This book is not Patrick Noonan’s autobiography, it is a travelogue, Michael Palin style, and a diary, John Pilger style, chronicling the events, the people, the feelings, the thoughts, the reflections, the emotions and the spirituality of a journey of more than 40 years of Christian witness in the townships of the Vaal Triangle in South Africa. It is the astute commentary, by the author of the bestselling “They’re Burning the Churches”, of a keen observer of, and participant in, some of the most momentous events in the recent history of South Africa, told from the perspective of Ground Zero.
It provides a fascinating insight into the life and experiences of a white, celibate, immigrant missionary from Europe in a poverty-stricken, oppressed black ghetto, with only the rudder of his gut faith to guide him.
Here Noonan candidly shares his priesthood with the reader. He also tells how the poor and marginalised of the world taught church and development workers so much. He describes vividly a frightening confrontation with the paranormal, being traumatised during the baptism of 29 infants, and waking up to the sound of bullets crashing through the window of his house. You will witness, awestruck, his angry conversations with God in a darkened church. This is a difficult book to define – you will search in vain for a storyline, or even a timeline, but it takes you to a place very few lay people get to visit – the mind of a struggling religious.