15 August 2019, The Tablet

Challenging a comfortable Church

Challenging a  comfortable Church

No Neutral Ground: Finding Jesus in a Cape Town Ghetto
(HODDER & STOUGHTON, 288 PP, £13.99)
Tablet bookshop price £12.60 • Tel 020 7799 4064

Manenberg is a township of Cape Town created during the apartheid regime for low-income coloured families forcibly removed from their homes. Three centuries of colonialism, decades of apartheid, forced removals and construction of these townships have created an environment where gangs and drug addiction thrive, just 12 miles from the green lawns of the Cape Town that many refer to as heaven on earth.

In a bracingly honest account, Pete Portal’s debut book details his journey from comfortable middle-class London to making his home in this “Cape Town ghetto” over the past decade. With his wife, Sarah, he lives with young men coming out of drug addiction, and gangs, discipling and re-parenting them into faith and freedom. Writing as if he is ­sitting across a pub table with you, yet far from meandering in his storytelling, Portal weaves together vulnerable personal testimony with astute political insight and theological reflection to create a vivid picture of the people and place he calls home.

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