A Walk With a White Bushman: Laurens Van Der Post in Conversation With Jean-Marc Pottiez
Laurens Van Der Post
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Whether writing or speaking, Laurens van der Post has that rare ability to rouse the imagination and reach to the soul, to enlarge horizons, even to change people's lives., No one knows this better than Jean-Marc Pottiez, a fellow "Eurafricasian" (as he calls the author, with whom he shares a deep-rooted attachment to Europe, Africa and Japan) and the prime mover of this book. It was he who initiated the series of spontaneous discussions that form its core, and he who drew from Sir Laurens this fluent, fascinating and pointed commentary on many of the key issues and personalities of our time. The result is a book brimming with ideas, insights, people and events; at once thoughtful and exciting, mellow yet full of promise, autobiographical but also topical. For all the apparent diversity of its elements - world leaders, writers, tribespeople, politicians, intriguing stories of human and animal life - they are held together by Laurens van der Post's distinctive and cohesive vision. All form part of a whole, a positive, healing, unifying outlook that is sustained by a strong set of values forged from a lifetime of intense experience and challenge. For those who have never ventured with Laurens van der Post before, A WALK WITH A WHITE BUSHMAN offers a tempting preamble to many longer explorations. For those who have, it offers the kind of renewed inspiration of which there can never be too much.
COPYRIGHT About the Book Explorer, novelist, writer and film-maker, Sir Laurens van der Post was one of the most influential figures of our era. Here, in conversation with Jean-Marc Pottiez, he records his ideas and insights into a wide range of issues and personalities, forged by a lifetime of vast experiences and challenges. About the Author Laurens van der Post was born in South Africa in 1906, the thirteenth of fifteen children in a family of Dutch and French Huguenot origins. Most of his
together because we liked one another, and felt as though we belonged. And Lilian was a very important element in this; as far as I was concerned, the most important. There are so many others I wish I could tell you about: Keith Miller-Jones, for one, who lived just for friendship; and Julian Lezard – but they are truly legion and I am overcome with gratitude to life that has privileged me to be so befriended from the moment I was born. I do not go past a graveyard, by train, car or on foot,
to see he was awake and throwing off his blankets and saying: ‘Quick! Help me to the window so that I can see the mountains before Ruth gets back, because she will not allow it!’ And so, briefly, he circled the entire vast range of his vision of the earth and came home to where it consciously began. After that he went to bed and never left it alive again. I had just told my friends in the car this story when we came to the end of our journey, almost at the back of the garden of Jung’s old house.
countries would have emerged and a growth of genuine democracy, in the ancient Platonic concept, would have been possible in India, rather than the gradual erosion of democratic values. Living as I have for many years in Japan, I find what you say about the European myth of such a creature as ‘Oriental man’ important and extremely helpful. It is a misconception I battle against all the time. But I would be glad if you could elaborate on what you called the export of internal European frictions
much more bloodthirsty than we were. I would find it odd if Lord Mountbatten thought of them as beyond forgiveness because he was a magnanimous man. Yes, I would find it most strange . . . Mind you, you should have seen the prisoners when they came out of prison. Lady Mountbatten went round among them, helping them, and the stories they told about the way they had been treated and the numbers who had died of neglect and cruelty would have shaken anybody except the people concerned, because we