Wild Child

By .

by Ian Mathie

Ian Mathie was an entertaining raconteur and writer who told his true life stories with great vigour and enthusiasm. He had an amazing memory and was able to recall the smallest details, even from his early childhood – details recounted in WILD CHILD: GROWING UP A NOMAD which paint an unforgettable picture of a child growing up in two very different and contradictory worlds.

Ian’s early life in Scotland and Africa prepared him for the extraordinary life that he vividly describes in his critically acclaimed African Memoir series (also published by Mosaique Press). In ‘Wild Child’, he writes with insight, humour and love about the people, wild places and strange experiences that sustained him through the difficult years of boarding schools, and made him who he was.

He had an extraordinary start in life by today’s standards. Born in Edinburgh, the second son of a Scottish Army officer, he began a lifelong love affair with Africa when his father was posted to Lusaka in Northern Rhodesia in 1951. He absorbed African culture through his playmates, the children of his father’s troops and from nearby villages.

British boarding schools and Ian did not in general get along; his free spirit and independent nature singled him out for special treatment from fellow students and schoolmasters alike. Flying out to Africa during the holidays was a brief respite. In his later school years, he put his bush knowledge to use in the English countryside and found outlets for his energy in sports and army cadets.

Ian was hooked on flying from an early age, and joined the RAF as a pilot as soon as he could. However, defence cuts left him stuck on the ground with no prospect of further flying. It was a blessing in disguise. No sooner had he resigned his commission than he was sent back to Africa by the UK government as a rural development officer. He specialised in water resources and related projects, a job that allowed him to roam the continent, and which provided the raw material for his African Memoirs.

Ian ‘joined the ancestors’ in May 2017.


“For Ian Mathie fans there is good and bad news. Ian has come up with the missing link in his narrative, the story of a very unusual childhood (yes, the very years that made him the amazing man he became). The bad is that the book is published posthumously. As always, it’s beautifully written, with many exciting moments. What I most enjoyed was the feeling that many of the questions in Ian Mathie’s later books are answered in WILD CHILD with a satisfying clunk. This is an interesting read for anyone questioning the opportunities for independence offered to children today.” – TRISH SIMPSON-DAVIS, ‘THE BOOKBAG’ Read more

“…a consummate story-teller. This is a tale of adventure that few of us can dream of. I hope this teaser will invite you to check out Mathie’s other, earlier books. They will not disappoint.” – YVONNE HERTZBERGER, author and contributor at Indies Unlimited

“Logically, a person would write memoir in chronological order, but this book makes it clear that Ian was a non-conformist from Day 1. Thus his coming-of-age memoir is his sixth… a lasting legacy for Ian. As with his other volumes, I read this one slowly, savouring his rich humour and deft expression. The sharp contrast between his experiences in Africa and Scottish and English schools made it clear why he strongly preferred the warm acceptance he found in Africa where he could easily innovate and march to his own drummer. This book clearly shows the early roots of his unsurpassed resourcefulness. His affinity for mischief had me laughing throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it has my unqualified recommendation.” – SHARON LIPPINCOTT, author of Adventures of a Chilehead and The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing