Writing historical fiction is a notoriously challenging undertaking. The author has to ensure that the story is as close to being factual as possible without boring the reader with hard facts. Christian John Makgala manages to write historical fiction with amazing ease and elegance. He writes to entertain readers as well as inform. He is committed to ensuring that his readers are not only kept informed of interesting historical developments but also regularly keeps laughing heartily. Tragic developments and situations, while portrayed in real life situations, are discussed in a hilarious manner through colorful and lively characters.
The Dixie Medicine Man is Makgala’s debut novel which is extremely entertaining and weaves socio-cultural and political aspects of America’s Deep South with that of a small village of Morwa in Botswana, southern Africa. This is done in a period that spans some 40 years from the early 1970s to about 2008, the start of Barack Obama’s presidency of the United States. The main character, Leroy, is a white medical doctor from Mississippi who goes to Botswana at the height of great global excitement caused by American astronauts landing on the moon. Despite being a Third World backwater, Morwa, the village is also gripped by this excitement. Everywhere, Leroy goes people think he has been to the moon. His cowboy outfit causes quite a stir among the villagers. His fascination with local traditional medical expertise trained him as a traditional doctor and a great community mobilizer. His clients include people from all walks of life and foreigners from outside Botswana.
Leroy’s return to the United States saw him becoming a celebrity for having raised the flag of the United States through splendid community service in a small country in southern Africa. In a small way, and in many respects, he made quite a contribution to the development of Botswana from being one of the poorest countries in the world when it attained independence from British colonial rule in 1966 to become a relatively prosperous and democratic nation-state.
Christian John Makgala studied History and Literature at the University of Botswana for his first degree. He then won the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship that enabled him to read for MPhil and Ph.D. in History at Cambridge University, England. It was while studying at Cambridge that he becomes close friends with Kelly Anderson, a white male from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Through Kelly, Makgala was able to visit Mississippi and also experience the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was this friendship and John’s close observation of societal developments in action that led to the writing of The Dixie Medicine Man. The novel also has chapters about visits to Botswana by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and President George W. Bush in 2003 respectively.
It really is surprising that the novel of such great quality and value could not get a literary agent to represent. As a result, Makgala had to self-publish it through iUniverse company in Bloomington, Indiana. Therefore, its marketing has been quite limited. The moment of EUREKA came when Serena Miles was scouting for books to include in Paperclips magazine and she stumbled on The Dixie Medicine Man. Describing it as ‘utterly great and brilliant’, Serena decided that it needed serious marketing through Paperclips to realize its unbelievable potential.
Author Christian John Makgala is with the US Ambassador in Gaborone with the copy of THE DIXIE MEDICINE MAN. Read on by clicking below.READ
About the Author
Christian John Makgala is a professor of History and Political Economy at the University of Botswana. He has been lecturing in the university since 2002. He has published many journals and articles on History and Political Economy of Botswana. He is also the Chief Editor of Botswana Notes and Records journal and has been at its helm for 10 years now. The Botswana Notes and Records is the country’s oldest surviving academic journal and John compiled its celebratory 50th volume in 2018.
He has since written a sequel to The Dixie Medicine Man which goes by the name The Paroled Pastor which is also self-published. The Paroled Pastor’s main character is Jealousman, who was Leroy’s great rival in Morwa.
Makgala is currently working on the third novel in the series. The latter work examines the phenomenon of the Holy Grail which he claims was buried in the desolate Kalahari Desert in pre-colonial Botswana by the Scottish missionary Dr. David Livingstone at the instruction of Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
Makgala aims to become a full-time writer of historical fiction and he is looking for an agent and a traditional publisher. He enjoys hanging around with friends discussing various socio-economic, political and religious issues among others. He is a fan of Arsenal football club in England and New England Patriots in America’s NFL.