In her book titled “Patrick Van Rensburg: Pioneer of Education with Production in Botswana”, Bobana Badisang and collaborators Tsvakai Nashingaidze and Keaobaka Tau did a wonderful job of reciting and giving readers moments from van Rensburg’s life.
According to the authors, the bibliography coincided with the search for the recently published biography of Patrick van Rensburg by Kevin Shillington. It consists of selected entries containing works written by and about van Rensburg.
They guide the reader through a summary that van Rensburg published from 1958 as well as key moments that other people, such as former colleagues, news and other secondary sources had published about him.
From my observation, the bibliography is such an interesting and captivating read. It gives the reader a clear picture and insight into what a van Rensburg man was. It also reflects the impact he has had as well as his vision of a combination of education and production as a catalyst for social change.
One thing compilers should be commended for is the idea of producing such a bibliography. The cover of the book has been well designed and is eye-catching. It looks really good. Another interesting thing is that the compilers have given the citations year by year, which means that readers can also have the opportunity to find more on a specific topic that he has written about if needed.
The book captures many moments about van Rensburg. However, the path that the authors chose to do so, is possible that they left a lot of significant writings, which would have made it even more interesting. As a newspaper editor, he probably wrote extensively on issues of national concern, which the compilers likely missed. In my opinion, this leaves room for improvement.
The authors decided to go more with too much text than images. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Many readers will agree with me that it is boring to read cluttered text without a break in between. The images help a lot to capture the reader’s eye. While it might not have been easy to get proper images to accompany the quotes, it would have been helpful to have them.
Overall, despite the areas where I think there could have been improvement, the book provides a glimpse into the life of a man who has dedicated his time to influencing change in all aspects of life. .
A number of sources refer to Van Rensburg (PVR) as an even more educator because of his love and passion for using education to transform people’s lives.
His work and philosophy for influencing the lives of ordinary people in communities shows that he was just more than an educator. As a catalyst for social change, he was a visionary.
Van Rensburg clearly had a vision to liberate the people. Many describe him as the pioneer of education with production in Botswana. He is credited with proposing a transformative education program with producing (EwP) an alternative mode of education. Van Rensburg’s work left a lasting mark even after his demise.
One of Van Rensburg’s former colleagues, Metlhaetsile Leepile, who wrote the book’s preface, says that “the man also had such a big nose for news”. For example, he says, once he sensed that former Mozambican President Samora Machel was killed shortly after leaving Botswana on a state visit. Leepile said the incident was confirmed hours later.
Leepile also credits van Rensburg with organizing a Swedish-sponsored press conference in Kasane in 1989, which then paved the way for the enactment of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralist Press by UNESCO.