About Frank Watts - our first Freedom Writer!
Frank Watts was born in Durban, South Africa, at a time when the country was relatively wild and conservative, run by the now defunct apartheid government. From a very early age Frank had an interest in the vast amounts of wild animals found in his country of birth and often expressed that love by sketching them.
On completion of his schooling, Frank, like so many young South Africans who had no formal career guidance, was unsure of what he should do next. The government of the day drafted all young, white South African males into the military, so his short term options were taken care of as he did his compulsory military training. This was a rude awakening, but Frank took the time to learn about and observe the interaction between the various young men, both English and Afrikaans speaking, who came from all walks of life and were leveled by becoming just a number. No special treatment for anyone placed a huge amount of emotional and often physical strain on so many. Frank found the human interactions fascinating and this, unknown to him at the time, would play a major role in his life.
After his military training Frank was still directionless. For reasons, known only to him at the time, he decided to join, what was then the South African Police Force, and returned to basic training, being schooled in law enforcement. Frank excelled, becoming the youngest non-commissioned officer in the force at the time. His career then took him into the detective division where he quickly rose to handle some of the most high profile cases of the day, including a section on the internationally famous Andre Stander case.
It was during this period as one of the countries top detectives, that he learned many skills relating to communication, observation and interpretation as he interfaced with hardened criminals, victims, his colleagues and members of the courts. While this was a period of exponential growth it was also a period of excessive emotional stress. After 20 years, and while at the top of his game as a homicide detective, Frank decided to leave the police force and pursue his childhood dream of becoming a nature guide.
A radical career adjustment, a sincere following of the heart and Frank found himself where he always wanted to be and clearly should have been - in the employment of a private wildlife reserve and soon afterwards the world famous Kruger National Park. The rest is history as he excelled at everything he did, grew in stature, studied the animals and animal behavior, learned about the diversity of the fauna and flora and qualified himself in an advanced guiding category. Frank gained the respect of all who worked with him. The many tourists, both local and international, who had the privilege of going on safari with him, were always impressed by his commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm. A truly dedicated professional who lives to do the work he has been doing for the past 30 years.
Equipped with the human relationship skills, and especially the observation skills he had gained during his police career, Frank found the interaction between the many humans working and and living in the Park and his beloved wildlife most fascinating.
Over the years he has enjoyed, participated in, been saddened by, but mostly fascinated by the countless incidents he has been exposed to. Years of pondering over this wealth of experience, captured so vividly in his mind, Frank has finally started to share these wonderful interaction stories with the rest of the human race.