Dr Alex Coutts is the retired Deputy Rector of the Edgewood College of Education. He has Doctor of Education (UNISA) and Doctor of Philosophy (Natal) degrees as well as the Primary Teachers Diploma (Durban) and Higher Primary Diploma (Paarl). He is the author of seven books, and an artist. He painted the illustrations for the literary works in oils.
Within tourism, Dr Coutts chaired the KZNTA Research Committee for ten years, helped to establish the KZNTA library, chaired the Adjudication Committee for Tourist Guides for several years, won the Service Excellence Award for Guides Training in 2005, and together with Prof Ernie Heath, in 2008/9 wrote the motivation that won KZN/South Africa the U.N. Ulysses Award for Tourism. For the past six years he has remained committed to tourism within this remarkable province, researching and writing books.
Dr Coutts is currently the Acting Chair of Ward 36 for the DA, and Deputy Chief of the Durban Caledonians. He engages with publication presentations on art, history, anthropology, education, tourism and politics on a non-profit basis.
Excerpt from Shaka; the story of a Zulu king
Eventually, reflecting the national mood, a man by the name of Gala, son of Nodade of the Biyela clan, who lived near the Precipice of Vultures close to emPapala, decided to confront the king directly. His people had suffered enough, and they made their feelings known to Gala. Driven to desperation, he knew the risk he was taking. Usukel’ imamb’ isemgodwini, his people whispered when Gala left on his mission, meaning: “He goes to attack a mamba in its hole.”
Screwing up his courage after the long journey to the capital, Gala strode into the royal presence. Marching up to the fence of the isiGodlo at KwaBulawayo, he bellowed over the wooden stakes at the king:
“O king, you have destroyed the country. Over whom will you now reign? Will you create a new race? Should everyone die because your mother died? Senzangakhona died; but no one did what you have done. And your grandfather Jama died; yet these things were not done.”
The councillors present started at the massive impertinence of this unknown man from a distant place. Some reached for their sticks.
Ukhwela phezu kwendlu njengenja, “He climbs on top of the house like a small dog. He over-reaches himself. This tirade must be stopped.”
Not to be intimidated, Gala persisted.
“You have destroyed the country. Other kings will inhabit the land, because your people will all perish of famine. The fields are no longer cultivated and the cows are not milked. They will be milked by those kings who will cultivate the soil; because your people no longer have food to eat. They no longer bear children. Soon you will have no army.”
All eyes turned to the king, awaiting an explosion of fury. Shaka stood transfixed, as if turned to stone. He stared directly ahead, his eyes on Gala who stood a full head shorter than he did.
“As for me, I say you are dead yourself. Stuff a stone into your stomach! This is not the first time anyone has died in Zululand.”
Suddenly the king roared his reply.
“Hua! Look at this brave man, you counsellors. I have seldom seen such bravery in all of Zululand. None of you had the courage to warn me of the will of the people.”
Then turning to Gala, he said:
“You, brave Gala, may have two oxen, for you have the stomach to consume them both.”
“‘The king has gone mad,” someone muttered.
“And, when you get home, you may assume the head-ring, and your young men may do the same. I have spoken.”
In such fashion did Shaka reward true courage. Of such men as Gala, son of Nodade, was the spine of the old Zulu nation made. Whether the voice of Gala was the deciding factor in the king’s subsequent decision to terminate the mourning period, or the realisation by Shaka that army numbers would suffer as result of the prohibition on intercourse, as some onlookers believed, remains uncertain.
Currently on Amazon for sale (www.alexeducational.co.za, and Amazon.com)
The four books presently for sale are obtainable from the Amazon.com Kindle Library, under the name of the author (Alex Coutts), or the book title. They are priced modestly, and some are free for limited periods from the Kindle Library. All provide considerable quantities of information on major KwaZulu-Natal themes, that can be explored in a lively and pleasant way.
Shaka; the story of a Zulu king tells the story of the birth, rise to power and death of the remarkable Zulu king Shaka ka Senzangakhona. The book is an original historical novel of 220 pages that is based on fifteen years of research.
Child of the Dragon Mountains is a well-researched yet original novel that tells the stirring and tragic tale of a young San (‘Bushman’) who lived in the Drakensberg Mountains from 1830 to 1885.
The big six is an adventure story of six teenagers lost in a nature reserve. They encounter each of the ‘big five’, with drastic results; and must stand together if they are to survive. Ages fourteen to sixteen, and their parents.
Look to the mountains is a novel about a young Zulu who exhibits incredible bravery during a venture to the high montane wilderness, thereby saving the lives of several excursion members. Ages fourteen to sixteen, and their parents.