When Gavin Barnett was four years of age, his missionary father was taken by a crocodile in the Zambezi river at Chavuma in the N.W.Province of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).
As the oldest of four children he was suddenly propelled into choosing between taking advantage of his father Fred’s absence or cooperating with his remarkable widowed mother Dorothy in facing her formidable challenges.
At this tender age he became the confidant of mother who instead of returning to her native Australia where her talents could have ensured her a comfortable career, chose to continue her work sustained by her steadfast faith and determination to fulfil her mission. Dorothy’s sterling character and example of fortitude had a salutary effect on Gavin.
This is the story of his mother’s life as seen through the authors’ eyes. Poignant, moving and wry in parts. The story unfolds in the harsh and inhospitable landscape of mid 20th century Africa with its primitive tribalism, ignorance and illiteracy and the constant struggle for survival against a hostile environment with its tropical diseases, superstitious practices, dangers from wild animals and travel hazards.
Schooled at the central African Sakeji Missionary School and Ermelo High School in South Africa where he matriculated as Dux Scholar, Gavin Barnett embarked on a business career, graduating and later becoming a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Rising to executive director of a listed retail organisation in South Africa, Gavin held portfolios of Retail Operations, Human Resources and Manufacturing, over a period of 21 years.
While running a consulting business which he founded at the age of 56, Gavin used his client base to research the predictability of viability in new ventures. The result was an academically recognised dissertation entitled Predictive Criteria for Entrepreneurial Performance.
His leadership in professional business administration was recognised in his election to international President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in 1993.