Both as an author and as a man, Laurens van der Post was someone who did not shy away from the difficult questions of life. Although one biographer slags him for allegedly fabricating stories and passing them off as real, many of those stories explore territories of the soul and spirit from which few others have returned intact.
On the one hand you could say he allied himself with established powers, choosing quite deliberately to serve Britain in becoming the post WWII British military attache in Indonesia and in later life accepting a knighthood from the Queen, and a role as godfather to one of Charles and Diana’s children. But on the other hand, his early contact with Bushman culture growing up in South Africa gave him an uncommon and critical perspective on the limitations and spiritual poverty of western materialism, a theme he explored in many of his novels. Continue reading