Book 3 of the 'TOM OWEN' series
"THE EARLY YEARS"
A man who as a boy was Tom Owen's neighbour and later at school with him, is caught poaching the Swazi King's impala (gazelle) and wants to punish those responsible for putting an end to his illegal operation.
At the end of WW2 Tom Owen's family move from from the Eastern Cape to a remote farm in the Transvaal awarded to Tom's father. It is where Tom spends his early years during difficult and troubled times in the company of Temba, a young Swazi boy. The two barefoot young boys grow apart when they are both sent away to seperate boarding schools and later the family moves to Swaziland, a British Protectorate, to escape racial bias and aparheid laws in South Africa.
As the boys grow into yound men they learn about love and how to hunt wild animals. After completing their education the two friends meet up again when they work on the same cattle ranch in the Swaziland Bushveld. But there are poachers in the area, and the two young men, determined to help put an end to the illegal activities of these villians, get into all sorts of scrapes, including the use of witchcraft, when the poachers abduct and rape a young woman.
Based on the author’s early life, all the characters are real and the events did take place.
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For those of us who grew up in southern Africa, this is a must read. I can feel the pain in my (already hardened) feet as I stepped through the paper thorns so vividly described. The author has a marvelous recall of the characters and places that appear in the book. It certainly took me back and jogged my memory for the better. For a good, relaxing, descriptive read about Swaziland and surrounding areas in the 1960s, this is a perfect tonic. I look forward to reading Ken's next book - 'Black Mamba, White Settler'.
Geoffrey Riddell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finished "Barefeet". What fond memories it brought back to me! I hope to show my wife all these places in August. The book itself is a gem, never a dull moment, well done Sir! I assume that the DeJager fiend remains a nom de plume? Nsoko did have some shady characters around. I imagine the John Woodburne who replaced you at Mlaula must be from the Hlatikulu family? I was great freinds with Ivor, one below Johnathon as we knew him. I have started on Mamba.
Spike Kennedy - Brazil.
ISBN - 10: 1494208032