I was born in England and emigrated to Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1951, aged four, moving to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1963 aged sixteen. I attended Rhodes University South Africa, studying English and Psychology, then at the University College of North Wales, Bangor for an honours degree in Psychology. I came to Britain permanently in 1974, working as an English teacher, then took a Masters degree in Educational Psychology at Manchester University. I worked as an Educational Psychologist until 1990, becoming head of service for Essex Education Authority, and then was appointed as a senior education officer. I retired from public service in 1998, working as an education consultant until recently. I am married with two grown up children.
Hamba Gashleby Ian Hassall
Hamba Gashle is the inside story of white society in colonial Southern Africa during the 1950s and 1960s. Ian Hassall's edgy memoir provides a vivid and disturbing depiction of childhood and family life against a background of racial exploitation, political change and the disintegration of his white community. Written as a diary from childhood through to early adulthood, the deceptively simple style provides a sense of immediacy, building a vivid picture through apparently unconnected events. The child narrator arrives in Northern Rhodesia from England aged four. Soon after, his parents divorce and he is fostered for several years. His mother marries an anti British Afrikaaner who is a strong influence on the boy. As a teenager he becomes delinquent and fails at school. He moves with his father's family to Rhodesia as it is approaching UDI. The narrator has developed anti-racist views and joins the protest movement at university in South Africa. Finally he returns to London in 1970, alone, a stranger.
Ian Hassall produces a rich and informative picture of this period, honest, critical and unflattering, attacking its racism. The work is carefully researched so that key historical events are portrayed accurately and intimately. The youthful narrator's preoccupations, adventures, sexual encounters and daydreams contrast with more sober political observations, sometimes hilariously. This is also a study of childhood, and a celebration of youth which transcends time or location.
'Hamba Gashle' means both chameleon and take it easy, because of the animal's leisurely pace. The book's title reflects the author's admiration for this wonderful creature and its attributes, some of which he required to survive his upbringing.
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This is the memoir of the author from the age of 3 to 22. He was born in England, but at the age of 4, his parents decided to move to Africa, a land of prosperity for whites at that time. Over the years, as our narrator grows up, he must come to grips with racial inequality and the injustices he observes going on around him. He must also survive the divorce of his parents, the subsequent blending with step-families, getting along with his peers, the challenges of education, dating, sex and finally college and finding his place in the world. By the end of this journey, opportunities for whites have diminished as more and more jobs are "Africanized," and he finds himself a young man back in England, a virtual stranger in the very place where he was born. I found this story fascinating. The author is honest, at times brutally honest, about race relations, and he always seems to consider both sides of every issue. "Hamba Gashle" means chameleon, and he himself was like a chameleon through the years, blending in to the different situations he found himself in. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories and also to anyone who enjoys learning about different cultures and exploring political philosophies. I received a copy of this book free through Goodreads First Reads.