A selection of reviews and heart warming letters:
I have just finished reading Beloved African and was so moved I wanted to write and say thank you. I have never before written to an author and hesitate...but feel more that I am writing to a friend, long out of touch - than to a stranger as your voice in all the various roles you played in broadcasting, was a daily part of my life for many years. Even though I was a child with limited understanding, I was aware of the nationalistic tensions before UDI. Only now do I understand ... the joys of building, of the good years, the terrible pain of the setbacks and meddling betrayals and neglect from "higher up" were all evocative for me. I laughed some and cried more as I found familiar types and places and scenes in your pages from Domboshawa to FishHoek. I found myself wishing I had been tutored or worked under a headmaster of your father's caliber. Then I was forced to realize, perhaps I was and I wish I had had the maturity to realize it. What higher tribute can I offer than that I felt lifted by your book to be a better person than I had been before and without it. LJ Canada
I have just finished reading your book and I felt compelled to write and tell you how much I thought about it. It expressed and told a piece of history which had not been told and shed a new light on the picture of Africa at the time. ... this was the inspirational story of a man who understood the importance of education. You told the story without making him into a hero, but highlighted that he was a remarkable man in often impossible situations. The last few chapters gave me a new admiration for him -his strength of character yet the depth to which he felt the actions he had to take were heartwrenching. You showed your mother's importance to him in a way that I hope that one day I can find the same comfort and stability and companionship in one person. AC - Australia
Last night when I should have been working, I sat on the couch reading Beloved African and kept at it until all hours - it just became un-putdownable. It's a wonderful story and I think you've laced it together beautifully. I cant get over one thing - that your Dad was thinking and saying the same things we are saying now about integration - it's unbelievable that 65 years later the same issues are still there and the vast majority of people are still behaving the same way! CB - Zimbabwe
A beautiful tribute to your parents and their great contribution to African Education. It is equally important in that the book is a most valuable historical record of what dedicated educationists contributed to the development of Rhodesia - a factor which nowadays is largely ignored, or if mentioned, is derided. JC - Zimbabwe
I've just finished reading Beloved African and I was so moved by your narrative that I must express my appreciation of your detailed research and of the story you wrote. I felt for John in his frustration with departmental bureaucracy as his vision and ideals weren't all realised and one had to admire his strength and persistence ... I wish I'd know then, what a remarkable man was sitting so quietly on our settee that afternoon five years ago. MD - Australia
One knew about parts of John's life and work, but your book gives coherence to the whole of it, with its intimate, touching and, in places, distressing account of what happened. What a fortunate thing it is that you have all those records of what John thought and wrote. Even one word in a diary or letter can revive a submerged memory NE - UK
I have recently read your lovely book Beloved African and I want to tell you how much I enjoyed it and to congratulate you on its appealing lucidity, lack of affectation and sincerity. It made a great impression on me. LG South Africa
AN INTRODUCTION TO BELOVED AFRICAN.
The story of education in this country is one of such dynamism and achievement, despair and hope that I wish it would one day be written. Not from the point of view of the professional academic…that has already been done, but very much more in the shape of personal reminiscence.”
John Hammond - the Beloved African
A year or so after my father’s death in 1996, Beloved African was started, just as he had wished, as personal reminiscence and a memoir for the family. We knew he'd played a remarkable role in Rhodesia but I wondered, often, at the depth of love and respect shown to him by leading Africans all over the country. It was a heart warming response that required more investigation.
Nancy Sugden ... gentle, rather spoilt, English country girl was, in 1935 and only a few weeks after meeting John Hammond, seriously contemplating life as a pioneering colonial. With the naiveté and daring of youth, she could hardly wait!
Oh Nancy! little did you know what lay ahead.
Three editions later of Beloved African later - the first published in South Africa in 2000, the second in Australia in 2003 and the third in the UK in 2007, the demand continues. My great sadness has always been that neither the hard cover nor the paper back versions were released in Zimbabwe. Now, with an e-book to be published shortly and an audio book to follow, I hope this great story encourages and brings enjoyment and understanding to so many more of my countrymen and women.
BelovedAfrican is now available for the first time, as an ebook with an audio book to follow. Please click this photograph to get more information from the Amazon site