The Stephen McGown Story: Six years with Al Qaeda
Time & Location
About the Event
This event was held on 18 November 2020.
We invite you to this live webinar featuring Stephen McGown, a South African who became Al-Qaeda's longest-held captive, after being seized in 2011 in Mali, Africa.
Join us to hear Stephen McGown's truly inspirational story about resilience and overcoming adversity. The talk will be followed by an exciting virtual auction of an amazing African Artwork!
About Stephen's Story
While riding his motorbike through Mali, on his way home from London to Johannesburg, Stephen McGown was taken captive in Timbuktu by Al Qaeda. Life as he knew it, changed in that instant. With nothing to bargain with and everything to lose, for the next six years Steve became reluctantly engaged in what he refers to as, "the greatest chess game of my life."
Thousands of kilometres away in Johannesburg, the shock of his kidnapping hit his wife Cath and the rest of the McGown family.
Working every option they could find, from established diplomatic protocols to the murky back channels of the kidnap game, they set to work on trying to free Steve. As the months turned into years, Steve would have to go to extraordinary lengths to survive both his prison and his prisoners. His sole focus was to make it back home. In order to do that he needed to raise his status among Al Qaeda.
Steve taught himself French, Arabic, converted to Islam and accepted a new name, Lot.
Stephen continues to claim back his life with a fresh and positive outlook, using the skills he acquired in the desert during his extreme experience. A part of this process is sharing his story to inspire others with hope and a way to overcome any situation that challenges or tests them.
To this day he holds the unenviable record of Al Qaeda's longest held prisoner and while the captive-captor dynamic was always there, by virtue of the long years he spent with them Steve got to see what no Westerner has ever seen before.
(Book releases 13th November 2020