An English priest in the beloved country

From late 1969 I worked in south Africa for 18 months and spent most of my time illegally living in the Richtersveld then a coloured reserve.

It was a fruitful and challenging time, especially as I had to spend much time with Afrikaners, who are much kinder than many think. Workmates did not like my views on Apartheid.

Needless to say I looked to Alan Paton and others. Thechurches, including Anglicans, were often either silenced or muted

I appreciate this blog as it does not go for all the Ban Rhodes type of tosh.
Enjoy the blog


[Another post related to my occasional series on clergy in fiction. This time, not an English author, but an English character working overseas.]

I can think of no other novel in years that has struck me so forcefully as Cry, the beloved country, by Alan Paton. The book was first published in the UK in 1948 by Jonathan Cape; issued as a Penguin Modern Classic in 1958, and subsequently reprinted almost every year until at least 1982, the year in which my copy was printed. Paton was an educationalist, and campaigner for the rights of the native South African population. He was also a friend of Geoffrey Clayton, archbishop of Cape Town, whose biography he published in 1973.

Why am I so struck by it ? Fundamentally it is because the plot has an intense humanity, intertwining themes of place and home, familial loyalty and parental loss, individual…

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