Franceska is an internationally recognised counsellor, speaker, author and healer, as well as a mother and grandmother. In her life, she has worked extensively in Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia and India and was awarded the Australian Medal (AM) in the Order of Australia Day Award for her work with the aged, community care, disability and mental health.
After retiring from her life’s work in the health industry, Franceksa completed her memoir, Under The Boab Tree, which has recently been released. This is a story of love, abuse, loss and exile. Franceska is dedicated to sharing her and her mother’s story to honour their journey of being tenacious survivors who choose to live with a loving heart.
In this conversation, Franceska and I discussed:
- The journey of writing 'Under the Boab Tree' and the village required to write a book
- Experiencing a traumatic childhood in South Africa with a violent father, a mother largely absent due to her political activism, and being introduced to the spirit world through the love of her nanny, Regina
- Having a younger sister with Down syndrome and how that has influenced Franceska's work with the aged, community care, disability and mental health
- Franceska's connection to nature and how that weaves in to her self-care
- Her experience of motherhood and how it was influenced by her childhood, and how the family began their new life in Australia.
Franceska now resides amongst her beloved trees in Queensland, Australia.
"Boaboa - pronounced ‘Bow-a-Bow-a’ - is the name given to a real tree—the Baobab—that imparts wisdom to a growing child in a South African garden. This stirring memoir traverses Africa and Australia following the Speer-Jordan family, who fled persecution and poverty in Varniai, Lithuania, to South Africa. The political machinations they witnessed in that time in South Africa changed the women forever in this unusual family. As the story unfolds, Isabella and Franceska’s tenacity and courage surface as they prove to be hardy and, at times, seemingly indestructible with their strong roots."
"I was born from the strong, tangled roots of the tree of life, as was my mother and grandmother before me.” ~ excerpt from Under the Boab Tree
Also mentioned in this episode:
Joanne Fedler Media writing courses
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