To start with...
Events can take away people and possessions but, as long as they have reasonable control of their faculties and given access to even just pen and paper, a person can write. Circumstances have transported me from my homeland of Zimbabwe to my home in the Scottish Borders, via South Africa, and throughout my travels and settled phases I have been writing. My experiences form the backdrop for my novel called 'Ruth', which has given me scope to remember Africa. See novels page...
I began my working life by using typewriters and carbon paper. I went to universities in South Africa and gained a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University, Grahamstown and a BA Hons (English) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. I then worked for national English-language daily newspapers (see my Autobiographical Sketch) at a time when Apartheid was entrenched. Understanding that I was just a cog in the wheels of institutionalised racism, I left. I became even more aware of my guilt-by-association when I came across to Britain. This was in 1976, in the days before Britain fully realized its own race problems.
Usually, people’s immediate response on meeting me is political so I will try and summarize my stance. I learned through my parents to be a white liberal. They and I never voted for the Rhodesian prime minister who in 1965 declared unilateral independence from Britain. We were among a small White minority who did not support Ian Smith or his efforts to thwart Black majority rule. I don’t believe in group discrimination of any sort and I strive for tolerance. I am not a racist but, at the same time, I wouldn’t presume to understand how Black nationalists feel about my kind. I have been in Britain now for longer than I lived in Southern Africa and still hold very dear my childhood spent under the African sun. continue » »
I think that the main purpose of writing is to communicate, so that means, by taking an interest, by reading, you are helping me to fulfill my goal. I read widely - from literary novels to crime fiction to non-fiction - and I hope that my novel "Ruth" is a pleasing blend of general fiction and crime writing. I aspire to finding a happy balance between these. I go to art exhibitions and the theatre or ballet but I also watch, greedily, detective dramas on television. I am a fan of Ian McEwan and of Sebastian Faulkes and I also like to read Agatha Christie, P.D.James, Ian Rankin etc.
I used to write some poetry but these days it’s prose. Scottish dialect fascinates me although I can only trot out a few Scots words and phrases. I am very attached to Scotland itself and the Scottish Borders, in particular. The scenery is stunning and the quiet of country life is enviable. The question I ask myself sometimes is, ‘Does Scotland accept me?’ I don’t really want to know the answer to this. I must have puzzled people in the small town where I live. After my divorce, and after living in the country for some years, I plonked myself down near the centre of town in a small flat with my dog and visits from my grown-up daughters and my friends. It was unlikely that a Rhodesian should land up in the heart of a Scottish town. My neighbours must have been a bit startled. However, I think people have got used to seeing me around. I still get asked where I come from. I would have thought my accent would be very soft by now.