Ben Dekker: larger than life : Gerald McCann
Ben Dekker is a legendary South African character due to his eccentric and flamboyant lifestyle and activities. Many folk are familiar with his colourful figure striding down our country’s roads seeking a ride to his next destination.
Ben’s story and many of his experiences have been related in this book, with particular emphasis on his years as a forester, employed by the Department of Forestry. The writer, Gerald McCann, was a roommate of Ben during his forestry student days and has kept in touch with our larger-than-life character over more than 50 years.
Ben’s story often reads like a ‘Rambo’ episode. He has studied for two degrees, acted in local theatre and starred in television and South African film productions. He has travelled extensively, once air-hopping rides through Africa. His political activities have often attracted the attention of the country’s security officers.
Ben is renowned as a naturalist, with a prolific knowledge of local plants. He lays out hiking trails and leads eco-tours in the vicinity of his home at Port St Johns. He claims to have survived a Mamba bite and bears the scars of leopard claws on one arm.