My father, John Hammond's all too prophetic words have, sadly, come to pass - to the anguish and pain of black and white Zimbabweans. I have included some of his thoughts in the exerpts contained on this website. I have found my return visits to Zimbabwe a complex mix - the goodwill, respect and love between the races, the never say die spirit, the normality of one's day to day life... and the horrors and viciousness of what can suddenly erupt out of the blue.

It has been heartening to catch up with and continue to read of Dad's old boys and girls and see what fine people they are today - still bravely upholding democratic standards when everything around them is falling apart. Sadly so many have found they have had to leave the country in the present circumstances - as leaders of Zimbabwe's business, legal and professional circles and less involved in politics. They gave such hope for the future but now, one wonders if they will return.

Particularly heartwarming has been to meet the now elderly men, and the wives of men, who were among the first black teachers in Rhodesia and who worked with my father at Tjolotjo, Mzingwane and Goromonzi.


It was a dream start...

to the launch of Beloved African in March 2000 when, at the Adelaide Festival’s Writers’ week in South Australia, hundreds of Australians literally climbed over tables to buy the few copies we had!

It has been a fascinating journey since - primarily because I believed I was writing largely for a small, but targeted audience - those who had once lived in Rhodesia or Zimbabwe. This has, wonderfully, proved to be very wrong!

Beloved African has been released at a heartbreaking time for Zimbabwe and when I was there in late March 2000, nobody could have predicted what was to follow. The overwhelming sentiment from the many letters I have received has been "thank goodness this objective history has been written - in such a way, that you cannot put it down"


Beloved African is a story of a great and enduring love, of pioneering adventure in the early days of Rhodesia, of its builders, educators, history, triumphs and troubles. The story is written by Jill Baker and draws on her mother Nancy Hammond’s precise memory for detail, on hundreds of letters written and lovingly preserved since the early 1900’s and on a series of tape recordings with John, the Beloved African, 18 months before his death in South Australia in 1996.

John Hammond was one of Rhodesia’s great educators- beloved by black and white alike. The extraordinary role he played is woven against a backdoor of increasing he strode the political and educational stages, fighting for the extra time he needed to educate his schoolboys and girls to the point where they would be in a position to lead the new Zimbabwe with wisdom and integrity.

The agonies of what subsequently occurred and the effect it had on him as well as, through it all, the wonderful story of this almost fairy-tale love affair, are described with candour and clarity. The book gives a not always popular view of what life was like to those who were determined to try and make it work but whose efforts were so often thwarted by political duplicity

There are not many soft cover UK edition copies of Beloved African left. The original South African hard cover and the Australian soft cover versions are sold out.

It is available in limited numbers direct from the publishers below, through and through

If you would like your copy autographed, you can order through this website. See below for further details.

Publishers: Roper Penberthy Publishing



Editions available :

The third edition of Beloved Africanwas released in the United Kingdom in March 2009, with copies available through major bookstores in South Africa, Australia and Canada.

The first and second editions (hard cover - printed in South Africa; soft cover - printed in Australia) are sold out.




Getting hold of a copy of Beloved African

If you live in the UK or Southern Africa, ordering direct from the publisher as above ( or through will give you the most economical and prompt delivery options.

For America and Canada your best option is

For anyone in Australia, New Zealand or the Asia Pacific use the PayPal feature under ORDER on this website or use Amazon.

If you would like me to sign your copy and personalise a message, use the ORDER facility from anywhere in the world. The PayPal feature has been constructed to send payments for the book and postage, in Australian dollars, but it will calculate the estimated equivalent in your local currency. This facility is a secure site. There is also a section which will allow you to let me know what inscription you would like in the book. I try to ensure that all books purchased through this website are signed and despatched immediately.

Beloved African has sold consistently well internationally to a wide variety of people - not all by any means with contacts in or knowledge of Rhodesia or Zimbabwe. I am delighted that this book is on the record in government departments and universities in the UK and elsewhere. It answers so many questions about what the now discredited British colonialists were trying to do ... and the extraordinarilybeneficial legacy it left - despite the prevailing wisdoms of modern opinion makers!