By Paul Upham: If you like some travelling adventure in your boxing books, then “The Bengu Years” written by British born Dave Wellings and published by Book Pal is certainly one for you.
In March 1974, author Dave Wellings and his young friend Steve Mattey decided, as you do, to ride their motorcycles all the way from Buckhurst Hill, England, across the Channel, through the Middle East and down Africa to their destination of Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia.
As Dave Wellings, now a resident of Australia explains, “The book has an unusual structure. It’s the story of three journeys. A physical journey across Africa, a personal journey as I become involved in training and promoting boxers in Zimbabwe and the background to all this was the journey of a nation as Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.”
There are some amusing tales about the troubles of training, managing and promoting boxers in Africa. Some of the obstacles Wellings and his associates faced in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in keeping boxing alive in the sometimes volatile country are often astounding.
In the book, Welling also details his first trip to Australia, where he brought his bantamweight boxer Stix Macloud to face Commonwealth champion Paul Ferreri at the Mount Pritchard Community Club, Sydney in December 1981. This later led to a rematch between the boxers in Zimbabwe in May 1983.
Overall, the well written “Bengu Years” story as a whole will make you laugh, gasp, cringe and cry, providing an interesting insight into life on the African continent.
“The Bengu Years” is priced at $29.95 and available from publisher Book Pal at www.bookpal.com.au