Family’s dream holiday ends with them being kidnapped
Former Nelson Mandela University lecturer Dave Muller will be launching his first book, Not Child’s Play, on Thursday,5.30pm for 6pm at the Beacon Bay Country Club. The book is based on his life. In 1990, Dave Muller set sail to Mozambique with his wife and two young children in order to fulfill a boyhood dream of voyaging to the tropics on the yacht he’d spent ten years building. The dream holiday came to a shocking end when their yacht ran aground on a stretch of beach near the Bazaruto Islands.
The family was eventually captured by child soldiers working for the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), which was waging a civil war against the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) at the time. Muller lectured at NMU and formed part of the
development team that worked on what is today the Gqunube Green Ecovillage. From 2009 to 2013, he built his own low-environmental impact house in the Ecovillage. “These days, I volunteer as an architect working on various projects undertaken by Engineering Ministry
International and thus far have assisted with projects in Lesotho, Burundi and Uganda.
“In 2016 I decided to make another attempt at writing the story recounting our capture.”
During his capture, he kept a diary where he recorded all the events that took place.
“In 1990, while sailing to the Bazaruto Islands in Mozambique, our yacht, Arwen, ran aground 30km south of the islands. While refloating the yacht, a group of Renamo child soldiers arrived and took us captive. “We realised we were experiencing something unique,
with a very real possibility of us being killed and our bodies simply disappearing in the
Mozambique bush. “My diary was initially intended to be a record of what had happened to us should we disappear. But for me it was also a comforting daily action that helped me get through the anxiety of each day.
“As the weeks passed, we realised we were actually being protected, because Frelimo, the
political party in power and opponents to Renamo, made a number of attempts to kill us in
order to gain a stronger negotiating position once the peace talks commenced,” Muller said.
Despite being set in the context of a civil war, Muller said their experience was an uplifting story that was worth sharing.
“During our captivity, we were protected by Renamo and treated as humanely as they
could under the circumstances. “The South African Defence Force did rescue us during what was the first successful ceasefire in the war, an event that resulted in peace talks
commencing two weeks later.
“With the help of our church, our children’s schools, our friends and the greater East London community, we were able to restore our lives.”