2017 Christmas Extravaganza featuring T.M. Clark
The Christmases of my childhood were a time when our farm would be full of family and friends. We’d decorated a freshly cut conifer tree, and the lights were always on.
On Christmas morning, my sisters and I used to have a competition to see who could wake up earliest before rushing through to the lounge to see what Santa had brought. Despite the Zimbabwean heat, lunch was always a huge traditional affair.
I loved Christmas and Boxing Day. ‘Bokkies day’ as we used to call it. All the workers, with their families, would come inside the security fence and we would hand out their ‘bonsellas’, buckets of extra rations like mielie-meal, rice, salt, candles and soap. I used to love giving them out and seeing everyone so happy.
Looking back as I write this as a mature adult, I know that I took what I had for granted. I feel a deep sense of sadness that, as a kid, I didn’t see the inequality of life back then.
When I moved to South Africa, Christmas became a very different experience. Just us five girls in a school hostel, we would ‘inherit’ the spindly pine tree used for the boarding children. Our presents no longer went under the tree, but my mum would hand them out wrapped in a Checkers yellow plastic bags.
I guess it was only after my father died when I was a teenager that I started to have a proper appreciation, and respect for life. When you’re young and growing up in a war-zone, it takes the death of someone you love to really understand what it means to lose someone.
Trimmings and tinsel no longer mattered, as long as we were all together.
Fast forward a few years…
I’m still a Christmas junkie. I have 9-foot ceilings and a Christmas tree that’s just over 9 foot. I spread the Christmas cheer throughout the house and take part in our local Christmas Boat parade, although this year we’re in Europe on holiday but we’ve still but up our “little” five-foot tree for our house sitters, although I’m battling to decorate it because I won’t be here to enjoy it.
All this said, I think I’ve come to appreciate that Christmas is WHO you have in your life to celebrate the holiday with that is important, and THEY make the happy spirit of Christmas, smile on me.
Child Of Africa
After returning from Afghanistan, ex-British marine Joss Brennan embraces living as a double amputee, but he finds life at his safari lodge near Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, not quite as idyllic as when he left.
Peta de Longe is a big game veterinarian and no stranger to hard decisions. Working in the messy political society of Zimbabwe, she’s engaged in a constant struggle to save the national parks. When she nearly drives over Joss, the reunion isn’t joyous – Joss let down her dying sister eighteen months before, after all. But once she uncovers the terrible ordeal that Joss has gone through, can she learn to forgive and move forward?
When a corrupt and dangerous businessman with close ties to government threatens all he holds dear, Joss realises he doesn’t need to save strangers in a faraway land. But will he fight to save his own country and the people he considers his family?
About the Author:
T.M. Clark now calls Australia home. Her first novel My Brother-But-One published in 2013 by Harlequin, Mira, was nominated for The Courier Mail 2014 People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award. Followed by Shooting Butterflies (2014), Tears of the Cheetah (2015) and Child Of Africa (December 2017). Her first picture book, Slowly! Slowly! (November 2017 – Wombat Books), is a companion book to that. She runs the CYA Conference in Brisbane, providing professional development for new and established writers and illustrators of Children’s and Young Adult literature.