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Mike Hoare PDF Print E-mail

Mike Hoare Mike Hoare (1919 - ) was born in India of Irish parents on 17 March, spent some of his early days in Ireland and was educated in England. He served in the British Army for seven years and was demobilised with the rank of major. He qualified in London as a chartered accountant after World War 2 and emigrated to South Africa. 

Hoare is a strong believer in the doctrine of living adventurously to get the most out of life, and took to the African bush with enthusiasm. He has travelled extensively through Africa south of the Sahara, made a study of the Okavango River delta in Botswana and refers to the Kalahari Desert as his spiritual home.

In 1961, Hoare commanded a unit of mercenary soldiers in Katanga, and another in the Congo in 1964 and 1965.  After working as an accountant in the Far East he sailed a 100-ton Baltic trader around the Mediterranean Sea for three years with his family as crew. 

In 1981 he led an abortive coup against the Marxist government of the Seychelles. After serving almost three years imprisonment in South Africa, he embarked on a pilgrimage from Le Puy in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain accompanied by his two student sons. They walked over 800 km. 

He is firmly convinced that a spirit of adventure contributes to the building of character in young people, and leads to happiness and fulfilment in life. He has four sons and a daughter. Hoare lived in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) for most of the period from 1948 to 1989, initially in Westville, then on the Berea, in Hillcrest and in Pietermaritzburg and Hilton. He has been living with family in Durban since 2009.

congomercenaryExtract from Congo Warriors.
Two nights later the orderly officer woke me just after midnight. 
‘Sorry to disturb you. sir. The bishop wants to see you as soon as he can. He is down at the cathedral.’ 
‘Anything wrong?’ 
‘He didn’t say, but it sounds pretty urgent.’

I woke Hans and Mark Forrester. We jeeped down to the palace and walked the hundred metres or so towards the cathedral. It was a stormy night. Heavy monsoon clouds careered across the sky at great speed, chased by a half gale. From time to time a full moon would break through to shine brilliantly, painting everything with a silvery glow. It was bright enough to cast a solid shadow. Near the great west door I could make out a small group of men, clustered together. Round them was another ring of people. One of them was the bishop. I could see his purple sash. I stopped close behind him. He said nothing but pointed to the inner group. I looked. The moon came out strongly at that moment and filled the yard with an unnaturally bright light. I felt a hand grasp my left elbow. It was Hans. Another gripped my right. It was Mark.

In the middle of the circle of black men a white girl was standing, her hair matted, her clothes torn and dishevelled. On her face was a look of unutterable sadness as one by one each member of the group came up to her, knelt at her feet and kissed the hem of her tattered skirt. She placed her hands gently on their head and spoke to them in turn, words of loving kindness. Now they knelt in a semicircle, in prayer, as she bade them goodbye. She spoke so softly I could hardly make out what she was saying. The bishop translated.  “The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”  Farewell, my dear, dear friends. I shall never forget you. Never. And thank you.’

They withdrew one at a time into the darkness of the passage by the west door. My heart was thumping. 
‘My God!’ I said, shocked. ‘Can it be?’ 
Mark Forrester, that man of iron, the quiet hero of a dozen actions, had broken down in tears, one hand covering his face. 
‘It is. It’s Marylou!’ he sobbed, choking back his tears. 
‘Dear God! What have they done to her?’

Nobody moved. I found it impossible to look away from that beautiful alabastine face, filled as it was with compassion and suffering, while the bishop told us the story. The villagers had brought the young girl in barely an hour ago. She was the only survivor of a truck that had been blasted from the air. They had found her wandering in the bush last November, three month ago. They had taken her to their village, looked after her and protected her from the rebels. Now they heard the rebels had gone, they had brought her back.

It was a heroic story. My first impulse was to meet the men, to reward them, to help them in some way, to repay them for their deeds of kindness. I walked quickly over to their leader, a tiny, shrivelled man, standing in front of the others in the darknesss of the stone passage leading to the great western door. They all held their cloaks in front of their faces.

As I approached, they began to back away, nervously. I came up to the head man and drew the cloak gently from his face, to get a proper look at him. Simultaneously, as though on a signal, all the others dropped their cloaks. I drew back, involuntarily. They were all lepers. The blotched whiteness of their skins, their noses and ears and fingers eaten away by the deadly disease told their hideous story. But I had seen it all before, many times, and it didn’t stop me from thanking them from the bottom of my heart.



1967. Congo Mercenary. London: Robert hale.

1977. Three Years with Sylvia. London: Robert Hale.

1987 (1986). The Seychelles Affair. London: Corgi Paperback.

1989. The Road to Kalamata. New York: Lexington Books.

1991. Congo Warriors. London: Robert Hale.

2007. Mokoro - A cry for help! Durban: Partners in Publishing.

2008. Congo Mercenary, The Road to Kalamata, Congo Warriors, and the The Seychelles Affair all republished by Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado, USA.

2010. Mike Hoare's Adventures in Africa. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press

2013. The Last Days of the Cathars. Self-published.


All enquiries can be directed to his son, Chris: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it