‘This is not the man I knew’: Jansen van Staden reckons with being the son of a Border War conscript

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The story of Pa, the PKM and Corne's lounge. (Photo: Jansen van Staden/ Supplied)
The story of Pa, the PKM and Corne's lounge. (Photo: Jansen van Staden/ Supplied)

After the death of my father in 2011, I discovered a letter written to his psychotherapist about his time as a conscript in the South African Border War. The father I knew had dedicated his life to sustainable projects and education in African countries, and what I read in the letter took me by surprise. It detailed horrific incidents he took part in as a 17-year-old boy. This is not the man I knew. One paragraph from the letter bothered me the most: 

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