Who am I, this person called Mike Hampton? It’s a question that should matter more to me than you. More relevant is who I want to become. But if you insist on knowing, stamping your foot with a pout on your lips, then most important should be how I treat you. That would tell you who I am where it counts most.
But when we tell stories we often start with history so I may as well apply that to truth too…
My earliest memory was trying to escape a Durban hospital. I ran towards light which was false hope shining through a window (likely on a high floor). There was more practicality than sensitivity in those days – the nurses strapped my little body to the bed which, admittedly, is an effective way to do less work and not lose a child. That situation became metaphor for parts of my older life but I won’t dig for that here, rather letting my blog bewilder you.
Confusion and loneliness summed up much of my young adulthood. What to believe in, who to believe in, how to deal with love and, especially, love lost would scratch my mind and burn my spirit. If I weren’t so stubborn, I may not have survived myself.
As for things I did, I hitchhiked South Africa. I spent 14 months in the South African airforce as a flight monitor and caretaker. Boredom literally made me sick which ruled out most jobs e.g. I worked for a bank for half a day and as a trainee harbour officer for one. I was a good stock controller which led to me exposing thieves as I travelled monthly to over 60 towns and cities. That spread my wings to Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Kenya, Uganda and Egypt. I spent a decade in the Durban music scene – DJing, compiling CDs, managing bands, eventing, interviewing and reviewing. For a short while, I was a weekly scene reporter for a national radio station.
I moved to pretty Knysna where I stumbled into corruption which radically altered my life and damaged my optimism for South Africa – for 8 years, no authority has appropriately address the crimes I’ve exposed. As I uncovered more, and that national figures were involved, I gave up music for activism. I’ve done so under threat, repeatedly harassed with court cases and propaganda meant to break me. Several times, it almost did.
My activism included community work. Before the political pressure became too much, I enjoyed taking economically disadvantaged kids on trips to beautiful places. I did that for 3 years. Between my blogs and Facebook, I must have delivered near 2-million words, half of that on one website alone. As a positive example, Love Knysna is full of history, events and other fun things.
What next? I don’t know.
After 3-and-a-half years, and 3 hearings, a Committee of Parliament has made recommendations in my favour but Parliament’s main body has been incredibly slow to finalise the process. It doesn’t help that the Office of the Public Protector is corrupt, protecting the DA. The Hawks have opened an inquiry and I’m doing my best to reach President Cyril Ramaphosa.
I’m 46 at the time of these words. I’ve experienced an interesting life. When the political mess is behind me, I want a version that avoids conflict to spend more time on myself and simple beauties like getting beach sand between my toes. I especially want to write more cohesively and purposely. No gazillion blogs, no social media. I want to find my excitement in writing novels, fiction and non-fiction. That would be beautiful challenge.