A Salta soul tracker

A Salta soul tracker
A Salta soul tracker

Fernando Rufino Figueroa Valdez was born in El Galpón, on May 30, 1922. In love with the province, its towns and its people, he knew how to collect the historical legacy of his native land in important works that recover its past, its spirit and its beliefs. He developed his vocation as a writer as a tracker and researcher of the regional past, with its myths, its secrets and its heritage, to make history the aspect of his stories and novels.

This fervor for writing was captured, among other titles, in “The Stone Woman”, “Biographical Dictionary of Salteños”, “Sucesos”, “Historia de Salta”, “El Tesoro del Curu-curu”, “Reflejos”, “Salteñismos”, “Don Martín”.

He studied at the Conciliar Seminary of Salta and was a tireless cultural worker. Active journalist, he collaborated in El Tribuno, El Intransigente, La Capital (Rosario), El Trabajo (Mar del Plata), Presencia (La Paz, Bolivia), El Crestón (Metán, Salta), Para Ti (Buenos Aires).

He was director of Tourism and Culture of the Province of Salta, between 1961 and 1962. He directed the cultural magazine ‘Sucesos Salteños’, between 1964 and 1968. He edited ‘La Gaceta Comercial’, in 1968 and 1969; the ‘Salta Tourist Manual’, ‘Teaching Action’, ‘Yesterday and Today of Salta’, in 1971, the ‘Student Guide’, in 1972. He was Press Director of the Catholic University of Salta, he hosted radio programs in Radio Nacional and on LV9 Radio Salta. He also ventured with programs on Channel 11 in Salta. He was reorganizing president of the SADE and auditor of the SADE. He was a member of the Regional Research Institute of the Catholic University of Salta and the San Felipe and Santiago Institute of Historical Studies of Salta, and an active member of the Güemesiano Institute of Salta.

For his work, he received notable and well-deserved awards. In his house at 404 Olavaria Street he hosted unforgettable meetings in which we talked about Salta culture, projects and history, as a living present.

He died on November 12, 1996.

A month later, the president of the Canal 11 Foundation, Virginia Blaquier de Patrón Costas, the writer César Antonio Alurralde and the journalist and historian Gregorio Caro Figueroa, presented their posthumous work at the Historical Council of Salta: “De Figueroa and other lineages of Salta”, edited by the Canal 11 Foundation.

His generous legacy includes the books “Tierra gaucha” and “Salta tourist manual.” “The treasure of Curu-Curu”, a narrative, won the NOA Culture Award, Tucumán, in 1970.

“The Stone Woman”, legend of Esteco, 1974, narrative, First prize from the Inter-American Association of Writers, Buenos Aires.

This story, whose text was inspired by a miniseries broadcast on Multivisión Federal, takes up the traditional belief about the destruction of that city, due to the earthquake of September 13, 1692. The story presents Esteco as a sinful city that rejects a missionary . Only one woman receives it. The telluric phenomenon appears as a supernatural punishment from which only the missionary and the woman who helped him were saved. The story has a biblical evocation. Esteco appears as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the stone woman, as Edith, Lot’s wife. Both are turned into statues for disobeying and looking back to contemplate divine punishment. The legend assures that the woman from Salta, turned into a stone statue, advances towards the provincial capital and that the day she arrives will be the end of the world.

The anthology “La Cueva de la Salamanca” received the Manuel Gálvez Prize. His books “Biographical Dictionary of Salteños”, “Itinerary of the Salta Foundation”, “Contribution to the Toponymy of Salta”, “The Speaking of Salta”, an essay with the compilation of more than three thousand proverbs, are now part of the heritage culture of our Salta.

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