Dear Mr. McCallum...

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Ruan Bouwer, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Ruan Bouwer

    Ruan Bouwer AH Member

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    "You know, Bwana, if I stand here long enough, I will see God himself."

    These are the words that a Maasai poacher once said to Alec McCallum after looking out over the Ngorongoro Crater for the very first time in his life. Alec always told this story to my father and other people who had the privilege to be in his company as a legendary African professional hunter; a story that he also tells in the introduction of his great book, My Africa. He explains how he and his cousin were taking the poacher to be delivered to the warden as they stopped on the rim of the Crater to stretch their legs and "answer nature's call".

    I recently rediscovered a gem in our study room. Mr. McCallum had forgotten his SCI document folder at our house once after coming to visit and stay the night. Alec and my father, Johan Bouwer, were great friends until Alec sadly passed a few years ago. Among these documents were papers with notes regarding an upcoming hunting trip in Tanzania, where mr. McCallum had written down what was to be taken with on the trip, as the Selous hunting trips were as basic as it gets, and everything needed for the two week long trips had to be brought with from South Africa. 5x tents for the hunting party, 2x kitchen tents, 10x staff tents, 3x fly tents, 2x fridges, 2x freezers...the list goes on.

    My father had hunted with Alec on numerous occasions, the most memorable probably being his first buffalo hunt in the colossal 5 million hectare Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. The stories from these adventures with Alec are the reason for my love of - and interest in - hunting, especially in the beautiful Dark Continent that I am so very lucky to call home. Stories about walking on narrow hippo trails next to the Rufiji River, to fly camping for 2 weeks and the amazing trackers who find the hunting vehicles after walking away from them for 2 weeks straight and just the awesome memories that were made with mr. McCallum. These are the stories that fuel the passion I have for Africa...my Africa.

    Other documents in the folder are more personal and I will be keeping all of them in our copy of My Africa, copy #38 of 1000.
    I will attach some photos below. Alec wrote a very special letter in the front of our book, which I will also attach and add the text so that it is easier to read.

    I can not wait for my next hunting trip here in Africa, and one day especially the great Selous. I will be writing many articles again in the near future about my hunts, adventures, experiences and discoveries in the Dark Continent.

    Mr. McCallum, our dear friend, although I never had the chance to hunt with you as you were looking so forward to, the stories and memories passed down from my father about your adventures together and your life, I will never forget. I wish very often that I could have only a day in Africa with you and my father together, walking on a narrow hippo trail next to the Rufiji River, in the great Selous, listening to the amazing stories you had to tell. Here in Africa, my Africa, I will take every chance I get to see and hunt the places you loved so dearly!

    Yours, as always
    Ruan Bouwer

    Hand written letter in the front of our copy of My Africa
    image.jpg
    "To Bouwer,
    It was an honour to have you in camp with me in Moçambique and Tanzania. I have not drank so much rum in all my life. And for the laughter and great companionship I shall never forget.
    I value your friendship and will always look upon you as one of my most loyal and trusted friends.
    May God protect you and all your family and most of all, let's share a few more camping together.
    My fondest wishes my dear friend.
    Yours as always.
    Alec McCallum

    P.s. I most look forward to doing a hunt with you and your son Ruan. I'm sure he is a chip off the old block.

    Ruan, look after your dad
    Alec
    "
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2019
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  2. Hillbilly Marine

    Hillbilly Marine AH Member

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    What a wonderful find, as well as a family treasure.
     
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  3. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I was not familiar with the book, so immediately went and found a copy and ordered it. Sounds like a good read, thanks for the post Ruan!
     
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  4. Ruan Bouwer

    Ruan Bouwer AH Member

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    Truly a great idea, you will love it. It is a limited edition of 1000 copies. You won't regret it, Alec has some very interesting stories written in there, his life was truly unique and great.
     
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  5. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Very cool!! Thank you for sharing!
     
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  6. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I am really looking forward to reading this book. Bookfinder.com is our friend.:rolleyes:;)
     
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  7. Mort Hill

    Mort Hill GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Wonderful story of the Friendship and book. And thanks to @sestoppelman for the bookfinder.com reference. I just used to order my own copy as I love a great read on Africa.
     
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  8. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    sounds like one ill have to get,thanks.
     
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