About the Author:
Johan Dempers joined the SADF as a National Serviceman in 1987 and served in Operation Hooper, and later as a member of the Cape Town Highlanders. With a military background he also worked for Executive Outcomes and several security related companies in foreign hostile locations. He was nearly killed in an incident on the border between Iraq & Kuwait in December 2005 and spent 2 months in a coma before he started his recovery & had to learn to walk again. A year later he was back in service in Afghanistan.
This is a remarkable documented story of one man’s true grit, courage and determination in the face of extreme adversity. I had the privilege of meeting the author a month ago when I attended a talk that he presented to some of the military veterans in the Western Cape. In his book, the author takes the reader on a long and pulsating journey and he writes with both clarity and attention to detail. From his encounters in South America, you can sense and grasp his love and respect of the earth’s natural beauty and the forces of nature. His description of the mighty Amazon River leaves a lasting impression on the reader. His often unpredictable daily routine, towns and places he visited and his encounters with indigenous peoples could very well be used as a travel guide. He vividly described a fascinating but harsh and unpredictable environment. Johan describes his military service as a mechanized infantryman with 61 Mechanised Battalion Group. His first exposure to military operations was in Angola. His journey continues when he joined Executive Outcomes where he again saw active service as a private contractor in Angola. He then worked as a private security contractor in Iraq where he was very badly injured in a road traffic accident. The details of this horrific accident that he miraculously survived and his long road to recovery are described in detail. His courage and determination are clearly evident as well as his tenacity. Johan’s journey continues and concludes in Afghanistan where he worked as an operations coordinator. I found this book to be well written and comprehensive. It details a life of adventure and describes an individual’s exposure to the reality and harshness of the world on many frontiers. The book is extremely interesting and is hard to put down. I found it humorous, riveting and a positive learning and reading experience. I strongly recommend the book to veterans, travelers or anyone who simply wants to enjoy an entertaining, informative book!
Writing a review for this book seems so meaningless as no review can really do justice to this little gem. Many men dream of being part of an exciting adventure. Others imagine they are part of such an adventure. Few men actually take the step of turning their lives into a real, and exciting—albeit at times a dangerous—adventure.
Johan Dempers is a man who has created his own adventure(s), has documented them, has photographs to prove they happened, and thankfully he has now shared them with us.
As a schoolboy, Johan imagined himself hacking his way through dense jungles and making hitherto unknown discoveries. After leaving school, he found himself a soldier and turned soldiering into his own unique adventure. He would finally realise his dream of becoming a discoverer of hidden worlds when he answered a small advertisement in 2002.
Writing from the heart, Johan takes the reader on an exciting and incredible journey—a journey through many worlds few have dared to travel. He has ‘adventured’ his way across the battlefields of Angola and Iraq, trekked across South America, escaped from the clutches of cannibalistic Indians who viewed him as a tasty meal, and much more.
Trekking across the snow-capped Andes Mountains in South America, canoeing down the Amazon River, and leaving his tracks in the lost-lost ruins left by the ‘Ancients’, he exhibited great commitment, and good old ‘vasbyt’. Overcoming the numerous obstacles the great unknown can throw in the path of any explorer, he put his head down and with great determination and ingenuity—with camera in hand—has been able to make us part of his incredible journey.
This book is filled with wonderful stories, all true. It also includes good advice to anyone who dares to venture beyond the sitting room.
Subsequent to publishing his book, Johan took off on a new adventure that I hope he will one day share with us as he journeys through the many adventures he has set for himself.
Journey Through Many Worlds is a rare find amongst books of this genre. As the author states
“…the act of putting it on paper resulted in an even greater discovery…”
From the first paragraphs the reader is drawn into this journey, and in the end you realise
that you were made part of the journey, a participant, the silent observer. Being drawn into
the journey exposes the reader to discover the personal traits such as resilience,
commitment, agility and perseverance required to successfully overcome the adversity, to
survive unplanned crisises that unfolds as the adventurer keeps moving towards the journey’s
An end, that in some of the worlds, leave the adventurer/traveler with permanent physical
scars that would raise the bar to achieve success in further journeys. No two worlds can be
more diverse than the Amazon and Iraq and yet the personal traits required remains
The unique writing style made me part of these journeys, but shielded me from the effect
and consequences of them, made me part of the success without paying the price. In the end
I experienced a new motivation and sharper focus of the personal traits required to
successfully reach my own objectives as I venture on my selected journeys through the many
worlds. This time there has been and will be more scars, the price to pay will be for my own
account and maybe one day, I could be amongst the “rare breed” of adventurers, those who
“appreciate and use the many opportunities that are offered, that soon shall come to pass,
that live for the moment but keeping the future in mind.”
As someone once wrote, “I picked up the book, felt its weight and begun to read.”
When I put it down nothing was the same anymore. Things changed and because I have read
it, I am not the same anymore.
Dr Louw Pieterse (PhD, DTh)
Paarl, South Africa