Jean Pierre Hallet R.I.P. Mr Hallet, you will always live in my memory..

Valentines Day 1995 my wife (then girlfriend) surprised me with a book called Congo Kitabu as a gift. She purchased this book at the old barberís book store in downtown Fort Worth. The book was autographed in 1967 by the author. Interestingly enough I had fumbled through this book on my many visits at this book store but never purchased it as it was slightly out of my book budget.

I really enjoyed this book. Jean Pierre Halletís style of writing and his passion for Africaís people and animals, his bravery and sheer luck at being able to live out his young life in colonial Africa was enthralling to me.

Interestingly enough the last few pages of this book mentions that he had moved to California later in life and even started a zoo in Bakersfield California just 40 miles from my home town.

I was interested to find out what happened to Mr. Hallet so I began calling different places in California and hit many dead ends because 30 years had gone by. I finally reached the curator at UCLA museum of primitive art and spoke with a lady who stated Mr. Hallet was alive and well and ran a small African import store in Santa Monica California. I looked the store up and called reaching Mr. Hallets wife and discussed a meeting with Mr Hallet.

My calls were in vain, Mr Hallet was a busy man with his store and the Pigmy Fund. I decided while visiting my family to drive down to LA and find him. His store was located in Santa Monica and I was able to sit down and interview Mr. Hallet. Our shared passion with Africa was apparent and he gave me a gift of a 1952 Nandi Spear that he personally brought back from Africa which remains one of my prized artifacts.

Over the next three years we phoned each other and I always spent time with him at his Malibu home while I visited family in California. When his wife passed away my wife and I went to his home to comfort him.

Mr. Hallet had a beautiful home overlooking the sea in Malibu. The house was cluttered to no end with African artifacts, books, notes, etc. He was a colorful man with a long white beard. He was friendly and was the last of a generation to live in Colonial Africa. His son sent me a letter that he passed away in the hospital on New Yearís Day of blood complication due to numerous tropical diseases. He was gone, and era gone. I was honored to meet Mr. Hallet and share a few years with him hearing his stories and sharing his passion for Africa.


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