His father was a magistrate and transferred every couple of years to cities and towns all over the Republic of South Africa. As a result of this Dennis attended 8 different schools and in the different provinces – each of which had a different syllabus – so he had a hard time with the continual readjustments. Still he managed and came through with flying colours. In one instance he had to learn and write an examination on 2 new languages in the last 4 months of the school year! His father was transferred from Natal to the Northern Cape Province in July of that year – 1947. He excelled in Sport and particularly in tennis and athletics. He came third in the 100 yard race where 27 schools were competing at De Aar.
To cut a long story short, he started work as Clerk of the Criminal Court in Pietermaritzburg – started to study Law but did not like it. He then got a transfer to the Department of Agriculture (Soil Conservation) where was trained and spent a few years in the Transkei (south of Natal) helping farmers on the technical side of soil erosion, design of concrete weirs, earth dams, irrigation systems, surveying of contours, etc. Because the pay was not so great he went underground in the gold mines at Springs – did not like the dark after the open fields. He joined SASOL (South African Coal Oil and Gas) as a draughtsman eventually becoming a senior section leader specializing in refinery piping. He was then transferred to GASKOR to open up a technical office in Germiston and to start the reticulation of gas to all the various factories. He worked for a few years on the UCOR (Uranium Enrichment Plant) project near Hartbeestpoort just outside of Pretoria. His final employment was with Bateman Engineering at Boksburg where he eventually retired as Senior Piping (Mechanical) Engineer, from Bateman Engineering in 1993 after 20 years of service.
Dennis then went full time into the love of his life, art. He already had a teaching studio which operated at night. Dennis’ art experience stretches from 1944 to the present time. Dennis and his wife, Anna, emigrated to New Zealand in May 2009 and settled in Torbay on the North Shore just north of Auckland. He opened up an art teaching studio and now also, with his son Nolan, offer realtime streaming classes over the internet. He has been a fulltime professional artist since his retirement in 1993.
In between all his work experience Dennis took a Short Story Course from one of the Correspondence Colleges in Johannesburg. That was over 40 years ago. During that period he wrote quite a few short stories assignments in different genres. They were never published. Getting published was very difficult in those days. Shortly after arriving in New Zealand, a few days just before he had planned a complete backup, disaster struck. The hard drive with all his photographs of South Africa as well as the short stories decided that it had enough mishandling. Unfortunately, even the best technicians in Auckland could not recover even one pixel. Two of the short stories were on another drive: The Mopani Tree and The Frog and the Heron.
Recently Dennis decided to take up the pen, sorry, the Word Processor, again after so many years break. He says that it is like starting life all over again.