Martin was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975. At the age of twelve he fell inexplicably ill. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound.
However, after spending fourteen years in various institutions for severely disabled children, in 2001 Martin learned how to finally communicate again via computer and was able to make friends and change his life. In 2008 he met the love of his life, Joanna, and immigrated to the UK. In 2009 they married and in 2010 he enrolled at the University of Hertfordshire where, in July 2013, he graduated with a first class honours degree in Computer Science. He admits that this was one of the proudest days of his life and stated that ‘the ceremony in St Albans’s Cathedral was amazing’. His parents flew over from South Africa and Martin was asked to speak on behalf of the other graduates. He says that ‘it was very emotional for all of us, we could never have believed I could succeed like that’.
Martin is by nature quite a shy, reserved person but he says that during his time at the University he ‘made new friends, learned a lot and grew an enormous amount as a person. I felt more confident and it was as if I was able to regain a big part of my life that I’d missed out on’.
In 2009, Martin also started his own business offering freelance web design and development services. He admits that “working and studying full-time was really tough, but that University has really given me the confidence to make the most of any opportunities that have come my way”. Since graduating he has worked in design, development, and on-going maintenance work for clients in the UK and US.
Find out more about Martin on his website.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.
Ghost Boy was chosen specifically for its interdisciplinary focus and because it incorporates a variety of relevant themes such as communication, language, well-being, health, disability, social issues, resilience and personal development. Ghost Boy will certainly appeal to a wide range of students and staff.
It's impossible to read this book without understanding just how much most of us take for granted.
John-Paul Flintoff, author, How to Change the World
Reading this book brought me much closer to my son, Logan, who has severe autism and is unable to speak. My understanding of Logan’s personal challenges were greatly clarified by Martin Pistorius’ ability to commit his experiences to writing. For anyone whose life has been touched by someone with communication challenges this book is a must!
Glen Dobbs, president, ProxTalker.com, LLC
This is a story bravely told of one man’s incredible endurance and fortitude against amazing odds. It will make you smile and weep, but most definitely it will restore you faith that all things are possible when you dream.
Sandra Hartley, BSc. MRCSLT, marketing director, Logan Technologies, Ltd.