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Will Randall & Botswana & a school in Kasane Wonderful read!
on 21 May 2005
Will Randall (who I must admit became a good friend after he stayed with us in Kasane, Botswana and even taught my son at the school of this book!)has written an excellent insight into that magical country: Botswana, through the eyes of a happy-go-lucky teacher from the UK.
Will's lucky streak which always takes him into wonderful adventures, has never ceased to amaze me.
His previous books Solomon Time (he was sent to the Solomon Islands to establish a self sustaining project on the back of a 'dinner party' meeting in England) and Indian Summer (a journey to the sub-Continent after a chance meeting with an elderly lady in a London museum)established Will Randall as a travel writer with that special twinkle in his observant eye that has set him above many other travel writers. Bloodshot that eye may become, from time to time during his stay in Kasane, Botswana but the sparkle was always there and that is the wonder of Will who filled our lives with laughter, both in real life and through this, his third and arguably his best, book, and I wish him well.
Botswana Time is a gentle introduction to that landlocked country Botswana, larger than France (therefore twice the size of UK) and with a population of 1.3 million which is rapidly decreasing through the classless ravages of AIDS which Will Randall does not shirk from in his book.
Will flies from London to Cape Town for a wedding and ends up (in true Will Randall style!) on the banks of the Zambezi, in the village of Kasane, Botswana, some 1000 miles North of Cape Town! and teaching in a small school of wonderful kids and in charge (?!?) of the Kasane Kudus - THE football team of Kasane.
But this is a story of hope, seen through a man who genuinely loves the children he teaches and how he handles the many obstacles that "Africa" throws up in his journey, as he discovers the 'behind the tourist facade' of this great Continent of which has often been written: once Africa gets in your blood, you can never forget it.
Botswana Time is much more than a teacher in Africa - it is an accurate story of life in a remote African village. I would challenge anyone to say that their outlook had not been altered by reading this book. Here is a man who has taken the bull by the horns (sorry elephant by the tusks!) but if you are looking for Mr Randall, Mr Mango is atop the nearest tall palm tree!
As I mentioned at the start of this review, I might have been accused of being biased through friendship, but I am not. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if you yourself have ever wondered 'why am I still doing this drudge every day' then here is a writer who may inspire you: for he left the rat race many years ago, and his Gods have looked down favourably on him ever since. It is inspirational (not to mention at times 'laugh-out-loud' hilariously funny) if you haven't been to Africa you will want to now, and if you have, you will agree with me: "Africa never leaves us" and further agree: 'Will Randall has written a worthy account of that appeal tah Africa holds' and in the words of Alexander McCall Smith who said it was "Wonderful, amusing and affirmative" may I congratulate Mr Randall and simply re-iterate "Bravo Mr Mango, Bravo!" Five stars Will, Loved it and thanks Andy McGregor