I WAS 23 years old in 1973 and lived in South Africa. I was a young man originally from France, but became a South African citizen.

In those days, I was what you would call in my language “un vaut rien” (“a worth nothing”). I was rebellious against the establishment, inconsiderate to my neighbour and woke up drunk behind wheels of parked pantechnicons. That same year, as I collapsed behind a bus shelter in the middle of the night, I clearly saw a Bible and heard a gentle voice saying to me: “Claude, if you don’t turn your life around, you will die young!”

I turned around, went to a seminary in Gauteng (Transvaal) for a few years, married a good wife and together we pastorally ministered in Durban, Chatsworth, Cape Town, Oranjemund (by the Namib desert), Boksburg and also Leeds and Bournemouth here in the UK.

Carol and I have three children and six grandchildren. I’m now 69 years old and work in Southbourne in a superb care home for dementia sufferers.

Rebellion against the establishment, disregard for one’s neighbour and for one’s own self is on the rise today.

My hope is that the short narrative of my actual experience, which is an unanswerable argument, will make some people rethink seriously what they are doing and where they are going in life.


Prince of Wales Road, Westbourne