20 Feb 2015


JOHN CLARKE on Denis Beckett and his latest two books: Demogarchy and Drowning the Lifesaver

DaliyMaverickArticleI doubt even Shakespeare would have had the genius to script in fiction what veteran maverick Denis Beckett has just done in fact.

He has managed to get a paid commission to write a book for the most dystopian, autocratic company since Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company, while simultaneously writing another book that rivals Thomas More’s Utopia for its vision of a perfected, democratic, and contented society. The generous commission from the company, which epitomises “oligarchy” (rule by a few), effectively cross-subsidised the writing of a book that epitomises the complete opposite – “the rule of all”. There is not even a word for the latter, so Denis had to coin one: “Demogarchy”.

Both books attest that he is an extremely talented writer motivated by a Dickensian vocation to bring about a society of just mercy and merciful justice. He defected from law to journalism because he wanted to be paid to search for truth “where I thought I might find it” rather than “come to a conclusion pre-determined by a client or employer”.

Denis is quite open with potential clients that “you buy my time, not my pen”. Still, I feared that if the oligarch knew that Denis was donating some of his left over time to mentoring/tormentoring me in the craft of authoring books, they might show hesitation, notwithstanding his reputation for truthfulness and honesty.

Read the full article in the Daily Maverick

Demogarchy   Drowning the Lifesaver- SANRAL