About The Author and The Introduction to Eating the Dust

Dr. Ambrose Cato George holds the following academic qualifications: B.Sc. In Zoology and Botany (Unisa), Secondary Teacher’s Diploma-postgraduate (UWC), B.Ed. – distinction in Philosophy of Education (Unisa), Associate of the University of London Institute of Education (London) for the study: “The educational provision of the Mentally and Physically Handicapped in England and Wales and its possible application in South Africa”. The M.Ed. Degree (Rhodes) with the thesis: “The London Missionary Society and Education: a Study of the Eastern Cape 1799 to 1852” as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Rhodes) with the thesis: “A Mission and Five Commissions: a Study of Some a Aspects of the Educational work of the American Zulu Mission 1835-1910”

He started to teach in 1965. In teaching career, which spread over a period of more than 30 years, he gradually climbed the promotion ladder and eventually became a principal of a large comprehensive school in a sub-economic township. This post he carried out with success for 10 years. In 1994 a new South Africa found him in the position of Inspector of Education. He acted as supervisor for more than 50 high, primary and special schools. He played a significant role in the transformation to one educational system and was instrumental in amalgamating schools from the previous educational departments. He was forced to retire from his post as a result of clinical depression.

Although Ambrose was occupied full-time as an educationalist, he still found time to get involved in community activities. Some of these activities included the following: he served on the executive of the Port Elizabeth Mental Health Society for many years: he was involved with the Happydale School for Severely Mentally Handicapped children for more than 30 years. He was honoured by the Port Elizabeth Mental Health Society in 1999 by being made an Honorary Life Member of the Society. For the last 16 years, he was chairman of the Management Committee of Happydale.

He was instrumental in starting a Depression Support Group in the Northern Areas in Port Elizabeth. He served as a member of the Governing Council at Happydale when his health allowed it.

He serves as a part-time lecturer at the Charlotte Searle Nursing College for a period of 15 years. He lectured on Biochemistry, Biophysics, Education and Administration. He also lectured Physics and Chemistry to radiology students. He served on the Council of Charlotte Searle Nursing College for many years.

Throughout his career, he was under regular medication and underwent mood swings particularly depression at frequent intervals. He was very fortunate that for a period that stretched for almost 30 years, he was supported by the Port Elizabeth Mental Health Society. They organised his visitation to see the state psychiatrist and get a monthly medication supply. (For more detail see later in the narrative)

I found it essential to monitor the early warning signs of mania and depression. Throughout my suffering from mood swings, I found that my condition was exacerbated by various stressors which were accompanied by severe stress.

Much ignorance and denial exist concerning manic depression and stress hence the necessity for the following account.

Since mania brings one out of touch with reality, it has become essential for me to be hospitalized as soon as I detect the early warning signs of the condition.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Abigail George is a researcher and historian. Follow her on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @abigailgeorgepoet.