Throughout my life I have always been fascinated by the cultures, customs, development and history of three countries from the other side of my world. The 3 countries are Africa, India and Jamaica.
With regard to Africa and its violent history, it has always interested me how an armed militant and anti apartheid activist in the early 60s became the peace maker supreme from the mid 90s onwards. As leader and co-founder of 'Umkhonto we Sizwe,' an armed wing of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela could well have been expected to leave his prison after 27 years of incarceration resentful and angry. Instead, it was largely due to his peaceful advocacy and leadership that South Africa was able to get rid of apartheid and elect him as its first black leader in 1994.
The African story is entitled 'The Valley of the Two Tall Oaks' and is based in the South Africa of old where all tribes warred for supremacy. It tells the story of one tribe who was a peaceful tribe in a violent time, and how the dream of each successive leader of that tribe was carried by them from one generation to the next and was passed from one chief to the next, like a baton in a relay team; until it eventually finished up in the hands of Nelson Mandela; the greatest tribal chief of all.
Between 2000 and 2003, I worked with the Education minister in the Jamaican Government to develop a transatlantic pen-pal project between 30 Falmouth Schools of children and 30 schools of children in Yorkshire, England. During this period I wrote four books which were published to raise funds for Jamaican schools and to raise awareness of the area of Falmouth, Jamaica in particular.
After 2 trips out there and obtaining the necessary background research, the book 'Bucket Bill' was published and the story was used in the school curriculum of all 30 Falmouth schools. Being an area that now depends solely on tourism for its revenue, most of the young people of Falmouth have a dream of living a better life in either England or the USA. I therefore wanted to help reverse this emigration trend wherever possible by highlighting the positives of its own region above that of all others.
As a young man of 18 years in 1960, I made friends with an Indian man called David who came from the Punjab and as a consequence of his culture, only one of my friends would socially mix with him in public. This was a time in Great Britain when racism was rife.
During my 3 years of contact with David before he returned to live in India, he taught me much about the customs and traditions of his native land: particularly the Punjab. Whilst there were some customs and traditions that I found alien and unacceptable, there was much more about the Indian way that pleased me.
I was particularly impressed by the capacity of so large a continent to embrace so many different cultures and religions side-by-side. However, I was less stuck by its obvious privileges afforded to the males over that of the females and was unsure about the merits of arranged marriages, when the bethrothed couple were but boy and girl.
'Indian Dreams Come True' tells the story of a girl from the Punjab, who from childhood dreams about the man she will one day marry. She dreams that he will be the most handsome, wealthiest and most intelligent of all Indian men. When the time comes for her to pick a husband, she faces a dilemma from the 4 suitors who want to marry her. One suitor is handsome, the second is wealthy, the third is intelligent and the fourth is an uneducated, blind man of extreme poor circumstances and modest looks. Who does she choose?
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About the Author
One of West Yorkshire's most popular children's authors, his books were publicly read in over 2000 Yorkshire school assemblies by over 800 famous names and celebrities from the realms of Royalty, Film, Stage, Screen, Politics, Church, Sport between 1990 and 2002. The late Princess Diana read his earlier books to her then young sons, William and Harry. The late Nelson Mandela once phoned him to praise an African storybook he wrote. Others who have supported his works include 3 Princesses, 3 Prime Ministers, 2 Presidents and numerous Bishops of the realm. Former Chief Inspector of Schools for Ofsted, Chris Woodhead described his writings to the press as 'high quality literature.'
Always at the forefront of change, he became the youngest Youth Leader and Trade Union Shop Steward in Great Britain at 18. In 1971, he founded Anger Management in Great Britain and freely gave his courses to the world. In the next 2 years, Anger Management courses mushroomed across the English-speaking world.
In the mid-70s, he introduced Relaxation Training into HM Prisons. Between 1970 and 1995, he worked as a Probation Officer specialising in Relaxation Training, Anger and Stress Management, and Assertive Training Group Work introducing Relaxation Training groups into HM Prisons and also freely operating his Anger Management techniques, Stress Reduction Programmes and Relaxation Training groups within Educational establishments, Churches, Community Halls, Probation Offices, Hostels, Hospitals, Psychiatric Units and Old Folk's Homes.
He retired early due to ill health in 1995 to further his writing career. This led him to work with the Minister of Youth and Culture in Jamaica establishing a trans-Atlantic pen-pal project between 30 primary schools in Falmouth, Jamaica and Yorkshire.
William was awarded the MBE in the 1995 New Year's Honours List for services to West Yorkshire. He has never sought to materially profit from the publication of his books and all profit from their sales (approx £200,000 between 1990 and 2002) were given to charity.
His latest books were published for adults under the generic title of "Tales from Portlaw".
In 2013, William Forde learned that he had a terminal illness (CLL) for which he is presently undergoing treatment.