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Laurens van der Post
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    (December 13, 1906-December 15, 1996)
    Born in Philippolis, South Africa
    Wrote the novels ‘In a Province’ (1934), ‘The Face Beside the Fire’ (1953), ‘The Seed and the Sower’ (1963), ‘A Story Like the Wind’ (1972), and ‘A Far-Off Place’ (1974)
    Non-fiction writings include ‘Venture to the Interior’ (1952), ‘The Dark Eye of Africa’ (1955), ‘The Lost World of the Kalahari’ (1958), ‘The Heart of the Hunter’ (1961), ‘A Journey into Russia’ (1964), ‘The Night of the New Moon’ (1970), ‘Jung and the Story of Our Time’ (1975), and ‘The Admiral’s Baby’ (1996)
    Knighted (1981)
    His writings about the San (Bushmen) of southern Africa promoted ‘noble savage’ myths.
    He seduced a fourteen-year-old girl trusted to his guardianship, resulting in the birth of a daughter (1954).
    He taught Prince Charles to talk to his plants.
    He convinced Margaret Thatcher to oppose economic sanctions against South Africa.
    His authorized biographer, J.D.F. Jones, concluded he was ‘a fraud, a fantasist, a liar, a serial adulterer and a paternalist. He falsified his Army record and inflated his own importance at every possible opportunity.’
    As a POW in the Pacific Theater during World War II, he worked to keep up the morale of his fellow prisoners.
    He inspired the government of Botswana to establish a national park encompassing much of the remaining San homelands. (Unfortunately, later governments started evicting the San from the park.)
    He financially supported his out-of-wedlock daughter until she reached the age of 18.
    He was godfather to Prince William.
    J.D.F. Jones said, ‘You have never in your life met a man so charming.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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