Larry, Simply Larry

Larry – Simply Larry tells the story of Fr Larry McDonnell, an inspiring Irish Salesian Priest and the Headmaster of Salesian High School in Manzini, Swaziland. For more than two decades, Larry was instrumental in the growth and development of hundreds of Swazi boys, as well as many from South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe who sought refuge in Swaziland during the apartheid era. Many of the boys whose lives he touched, directly and indirectly, are now prominent policy, political and business leaders in South Africa and the region. He also played a crucial, though largely unsung, role in the liberation of South Africa. Salesian was also an academic refuge for many South African, Namibian and Zimbabwean teachers. At various times the school harboured operatives of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Swapo and the PAC; such as Stanley Mabizela and General Keith Mokoape of MK – a most recent Luthuli Awardee in Silver, both ANC; Arthur Pickering of Swapo as well as Rosette ‘RB’ Nziba and Dini Sobukwe of PAC, respectively.

The key period in this account is from 1970, when Larry arrived at the School, to the mid-1990s, following his tenure as Headmaster and his retirement to technical education. As a deeply religious person, caught up in struggle politics while trying to give the boys, in his care, the best possible start in life. Larry’s roots in the Irish struggle for liberation from British rule and in the trauma of the 19th-century Potato Crisis gave him an acute consciousness of South Africa’s liberation process. The book explores the parallels between the Irish, South African and Swazi histories, covering aspects of education, family, religion, culture, governance as well as politics.

Both tribute and portrait, the book takes the form of a wide-ranging conversation, drawing on interviews with, and the recollection of, a range of participants – fellow Salesian Priests, former Teachers, Salesian Old Boys, and Family members – to build a richly detailed mosaic that illustrates the foundational principles and themes by which Larry has lived his illustrious life.

His influence respects no borders.


Larry Send-Off

Larry Salesian Chapel Launch

Larry News and Reviews

Larry Manzini Cathedral Launch

Larry Lutheran Church Launch


Eulogy (Elias Masilela)

SBIS Interview (Elias Masilela)

Launch Presentation (Elias Masilela)

SABC Interview (Elias Masilela)

Creamer Media Interview (Elias Masilela)

Book Details

Target Market:

Academics, Catholics, Educationists, Historian, Salesians, Students the Youth and Parents both in South Africa and globally.

Key Selling Points:

Unearthing of yet another jewel on the list of unsung heroes, in the liberation of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. This is a man who, through Ministry, gave the peoples of the Southern African region a refuge to ply their trades as well enjoy much sought after alternate education.

Someone who mentored many boys who now are outstanding leaders in their various societies across the world. This is a man that tutored and mentored many, amongst which is none other than the Founder of Netflix, Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr. who after joining the Peace Corps came to teach Mathematics at Salesian in Manzini from 1983 to 1985.

About the Author:

Economist, editor, academic, strategist, policy formulator, negotiator, business leader, international events coordinator and author … these are just some of the roles that Elias Masilela has performed in his short professional life. During the period of making of Larry’s history, he describes himself as having been

Roman Catholic by day and Lutheran by night. He is a Top 40 list Alan Paton nominee, for 2007.

He holds a BA degree in Social Sciences from the University of Swaziland as well as an MSc in Economic Policy

ISBN: 978-0-7961-0134-1

Author: Elias Masilela

Published: September 2018

No of pages: 346

Format: Soft cover | Portrait

Category: Historical account | Biography

Price: R250 excl VAT | $13.50

Direct orders:
Elias Masilela 
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