I was lucky enough to meet Robin Binckes in 1993 when I was out in South Africa. I went on a tour with him to a few interesting spots in Johnasberg. He took me around of the poorer areas of the city, to a monument to the white settlers near Pretoria, to an early home of Nelson Mandela and to a farm where some of the many atrocities that haunt the apartheid years happened.
It was very interesting and I was able to see and photograph places where normally people aren’t overly welcomed. Some of the photos I took are on Robins site – spearofthenation.co.za.
He has been busy in recent times, and his interest in the recent history of his country have moved him to writing a book called Canvas under the sky.
I am sure the book will be very interesting and I hope to get my copy soon. Robins enthusiam, interest and massive knowledge of the history, politics and people were very much evident in the tour and I am sure the book will be just as revealing.
Robins site describes the book :
It is 1834. The Eastern Cape frontier is burning. Rauch Beukes, a young Boer of seventeen,
returns home to find that the marauding Xhosa have invaded from across the Great Fish River. So begins a tale of violence and warfare, of love and lust across racial divides, all painted against the sweeping backdrop of the Boer migration north into the hinterland that became known as the Great Trek, the result of British duplicity and injustice.
The dramatis personae are Boer and Brit, Xhosa, Griqua, Matabele, Zulu and Cape Malay slaves: from the Xhosa chief Hinsta, Colonel Harry Smith, the Zulu tyrant Dingaan, to the Boer trekkers Potgieter, Trichardt, Retief, Maritz, Cilliers and of course, Pretorius. And in young Rauch’s life are three astonishing women: Amelia, the daughter of an English settler; Marietjie, the beautiful meisie from Graaff-Reinet; and Katrina September, the sensual ex-slave.
Robin Binckes was born in East Griqualand, South Africa in April 1941. After matriculating in
Umtata, Transkei, he did his national service at the South African Navy Gymnasium, Saldanah
Bay. In 1970 he opened his own PR company to promote major sporting events ranging from
international cricket to Formula One Grand Prix during the period of sports isolation. In 1990 he started The Gansbaai Fishing Company and spent ten years in the food industry. During the
violence that swept this country in 1993 he volunteered as a peace monitor in the townships.
Sparked by the passion of the late historical orator David Rattray, he qualified in 2002 as a
historical tour guide, which he does in the Johannesburg–Pretoria region through his company
‘Spear Of The Nation’.