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Bessie's different homes & her physical environment

This neighbourhood of self-built shacks still stands across the Duzi River from the site of Bessie's first home, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The Heathcote house, 73 East St, Pietermaritzburg, Bessie's first home, may have looked like this nearby house. Bessie's home was knocked down and replaced by a block of flats some years ago. The area was then "Coloureds and Indians only".
Bessie's childhood was spent next to a huge all-male hostel (foreground). This has since been replaced by a multi-storey hostel (background). The public drunkenness in the area remains very evident today.
On the other side of her house, however, was a beautiful secluded corner of the Duzi River. Perhaps even as child she tended to see things as all good or all bad?
The Catholic Church, St. Anthony's, where the Heathcote family probably attended Sunday Mass. It is a little over 1 km from their house; they hired a carriage when financially able.
A temple of the Indian community, on East Street, Pietermaritzburg, just a few blocks from Bessie's home. An earlier temple apparently stood on the same site during her childhood.
The principal library in downtown Pietermaritzburg. Although a less modern library probably stood here during the 1940s, it's not clear if Bessie was allowed to use it. The new Msunduzi Municipal Council has decided to rename it the Bessie Head Library.
For a few months in 1962, Bessie, Harold, and baby Howard lived in a single room in this house, the sharp-angled one closest to the camera. The building had only one storey then, and the area was poor and bohemian.
Bessie lived much of her adult life here, from the end 1969 until her death in 1986. She also wrote most of her books in this house near Swaneng School in Serowe. The house today is almost exactly as she left it; her son Howard has merely added shade cloth to create a veranda.
Serowe in the dry season: View from top of Swaneng Hill looking down on Swaneng school, seen immediately below. Bessie's house is beyond the school on the mid-left side of this photograph, just to the right of the cleared area.
Bessie's little bedroom where she also wrote her books, with a desk in the corner behind the camera to the right. She most frequently wrote at night by the light of a kerosene lamp. She wrote her notes by hand and typed her texts.
Bessie's kitchen was well known among her friends for its good food and intellectual talk. Bessie used only the gas stove — the microwave is recent.
Shortly after Bessie moved back to Serowe in 1969, she joined the Boiteko cooperative and invested a great deal of her time in establishing and running its extensive garden. That garden, shown here, is no longer used, and a shopping mall replaced the main Boiteko buildings in 2006.

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