Great read. Reminds me of when I was vice-chairman of the Quill Club (Zimbabwe's press club situated in Harare) and seeing one of the author's friends Dusty (Che Guevara) Miller arrive for a beer in full camouflage with a holstered pistol, and wearing an ammunition belt over the shoulder filled with live rounds. Mutoko Madness? Yes the Quill in the 1970's was full of Mutoko Madness. The author Angus Shaw affectionately known to his friends as 'Goose' spent his last night as a civilian in the Quill before catching the Bulawayo train to enlist for National Service. I remember saying goodbye. Mutoko Madness! What a trip, what an era!
by mike rook
I am truly honored to take part in the launch of Angus Shaw’s new book, Mutoko Madness.
Angus and I first met in 1999 or 2000 when I came to Zimbabwe to work as the US embassy’s public affairs and press officer. At that time, there was a lively group of 8 or 10 international and wire service journalists working in Harare. Angus was one of the mainstays of that group. I remember he and Jan Raath took me out for drinks one day - at Tipperary, I think - and our friendship began. I always knew Angus to be a journalist of high standards. He develops the contacts, double checks the facts, and gets the story right. And does it with clean, clear prose.
Shortly before I left Zim in 2003, Angus gave me a manuscript copy of Kandaya: Another Time Another Place. It was some months before I got around to reading it, but I still remember the strength of the story-telling and the power of the prose in that book. Now, Angus has given us Mutoko Madness.
I read the book as soon as I could get it, and quickly saw what a powerful and important book it is. The same clear, strong writing that has been Angus’ trademark as a journalist and in Kandaya, drives the story in Mutoko Madness. The honesty and integrity - also hallmarks of Angus Shaw - of this tough story impress me. Angus gives us a clear-eyed look at the Rhodesian Bush War, of brutality in Somalia and Uganda and, most powerfully, of the struggles of the author.
Like Angus, the book is not without humor. He uses it well to illustrate human foolishness, the arrogance of power - including that of my own government - and his own misadventures and mistakes. But , through the horrors, the sadness, the adventures, the losses and the laughs, Angus never loses sight of the essential humanity of all of these experiences. This book is important as a history of the modern problems and conflicts in Africa, and as the history of a man wrestling with his own identity and conflicts. Like its author, the book is a work of honesty and integrity and comes with a clarity and directness that is sometimes painful. It is a powerful work of courage.
Finally, Mutoko Madness reminds me of the importance of freedom of expression and of remembering history. As much as I admire this book, there are parts of it that make me uncomfortable. That’s always my cue to defend the right of authors to write things that make me uncomfortable. And, the book reminds me of George Santayana’s famous quote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Thank you, Angus, for opening this rich vein of Africa’s, and your, history, and for reminding me of these truths.
Bruce Wharton, Harare, July 11, 2013
United States ambassador, Zimbabwe
by Angus shaw
Mutoko Madness, a journey into the darkness of Africa and into the emptiness of a life spent in bars, wars, clinics and whorehouses. A memoir of Angus Shaw, a News reporter, a battled and deeply disturbed mind. One of those lost souls travelling from one war to the next, describing again and again the horror of death, blood and torture. The author of ‘Lust to kill’ and ‘Black Roulette’ gives with Mutoko Madness another warm up of his biography, a hollow life caught in madness due to alcohol and drug abuse. Angus Shaw, son of a white farmer in Rhodesia, was abused as a little boy and seems emotionally stuck in that age. Despite all the trouble he went through never really grew up. Now, facing his seventies, he doesn’t want to see time for Whites with a colonial history has run out in Africa. He desperately is clinging on; there is no other place to turn to. Instead of soaking the pages with the horror of war and death, stirring it up and up again, agonizing in a most cynic language about the appalling characters of African leaders or tiring the reader by telling boring and silly jokes, old as Methuselah, the author perhaps should seek help and find peace instead of publishing never reflecting, but brutal and dishonest accounts of his personal mess. Very sad and disgusting memoirs,
by Hella Grosse