Untitled The mystery of wood is not that it burns… but that it floats…
For centuries Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs sailed their dhows on the monsoon winds down the coast of Africa from Mogadishu, past Zanzibar and Kilwa on to Sofala in the south, to trade in ivory, gold and glass beads. But how did a Persian bowl with 13th century inscriptions, a 14th century coin minted in Kilwa and some cowrie shells, come to be in the heart of Africa thousands of miles from the sea?THE WATERBEARER draws on the secrets of diaries, maps and ancient artefacts. Set against the dhow trade, it tells the story of Maji, a young Swahili boy whose father drowns when their dhow is wrecked. He is captured and taken far from the sea to the Kingdom of Gold. Will he be able to escape and find a way back to the sea and back to his home in Kilwa?Zimbabwe ruins-1I have a memory of standing with my father beneath the conical tower of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins at the age of 5. But the real inspiration for  THE WATERBEARER came when I about 20 and was sitting at the stone ruins with the full moon flooding the valley below, listening to drumbeats vibrating through the darkness. 



‘It’s not often one comes across a manuscript that transports you convincingly out of everyday life into an exotic world. The opening passages of The Waterbearer do just that. They enchant with their lyrical tone and the rich and elaborate setting… something of the old magic of novels about sea voyages has been recaptured.’ from a reader

‘…a sweeping novel in lyrical prose that enchants. The ingenious play between veiling and unveiling, fact and fiction is handled excellently. What a joy to discover a novel with language so sensitive and supple, yet not condescending or sentimental. The Burger, South Africa.



THE WATERBEARER –published by Tafelberg South Africadhow2Writing-1Ships of SecretsCover_Waterbearer2.jpgPublished by Hodder Headline London UK – the Signature list.
Winner of 2 AWARDS:


IBBY Honours Book for 2004.

Selected for IBBY BOOKS for AFRICA virtual exhibition in 2006