Our man from Gabon – a man for the future

Born as the second-eldest of twelve in a small village surrounded by jungle, finding living quarters with the convent sisters while attending high school and later University in Franceville, Christian steps out of the rain forest in Gabon to do post-graduate work in South Africa and is now registered for his PhD in sustainable management of natural forests integrated with agriculture.

Christian is a man of many things, a universal man, a man of the future in Africa. And he is doing all of it in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, has no illusion about his African environment, yet stays irrepressibly positive about his own plans:

… here I had put all the projects that Christian has lined up but he said to me:
The sapling must be protected until it is properly rooted before it can take the wind … so we will stay quiet until the time is right.

A man with clear ideas about the ecology of logging and integrated agriculture involving the people on the ground. He is, he admits, not a man of the sea or beach but a man of the forest. He has lead research missions into the depths of the rain forest, lived under the forest canopy for months, has encountered gorillas, forest elephants as well as snakes and crocs in what is called the last remaining paradise on earth where the search and the exploitation of oil, manganese and timber, led by ill concealed agents of the Chinese People’s Republic who with one single aim in mind will ravage this paradise until it is destroyed and who will like a swarm of locusts move on to other parts of Africa to join the Mugabes, the dos Santos’s and al-Bashirs of this part of the world to reap and rape in equal measure.

Christian knows only too well, what he is up against, yet he remains calm, goes on with his stuff and does what a man, single-handed, single-minded can do in this world.

Laying the foundations for his factory in Franceville, Gabon. To finish it he would need another 300.000 Rand. No mean amount. He will, he says, build it bit by bit, as he can afford it by working part-time on jobs related to his PhD-thesis. A long way but he will get there. Hat off to you, Chris!

We have known Christian ever since we met in his first post-graduate year in Stellenbosch where he grew close to our hearts. We have seen him grow stronger over the years into a man with vision and and a sustainable plan for the future – his very own to begin with, but one that eventually will effect many others around him, people awakening, people awake like him in Africa.
Our man in Gabon – a man for the future.

With love
from Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, 1 May 2011