Toti writer's idea launches an odyssey
FROM growing up in the Zoutpansberg Mountains in the old northern Transvaal, to being a family woman and computer teacher, to writing commentaries in a book that's enjoying worldwide success.

That's the life of Amanzinitoti's Janette Eldridge. And she says it's all because she loves people. "I've always believed that people should make their own decisions in life," said Eldridge.

That's why she was attracted to the book, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible - A Free Market Odyssey, which she affectionately refers to as "JG".

Eldridge's interest in the subject grew after she read The Solution for South Africa, the book by 1989 Nobel Peace Prize nominees, husband and wife team,. Leon Louw and Frances Kendall. As members of the International Society for Individual Liberty, a network of people who promote free market ideas by doing things like translating published works, Louw and Kendall introduced Eldridge to "JG's" author, Ken Schoolland, at a conference. "

"The book had been translated into so many languages by that time, so I thought, 'why not translate it into our South African languages?'. People from the former communist bloc took to it, but here friends just said it was a nice story!" she sighed, throwing her hands in the air.

That's when Eldridge, who has since retired from teaching computer skills, wrote to Schoolland about South Africans' lack of enthusiasm for the book.

"So I suggested that I write explanations for each chapter. Ken liked the idea and I began to do research. And it all took off in 2001."
That's how the commentary edition of "JG" was born.
"Ken doesn't ask anyone to do translations, or even commentaries for that matter," Eldridge said. "People read his book and just do it. At one point my son reminded me that the commentaries should not be longer than the actual chapters in the book. But when you do lots of research, you pick up lots of information. I've learned so much about economics, philosophy and history. And I want people to know what's happening in society. I want people to be freer, happier.

"This book is something I want everyone to relate to," she said.
Eldridge. is no stranger to getting involved in new projects. "I've always got something I'm working on. So my family was not surprised."

She is serious about what she does. Thirty years ago many British families were arriving in Durban, their breadwinners attracted to jobs in newly-established Prospecton factories". While the men were at work, Eldridge organised activities for the women and children from these settler families. There was gardening, badminton, tennis, literature and upholstery groups to keep them occupied.

Crazy projects
    "When I told my sons about this book project they said I was on another one of my crazy projects," she laughed.
    But her husband, Ray, is smiling with pleasure.
"He always wanted to travel, but I was never interested," she said. "Now, because of this book, we've been to Costa Rica, Canada, France, Lithuania and New Zealand. Next year we hope to go to Russia."

Eldridge now plans to conduct workshops on the free market ideals described in "JG".

"When I brought the book here I thought maybe I'd get it translated. But it has mushroomed. I never expected all of this to come of it," she said.