IN THE NAME OF GOD (MEMOIR)
Mike, twenty two years old and freshly-graduated from university, is called up for compulsory national service with the South African Defence Force. It’s the mid-eighties, and South Africa is burning. Township streets are violent with protest and a full-blown Cold War proxy war rages on the border.
Mike, the reluctant disciple of an unholy cause, must leave the comforts of home and the arms of the love of his life, Kimberly, to undergo military training at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. There he faces gruelling instruction at the hands of the Afrikaner ranks, who are none-too-accepting of the Engelsman (Englishman) who resists their autocratic ways. Mike misses Kimberly desperately, but finds comfort in the easy friendships he strikes up with fellow conscripts.
Basics, Vasbyt, border duty and the demands of army life occupy Mike’s days, while he fights to keep a hold on life outside the army and his relationship with Kimberly. His experience of being discriminated against as an English-speaking serviceman in a very-Afrikaans institution is turned on its head when he is posted as an officer to a black battalion near the Kruger National Park in his second year of national service.
In The Name Of God follows Mike as he negotiates his way through Infantry School and beyond, wrestling with life and love along the way. Against the backdrop of a pivotal time in South Africa’s dark history, the book examines the role one man played in defending apartheid and describes his coming-of-age under extreme circumstances.
Filled with action, friendship, love and humour, the book is also an earnest attempt on the part of Michael Warren to make sense of the South Africa of the past and the South Africa in which he finds himself in the present. In The Name Of God is a frank and outspoken memoir from this first-time author from Pretoria.
*This book does not sanction apartheid – read it and see for yourself!
The sweet-smelling sea breeze brushed my flushed cheeks and ruffled my hair as I lay on my back on the sand, a dry flotsam log under my head. I had the whole stretch of beach to myself. I’d had a tiff with Kimberly, and skulked off alone to the seashore to cool down. I’d felt quite sorry for myself as I took up this reclining position at the water’s edge, but who could remain bad-tempered in this paradise? I took a swig of my beer and wondered if anyone had noticed my absence.
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Sick report on Monday morning brought with it a shock for me. One of the troopers raised his hand.
“Luitenant,” he said. “Ek het ’n probleem!”
I spoke to him in English, “What is your problem, Troep? Do you need to see the medic?” He hesitated.
“Uhmmm … Luitenant, can I speak to you in private, Sir?” I was a little peeved, but I motioned for him to come towards me. He beckoned for me to follow him to a corner behind the ops room, away from the prying eyes and flapping ears of the others.
“Okay, soldier. What’s your problem?” I asked again, hands on my hips.
“Eish, Luitenant,” he was unbuttoning his browns, avoiding my eyes. “My piel – hy’s seer!” (“My penis is sore”) he said, dropping his rods and revealing the most enormous pecker I’d ever wished never to see.
More than twenty-five years have passed Continue reading
It was summer, late 1980 Continue reading
“Whoa! Inspection!” Ian’s whisper was urgent. Continue reading
I lean my forehead against the cool glass of the bus window Continue reading
*This book does not sanction apartheid – read it and see for yourself!
GO AHEAD, ROCK THE BOAT! (TEEN / YOUNG ADULT / ADULT NEAR-REALITY FICTION)
“Go Ahead, Rock the Boat” pitches a transitive action to be daring, different, and unreasonable, whatever it takes to assert constructive and positive change. Get up. Seize opportunities. Take creative risks. Learn from failure. Because life affords us with choices; we can either steer our boat into calm waters, paralyzed by fear and complacency, or we can purposely make waves so that we may raise the sails and soar in the breeze. This book is about how five teenage friends, through insightful conversations and life-changing events, discover their life purpose. Each surrender their common life for an exceptional one, but the transition means they have to step from the known to the unknown. The varied topic-specific conversations encourage the friends to go after what they believe to be important, by stretching themselves beyond their comfort zones and building their wings whilst in flight. They strike out new paths to find new fertile ground. The exchange of viewpoints and thoughtful problem-solving theories are intended to illuminate ideas aimed at solving universal problems about issues like erosion of national pride and identity, politics, religion, poverty, education, disparity, materialism, substance abuse, single parent households, exposure to cultural diversity, the consequence of rapid technological development, and the difficulty of cultivating dependable relationships, amongst others. Together the friends discover what it is like to work on a Kibbutz in Israel. In this unusual setting they forge new friendships, get caught in the middle of political conflict, identify with the hero’s journey, and learn Krav Maga. “Go Ahead, Rock the Boat” is a learning curve that humanizes the transitive action that by rocking the boat to make a few waves you too will find where your life’s course lies. [Synopsis by Theresa Lutge-Smith: South African Writer’s Network]
Extract from – Go Ahead, Rock the Boat
Chapter IV: Heroes’ Journey
Wise men throughout history, other than theologians and academics, have advocated that in order to become a ‘man of knowledge’ you must first conquer fear, recognizing that it is a treacherous enemy and often difficult to overcome. If you are terrified in its presence yet choose to remain passive, this enemy will have put an end to your quest. You will never learn. You will never become a ‘man of knowledge’. You will instead be timid, detached and defeated. Fear will succeed in manipulating your every thought and action. But if you absorb knowledge in the midst of fear, you will eventually conquer it. The defense is to be fully afraid and yet take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. Finally, a moment will come when this enemy retreats, and you begin to feel sure of yourself. You become stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task. Clarity of mind is achieved. Your desires are known. Nothing is concealed. Continue reading →
REBEL HEART (TEEN / YOUNG ADULT NEAR-REALITY FICTION)
Meet Audrey Birkeland, a 16-year old girl living in Cherry Creek, Wisconsin. Free spirited and strong-minded, Audrey sets off on an adventure to unearth the secrets and lies have seen her family embroiled in small town scandal. With the help of her older cousin and a local journalist, Audrey uncovers a deep underbelly of corruption while learning to understand herself and her own family history in the process.
REBEL HEART is a story about young people, for young people. It is a story about power and empowerment; and an encouragement for Generation Z to question the status quo; to challenge the decisions that are made around them; to distinguish the good from the bad.
Historically it has been stated and recorded that Western society has not treated its children and young people well, but in the last 20 years our approach to parenting and rearing children has become more open-minded, more nurturing, and more supportive.
REBEL HEART celebrates the powerful voice that young people have, individually and as a collective, and constructs a context in which this power can be put to effective and beneficial use.