Returning to South Africa

A Broken Country

Johannes Adendorff, the author of A Different Plan, returns home to South Africa and realizes that time has slipped by—and the country has changed more than he’d ever thought possible.

As I stepped off the plane into South Africa, my homeland, I drew in a deep breath. I’d left America after years of skydiving and learning more about myself. Now, I was home again.

“Welcome back, son,” my father said as I approached him and my mother.

“We’ve missed you,” my mother added as she drew me in for a hug.

I took them in, feeling tears well up in my eyes. They’d grown older, as I’d expected, but deep, permanent lines of worry and hardship had also etched themselves into their faces. Had their lives changed so much in the last few years?

As we piled into the car and took off through the streets toward home, I blinked a couple of times in surprise. The landscape was just as I’d remembered it, but the people, the places—everything had changed. Trash littered the streets, piled up for months without anyone caring to pick it up. Civilization had disappeared, replaced with the smells and mess of wild beasts.

This was not the South Africa I had known.

My parents explained that the murder rate in South Africa had more than doubled, with both white and black South Africans being the targets. Black South Africans often targeted white South African farms, biting back for the years they remembered under the apartheid system. Murder and torture were rampant. People were robbed every day. The government was struggling to keep the population under control, especially with political unrest threatening it at every turn.

My own mother had almost fallen prey to a break-in robbery. It was a bleak picture.

As we drove up to the familiar little white farmhouse, I was stunned into silence. The house itself was the only thing familiar about my parent’s homestead. They now had three huge bullmastiff dogs to guard the property and a six-foot electrical fence around the house. I couldn’t imagine myself trying to break in without my parents there to guide me.

“This is our life, now,” my parents said. “It’s up to us to protect ourselves.”

As I settled into the familiar scents and comforts of home, I tried to forget about the dire situation we were in. God wants us to live in love, not fear.

And, I was here for a reason. Now that I was back home, it was time to find a job—and do what I could to spread peace in this broken land.

A former military man and professional skydiver, Johannes Adendorff shares his experiences of overcoming adversity and bullying in his memoir, A Different Plan. After years of life in the skies, Adendorff commits his time to spreading God’s message and encouraging others to live for Jesus Christ. You can contact Johannes here.

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