Wildlife in African countries is declining. We see it while it happens. What are some of the causes? Growth of population. Increasing urban areas. Exploding infrastructure. Unstable political systems. And the world of hunters and poachers and the traders behind it.
The South African writer Michael du Preez brings us into the world of hunters and poachers and traders. A world of money and a disregard of wildlife. In a way lions are the protagonists in this teen novel, but let me introduce you two two boys, two teens who have met at school in South Africa. One is Rampha Singh, who has a memory like a walking a personal computer and who comes from a rich Durban background. The other one is Paul Patterson, whose parents are at the point of breaking up. As it appropiate for a teen novel there are also two young girls who have a keen eye for these two boys. They are Ayesha and Debbie.
The mixed boardingschool is located a few kilometers away from Lion Camp. Tourists from home and abroad come here to witness the life of lions at first hand. These lions live in large fenced areas. One night a mighty thunderstorm visits the area of school and Lion Camp. During this night a group of lions under leadership of nKunzi manages to escape from the area secluded by the inner fence. Police and press move to Lion Camp. A search is started to locate and drug the lions and bring them back to Lion Camp.
The next evening Rampha has permission to see his parents of at the airport. He travels with Paul on his motorbike. During the journey they witness the capture of a group of lions. As a reader we have already met the three men behind the capture of these lions: the hunter Brett van Jaarsveld and his companion Tiny Terblanche who run a game farm in Botswana, the third one is Japie van Rensburg a mechanic who has a smallhold near the boarding school and the Lion Camp. The men have captured the lions to use them at the gamefarm so rich white hunters can make a trophy. At school the boys report what they have seen and the events start unfolding.
Du Preez uses as small headings in his chapters the day and the hour, so we follow the events and the speed of it. The police force is getting into high speed and the two boys are involved in it. During a nightly trip to a cafetaria they recognize the special truck used by the abductors of the lions. The boys decide to follow it, but they have already been seen by Terblanche. This misadventure ends with their abduction. I will not go any further in exposing the way the events unfold.
Michael du Preez has written a fast paced novel for teens in which we have a peep into the world of hunters and poachers. It shows the harshness of this world and handling wildlife. As sidelines we see the blossoming of the relationship between the boys and the Debbie and Aysha. Next to that the troubled relations within the Patterson family find a place. In this way the writer has written a finely crafted novel that kept my attention throughout the story with its bends and curves. The story shows the need to be careful and diligent in protecting our wildlife, an effort worthwhile.
Michael du Preez – Justice of the world, canned lion hunting drama – Faraxa 2016
This book was given to me by Faraxa Publishing.