By Fr. Geoffrey Lynch, O.P.
WHITE MAN'S GOD, by Rhona Churchill (Hodder & Stoughton, 21s.).
THIS is a fascinating book because it is vivid, full of interesting experiences, and leaves one wondering about the
future prospects of South Africa. The story is coherent, well put together, and revealingly frank. After reading the opening chapters one begins to wonder where it will all end, when will a bloodbath start, and who will fight whom?
In many ways the book is shocking, shocking from the viewpoint of what Miss Churchill says she found happening in South Africa. She travelled up and down the country, and I daresay that there is no reason at all to doubt the truth of any of the interesting accounts given by the people she interviewed, because her report is just as it was given to her.
The truth of these reports makes one ask again and again can such things happen in any country today? Readers will see for themselves that several chapters make grim reading, sad too, and hurtful.
BECAUSE Miss Churchill is such a realist she was not taken in by mere appearances. Full of real initiative she went off in her car on a fact finding journey. To find the facts she obviously had to speak with Africans of every sort, so we find her interviewing men and women in towns, kraals, and Reserves. It is a reasonable conclusion to draw then that her findings are representative as well as fairly comprehensive.
Her talks with white and African missionaries are also frank and full of the very kind of information most of us want to obtain. The missionaries carry on preaching " unity of all men in Christ ", but it is a very difficult task to preach unity where the prevailing policy is separation. Thank God these apostolic zealots carry on in spite of tremendous difficulties. They
believe and practice unity in Christ, and not separation by colour!
IT is not difficult to imagine the bewilderment of the African Christians when it comes down to everyday practice of Christianity. All Christians are taught the same doctrine and share the same faith, but why should we, just because we are of a different colour, be treated so harshly even by fellow Christians?
That's the question they want answering. Many of them resort to witch doctors once more because they are convinced that Christianity has failed them. Can we blame them?
Any consolation ?
THIS book should do a lot of good. I hope it does', but I am sure many readers will be left wondering about the practical application of charity and justice for the Africans.
It is good to know that not all Afrikaners agree with the present government's policy of apartheid, (in conscience how could they?) but it would be far more consoling for us all to know that they were doing something constructive about it.
Unity in Christ will never be achieved until we all believe (and apply that belief) that Christ died for all men, regardless of race or colour.