Joined Oct 5 2014
After doing a PhD in Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, based on a lot of literature as well as work done in Northwest Botswana, I moved back to Africa to work in the Zambezi Valley among the BaTonga people about whom I had learned so much. For transport in Binga District, Zimbabwe, around which I travelled extensively, I found that I needed donkeys, and recommended donkeys as transport for the setting up of an outreach library for the district (which alas never happened there in the end). In no time at all I found myself attending the first international 'colloquium' dealing with donkeys, and writing a manual for Zimbabwe's Department of Agriculture. After that I was no longer an archaeologist but a donkey specialist, and have remained so ever since, attending conferences on working animals and sustainable farming, and publishing lots of papers and looking at the future of this remarkable animal that, for more than 6000 years has worked so willingly for humans. When I had to move back to South Africa, the greater part of my own little herd of donkeys walked down to be with me, and we've engaged in many adventures. I now have a small training centre where donkey owners can be trained to use their animals better, but I also advise various NGOs on the use of donkeys and how this may be changed. A great challenge in southern Africa is the way donkeys are hitched to wheeled vehicles, traditional because adopted from horse technology, but very damaging to donkeys. There is also much to be done to overcome attitudes that see donkeys as representing backward technologies, instead of what they truly are: an animal of the future, superior in many ways to most other working animals. Unfortunately this does not keep the wolf from the door, so I earn by living my English-language copy editing, when I can. Connected to the world mainly by internet, my animals and I inhabit an enchanting slice of bush on the Sand River not far south of the Limpopo, and welcome visitors.