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