Having worked his way through two energetic careers, Ian Mathie retired and became a full time author. Using the pile of detailed notebooks he had kept during the years he spent working in the African bush, he began a series of African Memoirs in which he shares the many exciting experiences and gives his readers an intimate look at tribal life from within.
With four books in the series already published, the fifth volume is due for release any day. After that he intends to try his hand at fiction, with a fast paced spy thriller.
Born in Scotland, within sight of Edinburgh Castle, Ian was taken out to Africa aged three, when his soldier father was posted to be second in command of the Northern Rhodesia Regiment in 1951. After a sea voyage to Cape Town, during which he spent most of the voyage confined to his cabin with measles, the family spent four days on a train as it crawled across southern Africa, eventually stopping on the bridge over the Victoria Falls to wash the dust off the carriages in the spray.
Not long after arriving in Lusaka, Ian was sent to the local mission school, along with his father’s soldiers’ children. There all the teaching was done in the local language and in the mornings he did lessons, while in the afternoons the wide open bush was his playground.
At seven and a half Ian was sent back to UK to a boarding school, and hated its restrictive environment. Fortunately he was able to fly back to Africa for each of the school holidays, where he spent most of the time wandering in the bush with his local friends. Boarding school continued for the next nine years, during which he developed an interest in flying and demonstrated some talent by gaining his gliding certificate on his sixteenth birthday. Two years later he joined the Royal Air Force to train as a pilot.
Due to politically driven defence cuts, Ian’s career in the RAF only lasted four years, and then he returned to Africa. Someone in the service had noticed that he got on well with all the African students on his military courses, and he was invited to join the government’s overseas aid programme as a rural development officer. He was sent to West Africa and soon found himself specialising in water resources, living among isolated communities far out in the bush. As the work developed, the territory for which he was responsible increased, and he was given a light aircraft to fly himself between remote projects, often thousands of miles apart.
Over the years, Ian visited and worked in most of Africa’s countries, only returning to UK when changes in the political situation meant there were more local people available to take on the work he had been doing. Inspired by wanting to know more about what had motivated the tribesmen among whom he had worked, he took a place at Cardiff University and retrained as an industrial psychologist. He went on to develop some innovative and challenging motivational and performance development programmes, returning regularly to Africa on short term assignments and working across Europe.
When health issues restricted his work and travelling, Ian became a full time author, and now lives right in the centre of England, in south Warwickshire, with his wife and his dog.
For further information about Ian and his work, please visit: http://www.ianmathie.com.
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