It seems fashionable to include a photo gallery on author websites. This is not too scientifically written, and somewhat whimsical. You may click on the photos to enlarge. First, this is me, the English boy, with my little sister, late 1964.
By the time I turned five, I had visited four continents. In the mid-1960s, it was most unusual to have seen so many places. The photo shows my mother, sister, and me in Pompeii, in 1965.
In 1965, life took a radical turn, when we relocated to a pre-modern society in Micronesia. Today this is a part of the Republic of Kiribati, now far more connected with the world.
It was an unbelievable and unimaginable adventure. My grandfather drew this impression of a reef crossing—something we did countless times.
My father was the last Chief Missionary in the Central Pacific. He was the only Chief Missionary to be elected head of the local Church both pre- and post-independence—but London wouldn't have it. Colonialists to the last!
My father was itinerant. Every week, he travelled to another place, while the family moved less frequently. Therefore Temeeti the son of Teiaa was appointed as my guardian.
I began to attend school on Tarawa atoll, in 1968. I was not accustomed to chairs, and continued to sit cross-legged, as the locals did. We are doing homework here, with the police chief's children.
I briefly attended school in the UK. This seemed to me to be chaotic: both informal and ill-disciplined. They examined my shoe-print once to see whether I had kicked open a door. That was not in my repertoire.
In 1969, we settled in apartheid South Africa. My father said to me one day, "I want to show you something before it is gone." This was the multiracial District Six, which the government soon demolished.
My mother came from a distinguished family on the Continent. She inspired in me an interest in European history. Here, as a teen, I walked down a railway track to find out more about the West–East German border.
We saw vast parts of Southern Africa: its people, its industries, and its landscapes as my parents sought regular escape from the pressures of ministry.
I was a rebellious boy. My parents sent me to a boarding school in the old Afrikaner mold. The hardships and sadistic cruelty destroyed my health. I had to be helped out of there, and was admitted to hospital.
For most of my schooling, I attended Sea Point Boys' Junior and High Schools. The teaching was both inspired and inspiring. This made a deep impact on the students, and turned out many notable men.
At about the time that seminary studies began, I had a lovely girlfriend. "We were young, we ran free, stayed up late ... we were alright." Here we are coming down Lübeck's Rodelberg on a sledge. It is Super 8 film, no sound.
I studied for two years in Switzerland, under famous professors—a foundation for a Masters. I proposed to a Swiss student on this promenade on the Rhine, and she said ... yes. I became an occasional member of Swiss society.
In 1982, I graduated at the Bible Institute of South Africa, on the right of the photo. They took the things we students said very seriously, to the point of (almost) apoplexy. But this was good. We thought our ideas really mattered.
My wife was a rising star. She became a doctor of philosophy, and a founder-director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom. I am in the background here.
For ten years, we had a thriving ministry in the city of (then) Port Elizabeth. This is a newspaper clip, which marks the turning of the sod for a new Church to seat 250 people.
A son was born. He went on to be a doctor of zoology, married a lovely Russian woman, and settled in Switzerland. He gave up zoology for ministry and ... poetry, but still turns out some major papers.
I developed an interest in electronics, to the point that I became the world's no. 1 electronic project designer. This is one of my "covers". I did the Thunderstorm Monitor here. Some of my designs were revolutionary.
I had a close friend. We said that we'd meet, as the Beatles sang, "when I'm sixty-four". My last impression of her was frightening. She committed suicide. It still troubles me.
For more than twenty years—as assistant minister, then minister—I ministered in an urban Church in Cape Town. This photo of the worship team gives a glimpse of a diverse and thriving Church.
Ministry was full of joy and fulfilment—but also full of chaos and crisis. This happened when I pushed myself too hard and too far. I ended up in Intensive Care.
I drove various three-wheel pickups in ministry, which were great fun to drive, and my "trademark" wherever I went. I had a bad accident in one of them, when someone drove onto the wrong side of the road.
Late in life, I embarked on a Master's degree at the prestigious Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. They didn't want me back for the second half, but finally I graduated 0.1 short of a perfect GPA (summa cum laude).
I completed a second Master's at the South African Theological Seminary. I had a revered supervisor, a hard taskmaster, but I loved him. He drove me to cum laude. He was killed in a car crash.
Something perhaps not represented in a single event is my acquaintance with linguistics. Among other things, a young woman, now a celebrated linguist, tutored me in linguistics. I studied linguistics at postgraduate level.
A few times, I visited the Servants mission in Cambodia. I escaped a deadly ambush by the Khmer Rouge, when I decided against an invitation to Kampong Chhnang. I was silent when I heard the news. It was all understood.
In 2011, my wife died of bone marrow cancer. It was a big shock to me. In this last photo of her, she was ravaged by the disease, so that I do not show it in focus. A Church member handed her flowers, "because I love you".
My life took another radical turn. My wife left me with instruction to marry a rural woman of Mpondo (royal) descent. In 2012, it began with the African custom of lobola, which is betrothal. I took this photo of preparations for the feast.
We were married in 2013. Good grief, I had married into Africa—that took some adaptation. But I seemed to have come full circle from the Pacific. This is a photo of my wife (centre) with relatives of her generation.
I was introduced to offal, which included sheep's teeth smiling at me from my plate. The greatest delicacy, of course, is the eyes. This is two sheep's heads, being prepared on a fire.
I gained various strapping brothers-in-law, who all seemed much more useful than me—and sisters-in-law, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters.
In 2013, I was briefly detained, and criminally charged. But a police investigation turned up that I had been set up ... by the police. This was a tumultuous saga which continued a long time as I sought accountability.
We built a lovely cottage, which I designed, in a village east of Cape Town. It was our heart's desire. But we had to relinquish it when theft became big. A window here, a wall there ...
Beginning in 2013, I served for seven years as Consulent Minister to the Little Karoo. Through my coming, we stopped the sale of the last English-speaking Church in the area, and set it on a sound footing for the future.
In 2015, I became a co-editor of the philosophy weekly Pi. During my time, it rose to no. 7 in the UK. But in 2022, the editors had to part ways. This shows the nationalities of our authors.
The same year, I embarked on the writing of a total philosophy, or metaphysics. People said, a metaphysics? Impossible! It was published by Wipf & Stock in 2022. I am pictured here with some of the many drafts I wrote.
One of my special interests is photography. 26 stock photographs have 120,000 downloads at the time of writing. This one is the most highly rated—a cousin of my wife Ester.
In 2018, I was seized by gunmen with semi-automatics. They interrogated me for 90 minutes, then posted a guard. I escaped. One can't rely on anyone to do their job any more.
In 2023, an imprint of Wipf & Stock accepted a second metaphysics for publication. Titled This Town, it is presented in the form of an illustrated novelette "for adults and teens".