Since I have friends who live in Africa, this book interested me. Welcome, Ben. (That was my father's first name, too.) What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I am a man with a strong faith and a belief that
Africa can be place that doesn’t need to be poor and so full of suffering. I love the outdoors and adventure where the boundaries can be pushed outdoors. Sailing, climbing, canoeing, riding, doing expeditions in remote places, ski-jumping[!] have all been passions of mine. I love places of outstanding natural beauty.
Tell us about your family.
I have a lovely wife called Laura and 3 wonderful children called Joshua , Stephen and Anna . My aptly named mother-in-law [Angela] lives with us and we often see my parents who are very special people too.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Not yet but I have some ideas.
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love reading and learning about the things of nature and being in the natural world. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do much of that over the last 10 years.
Why did you write the featured book?
A film was made about our David and Goliath struggle against a Dictator in an
International Court and while it was being made the Directors said: “it would be good if a book could be written about this.” I replied “I could write a book.” So I did. My purpose was to get people to try to understand what it is like to live under dictatorship and get people to see what the real issues are behind poverty in Africa.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?A true understanding of what the problems are surrounding an individuals bid to do something productive in Africa so that proper solutions can be fathomed which will enable the individual to be truly independent of the bonded feudal patronage system that has come about as a result of the lack of rule of the law.
Please give us a peek inside the book.
I first met him in the 1990s, in a dusty bit of veld a little to the north of
The dry heat was palpable as I turned off the tar road onto a
rutted dirt track leading to a run-down butchery, hoping to buy a
cold bottle of Coke. Having found one, I bumped along sipping it,
asking the people I passed where the rally was to be held.
I soon found the place. An old army tent had been erected for
the lesser dignitaries. A little to the right of it was a platform with
Dralon-covered chairs and with some more canvas over it. The
ordinary people stood or sat in a large rough semicircle beneath
the burning sky.
Apart from people from the nearby villages, numbers had been
swelled with bussed-in school children in their white shirts and
various coloured shorts and skirts. They were chattering away,
their smiles flashing in the sunlight against their black skins.
I had been told by my boss, the president of the Commercial
Farmers’ Union (CFU), to go to the event. It came with the job,
attending political rallies. I knew what to expect by now: dusty,
hot, thirsty days, mostly of waiting for enough people to turn
up for it to be worthwhile for the politicians to address them.
When the minister, or whoever the speaker was, finally arrived –
invariably many hours late – it was always with a fresh flourish of
authority, slogan chanting, and fist raising.
He arrived as if from nowhere. Suddenly he was right there,
in the centre of a large group of security people and important
dignitaries. There was a fantastic energy about him. He was
walking so quickly. His face was animated and he was talking and
gesticulating and moving on all at the same time.
Thank you for stopping by my blog, Ben.
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