THE AUTHOR


AuthorDenis Montgomery was born in 1934 in a farmworkers' clinic in Kearsney, Natal, South Africa. His teenage years were spent living on a farm and he went to country boarding schools from the age of eight until university matriculation.

His mother's family were colonial pioneers. His great-grandfather arrived in Africa with five pounds in his pocket in 1857 and eventually founded a leading tea and sugar producing company. Montgomery's grandfather was the manager of the tea estate where he was born.

His father emigrated from Ireland to Australia in 1901 and survived as a ranch-hand in the Outback until finding an opportunity in dairying. After serving at Gallipoli in WWI with the ANZACs and working in London at the Ministry of Food, for which he was awarded the MBE, his father emigrated to Natal and carved a career in the food industry. Thus, Montgomery grew up in a general ambience of country folk and African wilderness.

AuthorHis early love of the oceans drew him into service for three years in the Navy. He entered as an Ordinary Seaman and was selected for regular officers' training, promoted to Midshipman, before deciding on a more broadly based career. He attended the University of Natal to study History and English before emigrating to Britain to learn librarianship.

His commercial career took him back and forth from England to Africa. With The United Africa Company in Nigeria he spent six years as an area Petroleum Sales Manager and Manager of the rubber purchasing and processing department. Transferring to Unilever in South Africa he was the stock distribution and production planning controller for southern Africa. Later he was a management consultant specialising in computerised planning systems in South Africa, Commercial Director of a complex eco-tourism project in Mozambique and in engineering and textiles manufacturing companies in Brazil and England.

Throughout his commercial career he found opportunities to travel widely in Africa, occasionally taking time off to follow his principal desire: to learn more about the magical continent that had given him birth. In 1975 he was commissioned to research an illustrated history of southern Africa and learned the absolute value of visiting and understanding the places where events happened. History and the evolution of mankind - which resulted in the history - increasingly became a serious objective. He learned that history and all aspects of geography are inextricably entwined. He wrote about his experiences and insights.

He published the stories of his more important travels, seeking knowledge of the pre-history of Africa so clearly integrated with geography and climatic changes. It increasingly seemed to him that academic theories of evolution were missing an important ingredient and were too close to the detail of individual palaentological discoveries. Those scientists whose names became famous in connection with each successive fossil find were not seeing a broader canvas.

AuthorAfter he retired he commenced an intensive study of human evolution through the path of the so-called Aquatic Hypothesis in 1995. His extensive field knowledge of the geography of Africa, acquired over forty years, satisfied him that it could only be because of the influence of the Indian Ocean shores that the several jumps in evolution could have happened. In 1999 this much-revised work was made available on his website in the public domain with periodic revisions. Unhappy with the term 'Aquatic Theory' which has been much derided, he coined the name Seashore Hypothesis. In 2007 this principal work was conventionally published in the United States.

Denis Montgomery was elected a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society in 1989. He lives in rural Suffolk, England, and still travels in Africa whenever possible. He and his wife, Sue, have two children and three grandchildren.




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