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.
Continue reading →
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.
War On Innocence (Teen / Young Adult Near-Reality Fiction)
Generation Z members (those born between 1994 and 2010) have the potential to change the world for the better and the criminals know it! Nigerian crime mastermind Stephen Yobo and his notorious 9-Gang members have got the police working overtime with Generation Z people being the victims in the gang’s plans. The gang’s request is simple. Release our four colleagues from a Swiss jail or the lives of those who voted to keep them behind bars, in the form of the Presidents of the United States, South Africa, France and Japan, are in danger. The chase is on! From Washington D.C., to Johannesburg, Paris, Osaka, plus Western Caracas and Lagos. Stephen Yobo’s wicked smile tells it all – “Catch me if you can”. It’s up to the good guys in the form of American Detective Andrew Johnson, South African Police Lieutenant Themba Yawa and French Police Colonel Pierre du Roubaix, plus Generation Z’s very own Japanese tough kid Haruto Hoshino to save the day.
WAR ON INNOCENCE allows readers to undertake a journey that will alert all Generation Z-born persons (1994 to 2010) to the dangerous elements that will impact on them along the road of life. Evil forces abuse platforms such as social media, using drug substances and alcohol, to name a few, in their quest to succeed towards their goals of greed. This novel highlights the dangers of the world of theft, fraud, corruption, prostitution and kidnapping, and is a signal to all members of the GenZ era to be streetwise and aware, so as not to be victims of evil in the modern era. Generation Z people thrive on entrepreneurship and creativity, failing to understand their parents’ beliefs of holding on to one job from after schooling until pension. Their heads buzz with ideas, as modern technology enables them to create business opportunities like the generations of family members before them never could. They look to invest their time, money and resources in business plans, modules, programs and initiatives that their parents will never understand. It is this foresight and seed planting that create the platform for a future generation. In years to come, the children and grandchildren born of Generation Z parents will, like their forefathers, take this world to another new dimension. The dangers to the Generation Z era are not unique to a particular group of people, country or continent. The evil is a worldwide phenomenon that threatens the future of all.
Planet Z (Teen / Young Adult Fiction)
PLANET Z highlights the fact that Generation Z is quite unlike any other generation before them.
Generation Z are more in tune with their own feelings, the feelings of others and even the planet as a whole. One could even go as for as calling them the most empathetic generation. The rules of living have changed drastically in the last few years and with the advancement of technology it’s gotten harder and harder to keep up. At the same time, universal principles like love, hope, peace and goodwill amongst all rationally motivated people throughout mankind, has remained constant and consistent.
I think about my children and the world I’d like to leave behind for them. Call it legacy if you will. Although quite different from other written works I have produced before, Planet Z still deals with the universal principles of love lost, hope in dire circumstances and the importance of family. I guess that’s what it all comes down to, Family. Having a healthy family structure is fundamental to a healthy upbringing and lifestyle.
This is again where Generation Z differs from their predecessors, they’ve discovered that “Family” is the people you choose to love and spend time with. Sometimes they share your DNA, other times they don’t. In a world seemingly intent on isolating us from one another, it’s easy to forget that people need people.
PLANET Z is the expression of my sincere wish to provide you with that special something you need to push on and to remain true to yourself. That you become emboldened by the brave characters within, to live a life where sowing and reaping love become the cornerstones of all your relationships.
PLANET Z PLOT
Carlos and Jill have just lost their mother in a tragic accident.
On the brink of insanity, it appears that their dad has discovered a way to bring his beloved wife back from the dead, but through unanticipated changes in events, they find themselves transported to a mysterious planet.
It is here that they have many random encounters with creatures no longer alive, and discover it to be a planet inhabited wholly by the dead―a midway point for those waiting to pass on to the next stage. It is here that the twins get separated and embroiled in a conspiracy that may end the world as we know it.
A desperate struggle ensues as they try to save their world, find their mother and find their way off Planet Z!