Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari
During the month of October, a group of nine authors, who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, teamed up for an exciting adventure.
We went on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we discovered some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we would like to invite you all to come along with us!
We are currently traveling together in a blog hop through nine blog posts featuring fiction and non-fiction books, all centered in Africa. Our Safari Guide has interviewed each of us, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books. You will find the interviews on the author’s own sites, as well as posted on one another’s blogs or websites.
So come along and join in the fun! And here comes our guide who took us on our safari.
Here comes our Safari Guide
Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Anna Jensen, is that correct?
Anna: Yep, I’m Anna. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?
Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!
Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent.
Anna, it’s your turn to sit up front with me. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!
As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and
heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.
Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Anna, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?
Anna: No, I’m a British ex-pat who moved to South Africa in 1997 after marrying a Durban boy, Craig, who was studying in the UK. Initially, we lived in Zululand where Craig was working in the sugar industry; that was a bit of a shock to the system in many ways! After a year we moved closer to Durban, where we still live, in a small coastal town overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean.
Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?
Anna: We have two children – Caragh who is 16 and Leal, 13. They are both at school here in Durban, so life is full of tennis, cricket, rugby, exams and lots of driving!
Mr. Africa: Anna, did you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?
Anna: I think it was always a somewhat idle dream of mine, something I quite fancied but really didn’t think I’d ever actually do. That all changed a couple of years ago when Craig and I handed over the local church we were leading at the time to another couple. Suddenly I found myself with a little more time and a lot more scope to dream.
On one such day of dreaming, I distinctly felt God tell me to ‘write what I see in a book’. And so began an adventure which led to my first book. ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’ being published in May of this year by Onwards and Upwards Christian Publishers in the UK. Since then, I have become a regular contributor to a couple of Christian blogs and keep myself sharp by involvement in an online poetry-writing community. I have written the first couple of pages of a second book, but that feels a long way from being properly underway!
Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?
Anna: I write Christian devotional material based on what I see around me, and what that highlights or illustrates about God. Job declares (Job 26:14) that the wonders of creation are but the outskirts of God’s ways, mere whispers that we hear. If we can learn to settle ourselves and listen to these whispers on a regular basis, who knows, we may be allowed a glimpse of the ‘thunder of his power’!
Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?
Anna: The book is entitled ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’. It came about after a family trip to Zimbabwe in 2014. Although we were based mainly in Harare, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls while we were in the country, so we took a long drive and spent a couple of days there before returning to Durban.
The Falls were incredible; a deafening, drenching surge of water falling inexorably from the river at the top to the gorge far below.
When we returned home, I was sitting outside reading the Bible and was drawn to Revelation 1:15 where John describes the voice of the resurrected Jesus as being like that of rushing waters. I realized that I had been given a glimpse of what that would be like when we made our visit to the rushing waters of Victoria Falls. It was then, after thinking this through for a while, that I returned to reading the passage of scripture and felt the Lord say, ‘Write what you see in a book’.
And so started an adventure I wasn’t expecting! I contacted a friend, who suggested that I should include poetry in some way. We also discovered the title of the book together as we chatted around the Job 26 verse I’ve already mentioned.
The Outskirts of His Glory
The book is made up of 19 short sections, each with a focus Bible verse followed by a description of what I felt God allowed me to ‘see’ as I visited different places around Southern Africa and beyond. It takes the form of part travelogue and part Bible study, before a central concept or impression is highlighted by a poem. A suggested prayer concludes each topic.
Mr. Africa: Anna, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?
Anna: I love that I now live under a wide-open sky, and all the possibilities to dream and fly high that come with it. It’s not always been easy, and I’ve had moments of feeling as though I’m sitting on a hard kitchen chair, rather than the comfy sofa of the UK, but I wouldn’t change it. Plus, I get to go on safari without having to take a plane trip to get there!
Springbok ahead! – And no, not rugby players!
Mr. Africa turns off the landrover’s engine and whispers.
Mr. Africa: Everyone, see the springbok right near us here. Did you know that they can survive life in the desert, going without water for weeks or even months at a time, and yet they thrive? If God is good at caring for them in a dry and seemingly barren land, how much more will he care for us?
I guess that’s what you mean by the whispers of his ways, Anna?
Anna: Yes, exactly that. He speaks in surprising ways through his creation all around us. I love it!
Mr. Africa: While we’re quenching our thirst, perhaps one of the other authors can join me up front.
Anna, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?
Anna: Black coffee would be great, so long as it’s real and not instant! Otherwise just a cup of strong tea with a little milk and no sugar. To eat? Some chocolate if you have any…
Here are the others participating in the safari. Please, everyone, stay in the vehicle and visitors, feel free to visit us all!
CLICK HERE to visit Anna Jensen’s website and read her original interview.
Previously published in this series:
Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure
Speaking to Dianne J. Wilson at the Africa Book Safari
Authors and their Books on the Africa Book Safari
About Ashley Winter on the Africa Book Safari