About Rose

Rose Willis is a journalist who spent most of her early life in the fields of advertising and public relations. After working for The Farmer’s Weekly  and Friend Newspapers Group in Bloemfontein, her home town, for a number of years she moved to Johannesburg where she joined the public relations department of the multinational electronics giant, Philips.  She worked for  Philips both in South Africa and overseas and during this time won several awards for in-house communications and newsletters. Rose later worked for some South African electronics and industrial conglomerates, such as the Protea Group and Edward L Bateman,  before deciding to start her own advertising and public relations company.  This was successful , but  demanding, so one day she and her husband, Wally (also a journalist),  decided to “drive down the road until they saw a house they liked in a place quite far away and move there for a break.”  That was the start of something completely different.   Rose fell in love with the Karoo and in time persuaded the then Regional Services Council to employ her promote the Karoo.  They offered her a part time job on a mornings-only basis so that she could “prove to herself that the Karoo was not a tourist destination”.   She proved them wrong.  She created Rose’s Round-up a simple little newsletter designed to inform and educate people interested in the Karoo.   To her surprise it became incredibly popular  and soon developed a readership in other countries.  It went to the UK, USA,  Holland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and even the Department of Afrikaans at Moscow University in Russia.   This little newsletter led to Rose receiving an award as the best communicator in local government  from the S A Local Government Association, it also enabled her to indulge her love of historic research and to share it

11 responses to “About Rose”

  1. Dear Rose, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the pic you have of the old Yeomanry buildings at Deelfontein, all I could think after reading your blog was – kindred spirit and ‘we’re years too late’. I am married to a photographer and we just spent a few days traveling through the Great Karoo. We stumbled upon Deelfontein by chance and obviously leapt out of the car when we saw this place. We’re working on an exhibition for next year, about abandoned places etc.

    When did you capture the colour photo showing the buildings in reasonable shape? There is very little left today – basically only the façade of the one building. At first we were stumped, couldn’t figure out what Yeomanry meant (being Afr) or what took place at this location. After researching and reading up about the military hospital the English established here at Deelfontein, the picture is becoming clearer. What a magical place isn’t it?

    If you have an email address I can email you some shots of the ruins we took, do you have more pics up on FB of your travels or a website perhaps.

    Loved your blog!!! Keep well

      • Hi Rose

        Could you please put the gps points in the article? This will enable us to see the koppie or whatever on Google earth. Sometimes it is difficult to orientate oneself in this vast Karoo!

  2. Do you have, or have access to, newspapers and files of the Beaufort West Printing & Publishing Co. of 1901? I have a copy of a letter that Charles H. Crane wrote to Mark Twain in June 1901, inviting him to write an article, apparently for the new EXAMINER. Mark Twain left a note indicating that he planned to answer Crane’s letter, but I can find no record that he actually did so. Perhaps a letter from him to Crane has been preserved somewhere, and his correspondence with Crane was at least mentioned in one of the BWPP newspapers. If you can help or direct me to someone who can, I will be obliged. Thanks.

    • Dear Kent
      This is a wonderful story and I will use something about it in my Newsletter to see if I can find out more information for you. Sadly all Beaufort West’s historical information was washed away in the 1941 flood which I have just written about in my blog yesterday. Will keep you informed if I find anything. Please also keep in touch if you find anything
      All the best
      Kindest regards

  3. Goeiedag Rose,
    Will have to reply in English, for others…….
    I enjoyed to read more about yourself above !
    It’s Saturday afternoon here in New Zealand and the Karoo brings back beautiful memories and lekker boerewors in Graaff-Reinet when staying over from Johannesburg to Struisbaai & L’Agulhas during the time I worked for Sasol in JHB.
    All the best & vriendelike groete
    Andries Maritz.

    • Hi Andries,
      Lovely hearing from you all the way from New Zealand – glad to be able to bring you tidbits from the Karoo from time to time
      All the best – groete

  4. I read your newsletter with great interest every month.
    My GreatUncle Max Rose, and his brother’s are so much apart of the Karoo.
    I would like to do more research about Max and his part in the South African history. Can you please direct me as to any way to start, Maybe your favorite history book?
    thank you,

  5. Dear Jane,
    So sorry for the delay in replying – I have some information on the Rose family – I will dig it out and sent it to you. I used ti be great friends with Edith Bowen, who was a rose and got some good information from her. I may also have details of someone else who is looking into that family – will check my notes and some back to you. all the best, Kindest regsards Rose

  6. Hi Rose. I am working for a film production company in Cape Town. We are currently filming a show about the Karoo and I came across your work whilst doing some research. Would it be possible to chat to you about some of the wonderful interesting places that you have written about in the Karoo? We are looking for interesting places, and people and intriguing stories in the Karoo. So far we have visited Cranemere Farm near Graaff-Reneit, Calvinia, and in the next few days we will be traveling to Jansenville. Do you by any chance have any suggestions of places we could possibly visit in the Nama Karoo? We are a very small crew and do not intrude on the people we meet and the places we go. We have a deep love and appreciation for this unique and vast area of South Africa and are wanting to show its beauty and diversity.
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
    P.S. I have just ordered your Karoo recipe book because one of the main aspects of this show is the delicious food! Cant wait to receive it.

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