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Blog > Postcrossing Spotlight: alison41 from South Africa!

Meet Alison (aka alison41) from Cape Town in South Africa 🇿🇦. She’s a very enthusiastic postcrosser in her country, and a fan of books, writing, and mahjong! She has sent us quite a few interesting postal-themed articles over the years, and regularly updates us on the postal situation in her country… so we thought it was time we got to know her a little better. Here she is!

Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview
How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

A local magazine “IDEAS”, featured a 2 page article with pictures, about Postcrossing — at the sight of the international stamps and Par Avion stickers, I was immediately interested! I love receiving mail. I’ve been a letter writer my entire life, and had literally dozens of penfriends over the years. I still have one or two, particularly an Australian lady, we still correspond — by now it has been nearly 50 years.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Apart from being an avid reader, and writing articles for my two blogs (Despatches from Timbuktu and The Booksmith) my other passion is playing Mah Jong. I have been playing the game for nearly 50 years. I learned in Rhodesia, during the early 1970s, and have been playing, and teaching others how to play, ever since. I run a small club in the retirement village where live.

Mahjong play set

I found a couple of Asian themed cards to display next to my Mah Jong set.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Reading the biographies of the people to whom I’m about to send a card. As a writer, I find people and their lives intensely interesting. So I enjoy reading everyone’s profiles, because here you have insight into their personalities, likes and dislikes.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview

Blue mailboxes and the red outgoing box at the Big Bay Post Office. The view from the post office balcony cross the bay to Table Mountain is stunning!

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I love my cat-themed postcards, and have displayed some of my current favourites in front of my work table, so can see and enjoy them daily. I am a huge cat fan!

Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview

But apart from my Cat Cards, I’m involved with Gonny in the Netherlands, and we have our own “story card” project, inspired by a post on this blog from September 2017 titled “Postcard Stories”, about a woman who published a book consisting entirely of stories written on postcards. I don’t think we’ll produce our own book, but we’re having a lot of fun!

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

Mexico! If you live in South Africa, then Mexico is a very far way foreign country; ditto Iceland and Greenland.

Have you met any other members in real life?

Regrettably not; South Africa has very few members, and it is a big country. I’d love to attend a local Postcrossing get-together… but I think for that to happen, I’ll have to organise it myself!

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

What else excites me? Going to the theatre; book sales; cats; current affairs; books and reading; my monthly writing group; attending monthly meetings of the University of Third Age – the speakers are usually professional people who come and speak about their field of expertise. I run a monthly Book Club meeting at the local library and I’m always delighted to meet other readers and chat about books.

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78 comments so far

NazlieD, South Africa
Hi Alison, Nazlie Dalwai here , also from Cape Town. My story is far from interesting like yours but are also very keen for a get together. My friend that introduced me, stays close to you, Mickey van Driel and maybe you can contact her and we could arrange one. I agree with you onm the view of Table Mountain. There's nothing that beats that.
Nazlie
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flowerdogs, United States of America
I love Mahjong!! I don't play it as much as I'd like to, though. Beautiful postcards, as well as your setup! Would love to visit South Africa someday :)
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spicyricecake, United States of America
Hi Alison, you are very inspiring, so many hobbies!
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Mosshumla, Sweden
Such an interesting spotlight! I hope to draw Alison's address one day, or maybe she'll draw mine. :)
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Olga-Phobus, Russia
Wonderful blog. It is a really interesting idea to write a book from stories on postcards. I hope that someday I will receive your address for exchange. My postcrossing story will be interesting. Best wishes from Russia!!!
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Inspired_rus, Russia
I admire Alison. It's great to spend your time like this and be such a cheerful person. With best wishes from Moscow region, Russia, Evgeniya.
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Ramya, United States of America
Lovely to get to know you Postcrossing Friend!
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paisdasmaravilhas, Portugal
Hello, Alison! Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal
So nice to read your story! I am 76 y old, I'm a journalist since I was 18, (I still work in two newspapers and a mafazine) and a writer since I was 35...I work a lot...I travell a lot...and I love what I do,
I wish you all the best
ALICE
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Anidotje, Netherlands
Hello Alison,
What a beautiful hobby we have !!
Greetings from Enschede, Holland
Anita
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GoCindy, United States of America
Beautiful story!
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Aprelevna, Belarus
Hello, Alison! People like you change our world! Greetings from Brest, Belarus
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mounten, Italy
Hello Alison,great story. I know Gonny aswell we write story cards to each other very funny and inspiring hobby.
Best wishes to you enjoy live take care and a lot of fun by writing postcards ciao from Italy.
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Mrata, Spain
Hi, Alison!! Your energy and passion about life is vey inspiring!! I love your book projeçt, I hope you get it published! Best wishes from Spain
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BlueVWBeetle, United States of America
Hi Alison! What a great setup you have, postcards and a sewing machine...my dream! I enjoyed your interview so much and I hope someday I get your name for exchange. Hug's from Janet in the U.S.A.
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smeuldersdrawings, Netherlands
STORYCARDS:
knock knock .... may I come in please ...
(hoi alison: it is gonny :-)

a lot of congratulations dear writingfriend
with this great interview :-)
and nice to see pictures of you !

and yes,
I still love it very much to write stories
on and about (handmade) cards,
so called "STORYCARDS":

I exchange them now with
several other enthousiastic postcrossers:
with one of them
I even have a great continuing story !

WELCOME new WRITERS :

please feel free to let me know if YOU are also INTERESTED (?)
to postcross direct a story on and about a (handmade) card too
and feel free to see the information in my profile about it -
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yacine12, Algeria
Thank you I love the reporter
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fisherman, Ireland
Lovely interview. I am also a fan of U3A here.
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Mirfi, Australia
A delightful story, thanks for sharing. Alison you look so much like my own Mum!
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Hohlova, Russia
Hello!!!i can to see your wall with card in real life?!)
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Hohlova, Russia
I have for you nice card!write me your adress!!!
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firstdi, United States of America
I love seeing what your office set up is and how you share your passion and excitement for postcrossing.
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Carlissa904, United States of America
Such a nice story! I love the idea of story cards! Cat cards are my favorite too!
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NIDUSKA, Finland
thank you for nice story
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jm1122, United States of America
How lovely to visit you through this spotlight! I enjoyed reading a bit about your life. Thank you for sharing!
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Krazy4Krsna, United States of America
I always love these Postcrosser Spotlights......Lovely to see and meet you, Alison!
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cosmocat12, Australia
Hello Alison, greetings from Australia. I enjoyed reading about you and getting a little insight into your life. Thank you for sharing. You seem like a very lovely lady.
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elanj123, United States of America
I love your workspace !!! Mine is similar :.)
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Braam, Australia
G'day, Alison! Lovely to meet a "kindred soul", or, as Anne Shirley would say - "race of Joseph-y". I look forward to reading your postcard-story-book. Best Wishes in this Year of the Earth Pig, from Bev Braam, Sydneyx
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JaneJarve, Ireland
Thank you for sharing with us, Alison, and greetings to you from Kilkenny, Ireland. Your enthusiasm is quite inspiring! May you always enjoy the best of health and continue living life to the full. All the best, Jane.
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Cassisia, Germany
Hi Alison, greetings from Nuremberg! Thanks a lot for sharing this great story with us. And I'd love to have a workspace like yours - you can feel the Postcrossing spirit just by looking at it. :) Best wishes, Aurelia
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seannieaiwo, Malaysia
Hello, greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thanks for sharing the story - you have a great workshop!
PS - I like playing mahjong too ^_^
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Gen24, United States of America
All those postcards, omg.
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twinb99, United States of America
I want to be Alison when I grow up.
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LoisDippenaar, South Africa
Alison, you are such an inspiration! I am also in Cape Town and would love a Postcrossing get-together.
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Sfander, Canada
Wonderful interview! I thoroughly enjoyed your story Alison and loved your love of life and energy...It's inspiring. All the very best to you.
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queenofc, Germany
I love her ! An adorable lady !
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purplerain61, United States of America
What a wonderful story about Alison41-thank you for sharing- I wish I knew what the postcard-story-Book was?!
Thank you again- Rain
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studier, United Kingdom
A lovely story!! South Africa is a brilliant country and do not allow negative stories hinder you from visiting. I have been seven times and I hope one day to live their?
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Kewl, Philippines
I also know to play mah-jong! Am curious though, are there postcards about it?
Wonderful story!
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fitrap, Indonesia
Hi Alison thank you for sharing your beautiful story, warm greeting from Tenggarong Indonesia
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Talal90Ahmed, Iraq
so so pretty
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isagv, Germany
Great interview, I liked to read it.
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realfantasy, Russia
Очень интересная история! Надеюсь, когда-нибудь нам выпадет адрес Элисон и наш зауральский кот отправится в Южную Африку. Будем ждать и верить.
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elena-8265, Russia
Wonderful story and wonderful person! I really admire you!
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inesaraiva, Portugal
Lovely story. So proud of being part of such an amazing community, like Postcrossing!
Love from Portugal.
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triplightly, United States of America
Meetups are so fun! Perhaps you could facetime with a few members. it could be a "virtual meetup". =D
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jany_gurb, Mexico
Hello Alison, so great to know you!
you are so adorable!
Greetings from Puebla, Mexico!
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thakre17, India
Nice to read about you.
In India Still Postman are coming to our door to deliver a mail.
With these much year in my hobby I am still to get connected to some of the areas. And I am still trying.
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starryluna, Brazil
Amazing Story! Cat postcards are the best, indeed!
I hope one day to become a collector like you ♥
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sharifah, Brunei
Hello from Brunei. I hope one day we get to exchange postcard or letter...and i happen to love cat so much that we have 8 of these lovely furbabies domestically taken care n love..and many more strays coming over to our house and we give love if they want to..if not, they are all welcome to eat and rest wherever they feel comfortable. its really inspiring to have these hobbies.
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Demmi, Romania
Hello from Brasov aka Kronstadt,
such an amazing lady, I hope to draw Alison's address one day, or maybe she'll pick me..... sometimes dreams could came true!!!
Warm hugs from two paws :) ...also a cat lover too!
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Jenzeestyle, United States of America
awesome to meet you, where i used to work at the nursing home the ladies played mahjong :).

i agree with you cats are lovely, i hope one day you get your post crossings meet up.

love Jen from maryland Usa
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geminiscp, Portugal
awesome postcards wall! :D Thanks for sharing your story and your enthusiasm! :)
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
Lovely story! ♥
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ConstantGardener, United States of America
I just LOVE all those cat post cards you have on display!!!!!
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Nana805, France
Nice to meet you Alison.
I play Mah-Jong too ! My mother teach it to me. And I’ve been teaching it to many of our friends and family. You are a very inspiring lady.
Have fun with Postcrossing
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Tjoks, South Africa
I loved reading this post about somebody from my own country. I live near Cape Town, a meeting sounds great☺
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Elfreda, South Africa
Alison, I am from Pretoria. That same Ideas inspired me as well. A get together will be nice.
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terridc, South Africa
Hi Alison, Lois and Tjoks, I'm also in Cape Town and is love it if we could arrange a meet up! Let's make a plan! Maybe send me a message through my profile and we an exchange details and set something up.
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terridc, South Africa
Urgh sorry for the typos in my above comment. It's been a super long day.
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teamug, Germany
Hello you lovely South-African postcrossers:
Check here in the forum:
https://forum.postcrossing.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=314
This is were South Africa's meet-ups are.
You can also see a guideline about meet-ups here, if this helps you.
https://forum.postcrossing.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=286
If you publish a meet-up, there is a chance that others see it and join in...
Wish you luck.
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paraiha, Finland
Greetings from Finland!
Thank you for the interview and opening your life and your way of living to us. I was very impressed and feel grateful to know you a bit. All my best wishes to you!
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lorilei61, United States of America
Love your interest in postcards, cats and reading. Three things I also like. You seem like a very interesting and active person.
Stay healthy. I would love to visit S. Africa someday.
Bet wishes.
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Suandrew, Australia
Inspiration to anyone, especially retirees. It was lovely to read about your postcrossing and other hobbies. I hope you get your wish to meet up with other postcrossers in South Africa.
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BeckyS, United States of America
Hello Alison, what a wonderful Spotlight interview! The photos of you seemed so familiar to me, so I looked at your Postcrossing profile. No wonder! I just received a postcard from you the other day, the one with the adorable little Sugarbird on it. Thank you again for such a lovely postcard. Oh, and I do hope that you someday get to attend a Postcrossing Meet-up. It is really a special experience to actually meet a fellow Postcrosser in person.
Happiest of Postcrossings to you!
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MURALIMADDUR, India
Nice to hear about how started post crossing..
Hope we get card from either one of us very soon
Enjoy post crossing.
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SergioSerra, Brazil
Hi. I've read the article and all its comments. It seems you're going to have a South Africa meet-up soon! I've never been to your country, but I once had a penpal from Johannesburg. Lyne Kaplan was her name. But it was almost 50 years ago. Now my hobbies are a few collections, some wooden craftwork, Spotify, Netflix, and travels. I hope I can visit your country someday. I'll keep my fingers crossed Postcard United will give me your address someday. Till there I'll look for a cute cat postcard for you. Have a nice day.
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erlinel, Indonesia
Hello, Alison! It's lovely how you have two blogs; I myself couldn't manage to keep writing on my one & only blog >.< Keep inspiring! ♥
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inki1963, Germany
What a surprise, Gonny is my pen friend for already some years now. I love her story cards so much!
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robinmp, United States of America
Hello Alison,
It's always so nice to see someone with a passion and similar interest as yourself. I live in the United States and have no active post crossing people nearby so no meet ups for me. I'd love to be able to be able to attend those. Maybe one day. Thank you for sharing and enjoy your excitement
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Crystalinne, United States of America
Hello Alison,
May your mailbox be continually full, and your life happy.
I enjoy reading these stories about postcrossers, as well as the shortened ones (sadly without pictures) on people’s profiles. The world is so much better for being connected, and not just through social media, but old school writings with the help of the post offices around the world!

I play a lot of board and card games, and some of my game group members play mah-Jong. I have yet to learn (other than the Americanized online type which is NOT the same play despite using similar tiles.) I think it’s wonderful that you play.
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betslets, United States of America
One of my favorite things is getting to know other Postcrossers, so this blog was a favorite, too. I have only received a few postcards of South Africa, through Postcrossing, but I've had friends who have travelled to your country and tell me how amazing it is. Now I "know" more about an amazing and inspiring lady who lives there. Great photos!
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purplejewels, Ireland
Hi Alison greetings from Ireland. I found your interview so interesting. Also l love your cat theme..
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Bowyum, Australia
The first postcard I ever wrote was from Cape Town, a view of Table Mountain- sent to my family in the UK. A beautiful country :)
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nelte, Germany
Hello Alison, much wishes from some tenderfoot here from germany.
I like your passion , you seem so full of energy for that what you love and enjoy, thats a good way. You looks so sassy with your eyeglasses ! Best heart-warming cheer for you , best happy moments ☀️
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Robin67, Austria
What a wonderful interview. Good luck on attending a meeting! :-)
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RENAULT, France
Hello Allison,
You are an amazing and exciting person. You are right to live your passions.
This is a good topic for the blog and I look forward to hearing from other postcrossers.
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DeniseRit, South Africa
Hi Alison, what an inspiring lady you are, I also live in Cape Town and a postcrosser, there are three of us in the office who postcross and love sharing our news and cards received. We would love a postcrossing get together. Denise
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