Don Pinnock who succeeded him as editor.
With degrees in journalism and environmental sciences, you could say he has a well-rounded grasp on most things that do not involve rocket science. David has an abiding passion for all things pertaining to nature, culture, travel, history, Africa and just about anything else that is interesting.
But it is his love of life and the world around him that has led to him to be the pre-eminent storyteller of the Cape – dramatic stories, racy stories, ghost or horror stories, love stories, comedies and tragedies; stories about the places and people who created the Cape. Interwoven with all this will be current issues, international trends and local anecdotes – you name it and he’ll provide the details.
Eardstapper is a word derived from Old English (Anglo-Saxon). Its first known use was in a poem thought to have been composed before the year AD 600. The warrior-hero is identified as Eardstapa, from eard (earth) and steppen (to step out, or walk).
After the Norman invasion of England in 1066 the spelling changed (as with almost all older Anglo-Saxon and Viking words) to the more recognisable form “eardstapper”. It was used variously to mean a wanderer, an exile, a pilgrim or “one who seeks a meaning beyond the temporary and transitory meaning of earthly values”.
This theme of wandering influenced many later works in English including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Pilgrims Progress, Gulliver’s Travels and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.