|Excerpts from the book
Malaria was the killer in the early days. Dr Williams had a daily greeting for all he met.
'Have you taken your quinine?' On receiving an affirmative answer he would reply, 'Well take some more.'
S.P. Lived to 97 years. On his last birthday I phoned him and asked after his health. There was a sigh at the other end of the line and then the reply, 'Man, have you ever tried dying before? It's damn difficult.'
'Dad,' said Benjamin, 'how do I explain grandfather to my friends? I mean this is the end of the twentieth century and they won't believe that in this day and age there is still an old prospector living in a mud hut with cow dung flooring. What do I tell them?'
'Just tell the truth and describe what you have seen with pride. You don't have to be ashamed,' I replied.
Some wood-boring grubs are as big as small sausages. Six of them would set you up for the day. Rodents provided good food and nourishment. These animals were not town rodents but animals that ate grass and seeds. Embers of the fire would burn off the fur and the skin would act as a baster. The taste was indistinguishable from rabbit.
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|My Mothers Kitchen was a Baobab
(The Story of a Rhodesian Family)
Now in its third printing. This book is an autobiographical romance. Ben Bezuidenhout expresses with affection and deep love, the natural and human environment in which he grew up. Here is a narrative of courage and struggle, its ambience one of man's interaction with people and nature. Living in the colony of Southern Rhodesia, Ben's family found themselves functioning as pioneers in a country won for imperialism by questionable consultation and aggressive conquest. Farms needed development, roads had to be built, water systems established, medical facilities made available, education offered to as many as possible and the essential infrastructure of a modern state provided for all.
This adventure works itself through the anecdotal reminiscence of memory. It is laced with humour, acute observation and entertaining appreciation of characters whose work-ethic became second nature. Enterprise and entrepreneurship became their watchwords long before the latter term became trendy.
Whatever the political and moral imperatives of the day, and the latter-day judgement of the twenty first century on the 'scramble for Africa' in the late nineteenth century, time and events have moved on. This book consciously avoids a political interpretation of the colonial experience in Rhodesia, its fifteen years of unilateral 'independence' and recent developments. Its focus is human endeavour, response, suffering and the struggle to respect and relate to an environment rich in natural beauty and challenge.
My Mother's Kitchen was a Baobab is a wonderful read.
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