Fame and fortune was what Mansfield man, Keith Brown, hoped to find when he went to work in the gold mines of South Africa in 1980.
Instead he discovered a country still entrenched in the apartheid which began in 1948 and people suffering huge injustices.
Mr Brown, who is a public speaker, has now written his novel, Mere Kaffir, retelling his story of working, living and suffering under South African apartheid and how it impacted his life. He hopes as well as educating people on its harsh realities to also raise enough money to help him take on phase two of supporting orphans in South Africa. Founder of the nonprofit Siyabakhulisa Care Centre in Mimosadale, Estcourt, Natal, the centre clothes, feeds and supports around 120 orphans in the area and he hopes more funding will provide better washing and cooking facilities.
Mr Brown said: “I wrote this book predominantly to raise money to open a new care centre at the orphanage but also to open people’s minds to the struggle and issues that are still deep rooted in society. I discovered a great deal in South Africa, not only about myself and the flaws within my own humanity but also just how deep rooted and ingrained our judgements and attitudes about other people and cultures really are .”
It has taken Mr Brown more than two years to write the book, which draws parallels from gold mining and the political regime with the behaviour of meerkats - known for their territorial and vicious behaviour towards other meerkat tribes.
Mr Brown added: “It has taken me decades to decipher my own understanding of what I truly learnt from the early days of my life. I hope the book can reach other people.”
The book is available online from www.lulu.com