Carry On Padre: Memoirs of an Army Chaplain in Apartheid South Africa by Pierre van Blommestein

978-1-62212-776-4-PVanBlommesteinCoverAbout the Book

This poignant, sad, and sometimes funny story of a liberal-minded young man tells how he was raised in a race-unconscious home, only to find himself serving in a conservative right-wing military. Pierre van Blommestein shares his incredible true story in Carry on Padre.

The book gives insight into Pierre’s liberal religious upbringing, his personal view of the challenges of Apartheid, his experiences as a chaplain during National Service, and the following seventeen years as a Reserve Forces Chaplain.

The story is set over a period of twenty-five years, from Pierre leaving school in 1975, through the darkest years of the Apartheid era in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes the free elections in 1994 and reconstruction of the “New South Africa”, finally ending with his emigration from South Africa in 2000.

Taught to accept and respect all people irrespective of race or creed, Pierre’s dilemma comes when he begins his ten years of National Service, like all white males over the age of eighteen years. He is simply an ordinary young man deeply aware of the pain of his homeland, as he tries to get through a difficult period in South African history.

Pierre van Blommestein’s memoir began as a simple recounting of his Apartheid experiences for his family. “I have a growing conviction that the stories of the ordinary people from this generation and this country, not the official histories or the propaganda, must not be lost in the turning wheels of recent history.”

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About the Author

Pierre van Blommestein now lives in Brisbane, Australia.

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