Venture into ancestry of elephants

Title: An Elephant Bloodline

Title: An Elephant Bloodline

Author: Howard Blight

Publisher: Rra-Thohoyandou Press

Reviewer: Namhla Tshisela

Africa to those living outside the continent, conjures magnificent images of wild, untapped territories and the infamous Big Five.

This goes back to the years of "gallant explorers" who came to Africa for adventure and to claim some of the continent's riches.

Little has changed in most people's minds. A notion that has dominated most people's image of the continent has been the overrated "connection to the earth".

This is what came to mind when I encountered Howard Blight's "elephant biography". The idea of writing the life stories of elephants seemed outrageous. These bunny huggers have gone too far, I thought.

As outrageous as it seemed, it also piqued my interest. Soon I was hooked and drawn into the lives of Kruger National Park's most revered citizens.

Never before had the lives of these likeable pachyderms seemed so interesting. The fact that I wasn't reading up circus animals certainly helped.

I soon realised that Blight's project was not all that new. It took on themes that most Africans would be familiar with by using story- telling to trace the ancestry of these pachyderms.

It was then that the book took on a universal flavour, feeding on to our human obsession with our origins.

Illustrations, a glossary explaining the terms used in the narrative and references to scientific research about conservation and the behaviour of the animals, complement a surprisingly entertaining, engaging and educational book.