‘Mad Mike’Hoare - the in­side story

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO CITY BEAT - Larry Bent­ley

AT the time of his ‘fame’, Mike Hoare’s name was on ev­ery­body’s lips, but very few could ex­am­ine the soul of this man, who was ei­ther a hero or vil­lain, de­pend­ing on one’s po­lit­i­cal stance.

Mike’s jour­nal­ist son Chris has high­lighted some of the mem­o­ries he has of his fa­ther in a book he has writ­ten ti­tled ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Leg­end.

Bi­ogra­phies are one of the more dif­fi­cult gen­res to write, but with Chris’ close con­tact with Mike was able to make it a very read­able book telling the story of his fa­ther’s ex­ploits.

The book cov­ers Mike’s early life as a scholar in Eng­land and his Bri­tish

Army ca­reer be­fore em­i­grat­ing to South

Africa as a qual­i­fied char­tered ac­coun­tant.

Chris re­counts Mike’s ex­pe­di­tions in­clud­ing the one for which he gained most fame.

This was the 1964-1965 ex­pe­di­tion in which he led 300 ‘Wild Geese’ across the Congo to crush a com­mu­nist re­bel­lion.

Dur­ing this op­er­a­tion, which is de­scribed in de­tail in the book, they res­cued 2 000 nuns and priests from bar­bar­ity, beat Che Gue­vara and be­came a leg­end overnight.

Mike was the tech­ni­cal ad­viser to the film ‘The Wild Geese’, which starred Richard Bur­ton play­ing the Mike Hoare char­ac­ter.

Ad­ven­turer at heart

It was not only po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­tions which kept Mike go­ing.

He also par­tic­i­pated in trans-Africa mo­tor­bike trips, blue wa­ter sail­ing, ex­plor­ing re­mote ar­eas and lead­ing sa­faris in the Kala­hari Desert.

In one of his last ex­ploits, in 1981, Mike led 50 ‘Froth­blow­ers’ in a bid to de­pose the so­cial­ist gov­ern­ment of the Sey­chelles.

This was not to be and Mike spent three years in jail for hi­jack­ing a Boe­ing 707.

Chris spent 12 years re­search­ing and writ­ing the book which has 200 ref­er­ences, 89 pho­to­graphs, seven maps, a bib­li­og­ra­phy and an in­dex.

Chris says, ‘My fa­ther, who is 99-and-a-half now and lives in Dur­ban, was es­sen­tially a gen­tle­man ad­ven­turer, prob­a­bly the last of that breed.

‘I like to think he was an of­fi­cer and a gen­tle­man with a bit of pi­rate thrown in.’

The book is pub­lished by Part­ners in Pub­lish­ing and is avail­able in book­shops at a rec­om­mended re­tail price of R395.

The ISBN num­ber is 9780620798617.

Au­thor Chris Hoare shows his fa­ther, the fa­mous ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, now aged 99 and liv­ing in Dur­ban, a copy of his bi­og­ra­phy on Mike

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