Jeremy Hall’s childhood in the white-ruled apartheid South Africa of the 1950s and ’60s was ostensibly idyllic: growing up in the farming areas of Natal, he had free rein to pander to his keen exploratory mind, yet niggling away was entrenched racism and interracial hatred. Closeted in the hallowed halls of an English-speaking high school, the revelation of the real world that followed – a world of township unrest, Afrikaner politicians issuing dire warnings of the red and black hordes massing on the borders – exploded into Hall’s psyche with his national-service call-up into the South African Defense Force (SADF), where he encountered the institutionalized hatred of the Afrikaner hierarchy for the English-speaking recruits, the rowe, or ‘scabs’. Disillusioned and unsettled, following his SADF conscription, Hall found himself in 1976 signing on for three years with 2 Commando The Rhodesian Light Infantry as the bush war in that country erupted from a simmering, low-key insurgency into full-blown war. As a paratrooper with this crack airborne unit, he was to see continual combat on Fireforce operations and cross-border raids into Zambia and Mozambique, such as Operation Dingo, the 1977 Rhodesian attack on ZANLA’s Chimoio base.
"A loner by nature, his sensitive appreciation of his surroundings is evident in his writing, in spite of often hostile circumstances. From his Natal-based almost colonial lifestyle through his many life-changing experiences in Africa, he has been able to stand back, to remember, to consider and to set down in writing a host of these memories – and to set aside others. This is an extremely well written book that ‘tells it like it is’ and as a result it is difficult to put down and impossible to forget." Shelagh Nation
Helion and Company
Helion and Company
Helion and Company
Helion and Company
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The author, leaving Africa finally and returning to his adoptive home in Canada, weeps angry tears for "what it had been, could have been, what it is now; its future so unknown, what it should be and is not." The tale of Jeremy Hall's early years in Africa is told harshly and with no holds barred, in a style so direct that he seems to be simply telling his story to a friend, probably over a beer.
Hall was a privileged child of a well-to-do family dominated by a short-tempered father, given to political ranting, who showed little affection for his son, and was outspokenly contemptuous of the local Zulus and other blacks. Born in 1954, Hall spent most of his childhood in the farming Midlands of Natal, first near Mooi River and then in the sugarcane growing area of Eshowe, finally completing his schooling at Kearsney College in Durban. Of this establishment he writes "Despite the bullying, I have nothing but admiration for Kearsney College."
In my capacity as a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with Veterans for many years and also as someone who fought in the Rhodesian Bush War, WEEP FOR AFRICA by Jeremy Hall , is possibly one of the best books I have read on Africa/ Rhodesia, his time in the South African army and the RLI. It captures his love and loss of Africa. His time in the South African army had me nearly splitting my sides with laughter. His description of his experiences in the RLI were at times very hard hitting and well portray the harsh challenges of fire force. This is a must read book and one which will keep the memory of a time long past alive both with regard to the lighter moments but also as a testament to the deep and life long suffering of so many men post war. Well done Jeremy . Barry Zworestine
A deep and emotionally charged autobiographical work, written with honesty and sprinklings of humor (and a few side splitting stories), 'Weep For Africa' takes us through the early childhood and adolescence of its author, growing up in apartheid South Africa, through his conscription into the South African Defense Force, and onto his three year stint in the Rhodesian bush war. Well written and flowing easily, this book will both entertain and enlighten it's readers. Jeremy Hall provides a first-hand account of this controversial chapter in the regions history, the harsh realities of war and the psychological aftermath. These are whispers of the conscience that cannot be fully and neatly stored away in a corner of the mind and forgotten forever. A courageous first work, by an author who I'm sure will be putting pen to paper again.
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