• Message from James Clarke

    "South Africa's Best Humour Columnist"

    - SA's Comedy Awards September 2008

    “South Africa’s funniest columnist.”

    - Financial Mail


    The name is Clarke. James Clarke. I have been told by people who know their way around the electronic world with its iPads, USBs, processors, modems, 500 gb hard drives, Blackberries and microwave ovens, that as a writer I have to have a blogsite. Otherwise, I am told, it is like passing oneself off as a CEO and you haven’t a leather chair that tilts back.

    Yet after four years of having a blogsite I still don’t really understand what it is or how it helps sell my books which is my major concern in life apart from not stepping on cracks when walking on the pavement.

    I am also told that on a blogsite it is customary to refer to oneself in the third person. This enables one to grossly exaggerate ones attainments without appearing to have done so personally.

    Not being one to buck the system...

    London-born James Clarke is your average tall, dark, handsome fellow who writes books – fiction and non-fiction. As a humorist he has been compared with PG Wodehouse and James Thurber. (The Daily Bugle in Des Moines said “compared with the works of PG Wodehouse and James Thurber, Clarke’s writing isn’t worth a row of beans”.)

    He long ago settled in South Africa where he became a mover and a shaker in the world of the environmental sciences. As a youth, being a mover and a shaker, had made it impossible for him to follow in his father’s footsteps as a bottler in a nitro-glycerine plant. Hence he turned to journalism.

    But around the time he retired a few years ago he found a new pursuit as a humorist. He wrote a daily humour column in the Johannesburg Star (now syndicated) and began turning out books of humour in the UK and South Africa.

    Clarke very recently moved boldly into the electronic publishing world. It was, he said afterwards, like a non-swimmer diving into a pool without first testing its depth.

    In November 2011 he re-issued his latest book of humour, “Blazing Saddles”, as an Amazon Kindle e-book under the title “Blazing Bicycle Saddles”. For a mere US$4.99 you can download a copy of this seminal cycling book in a matter of seconds by clicking here ....


    He did this with the full realisation that he is totally at sea in the electronic world with its telephones that take movies and receive faxes and sports results.

    The original edition of “Blazing Saddles”, published by Jonathan Ball, has been out of print for two years. It reveals the true story of how six retired men – five of them journalists – year after year set out (intrepidly) from the African continent on a series of exploratory expeditions cycling into “Darkest Europe” to bring back to the people of Africa tales of its funny natives.

    Clarke will also shortly be publishing, via Amazon.com, another of his action-packed autobiographical books – this time an account of his Second World War exploits as L*E*A*D*E*R of the Yellow Six Patrol of the 1st Streetly Boy Scouts in the English Midlands. He recounts the patrol’s ceaseless campaign to defeat Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade England.

    You can read about “The Yellow Six” within this blogsite.

    Clarke, apart from moving and shaking, is a travel writer and proud father of two highly successful daughters – one a biologist and the other an environmental impact analyst. He and his wife, Lenka, live north of Johannesburg.

Latest Book

Published by RandomStruik

July 2012


This book investigates the increasing conflict between people and wildlife inAfricaand what needs to be done about it. It describes how African government policies, many of them patently disastrous for rural Africans and for wildlife, are being dictated from middle class homes across Europe andAmerica.

It describes the human suffering and perceptions of those who live outside the reserve fences among man-eaters and marauders yet are excluded from the economic benefits accruing from the wildlife around them.

It provides evidence of a growing resentment among rural communities and warns how it is threatening the existence ofAfrica’s game reserves.

The book suggests that many in the Northern Hemisphere who support African wildlife conservation are blind to the seriousness of the situation and even totally unaware of it. Some African states – notably Kenya and Tanzania– adopt wildlife policies to please donor countries from whom they receive millions of dollars rather than formulating policies to benefit people and conservation. Fortunately there is a growing international lobby that is seeking solutions.

Available from all good booksellers in South Africa

Excerpt from chapter 1 – “The Conflict”

In many parts of Africa a “front line” has developed between humans and wild animals. It began many generations ago when the colonial powers appropriated wildlife to the central authority – a policy that most African countries have seen fit to retain. To the colonial powers wildlife was a resource to be commercially exploited – like minerals. Today’s governments view it as a revenue-earning commodity via tourism and hunting. And in common with the colonialists the current authorities allow those who live among wild animals almost no part in their control so that rural communities traditionally regard wildlife as government-owned. Throughout much of Africa they pursue bush meat with a sense of guilt – this after millennia of having the right to do so. They view national parks and game reserves as places set aside exclusively for the entertainment of rich outsiders. The authorities, with few exceptions, are doing too little to alter that impression. As a result there is today something like a guerrilla war being waged by many communities along this front line. On a daily basis bands of poachers armed with AK47s cross it and invade the reserves for meat, ivory and rhino horn. Annually hundreds of poachers on the one hand and game guards on the other lose their lives in what has become an intensifying bush war. And annually vast numbers of wild animals are killed.

There have been, since 2003, some significant if sporadic moves within Africa by scientists, officials, game lodges, safari companies, politicians, community representatives and field-workers to formulate a policy to alleviate human-wildlife conflict of which the public, particularly outside Africa, is unaware. The challenge to conservationists is no longer simply a case of “saving our wildlife heritage”. By raising funds to put up fences and aiding zoological research they have done wonders – but little is being done to win the hearts and minds of those outside the reserves so that they feel safer; so that they receive compensation for the loss of livestock, crops and lives to wild animals; so that they perceive wildlife in a positive light and at least receive tangible benefits from its presence.

One Response

  1. Hello Mister Clarke,
    thanks for this book. Does your book as a printed version or the Apple Store? The book is for Uwe (my husband) http://www.serengeti-wildlife.com/ but unfortunately he has a Kindle, but I would like to see in his future work your book.

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