Friday, August 05, 2011


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 [11], Stephen[9] and Anna [6].  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.

chapter 1 
I first met him in the 1990s, in a dusty bit of veld a little to the north of
the farm.

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.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Marianne said...

I agree with Ben that Africa doesn't need to be poor and suffering. I'd love to see what he says about it. Great interview and post, Lena. Thanks. Also thanks to you and Ben for the giveaway. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Robyn said...

Sounds like a good look at the truth of dictatorship. Thanks for sharing this story with the world, Ben.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Hannah said...

Just watched POV's showing of Mugabe and the White African - so humbled and proud to watch Ben and family stand for what is right. Blessed to have seen it.

hannah.anderson at live dot com

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Joyce said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Love your blog.

Joyce in TN

Joyce.Williams2 at yahoo dot com

Christina said...

This book sounds very interesting. Count me in!

christina.slike at cladach dot com

dancealert said...

Great interview. I agree that the people in Africa are being treated so badly and really need help. Although there are many here who need so much help too. We can't bail everyone out. Those that have more should help though. Please enter me. Brenda from Michigan.
dancealert at aol dot com

Melissa M. said...

Sounds like a good book--count me in!

-Melissa from TX

Kristie said...

I have often wondered about the poverty and famine in Africa. I think I should read this book. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.