The Battle Scars of Life

J. Francois Barnard – 6 October 2016

Life is not perfect. We all incur damage some or other time. But there are those times when more damage is done than normal.

Like in times of war.

Today we have the luxury of having a lot more knowledge about damage, about therapy, and what wellness should look like. World War I and II veterans never heard the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” There were therapists, but no one specialized in Traumatology. My generation of South African men has been exposed to the South African Bush War. Many returned with experiences, but not with the vocabulary to describe it.


J. Francois Barnard - 22 November 2019

South Africa’s Bush war lasted over several decades. Some dispute the exact dates of this war. It is, however, safe to say that it was a serious war between the early 1970s to about 1990. The government passed a law that all white men were conscripted to serve in the military from the day they finish their school education up until about the age of forty or even later.

I was a soldier once

J. Francois Barnard – September 2016

I was a soldier once
Fighting for a cause
The sense of it all was so clear then
But now I have to pause

The Wounded Soldier

J. Francois Barnard – September 2016

It takes time, they say
For wounds to heal
But he never bled
Yet he could feel

Nooit, Corporal!

J. Francois Barnard – October 2016

After my first year in the South African Army, I was well versed in Army Lingo. My first language is Afrikaans. But having been in an English church since my tenth birthday, I could manage myself well in English too. Add to that the Army Fanagalo and a little bit of an English accent, and you can even fool a hardened Red Neck from Bez Valley.