The heart of Africa is its people.
“I am an African. I am white. I, in my humble way, and others in their much more brave way, have earned that right.” ― Nadine Gordimer,
“One Settler, One Bullet” is the story of Jeanne Pickers and her husband, Don, intertwined with the history of South Africa.
Sandwiched between two warring factions, stands the farm named Bloemendal where the author lived for twenty five years.
These were the years from before the dismantling of apartheid until after the release of Mandela from prison and the anticipated birth of the Rainbow Nation. The story recounts tales of how they, and their extended family, loved and cared for each other. They shared their losses, their conflict and their courage and they all hoped that political differences could be addressed with the change in political power.
But that wasn’t to be. Their farming life became untenable due to the uncontrollable violence and farm murders all around, as political leaders incited their followers with slogans of “One Settler, One Bullet” and “Kill the farmer, Kill the Boer”.
Then Don had an idea which would alter the course of their lives forever, and inexorably allow them an escape route from the increasing danger that escalated alarmingly around them.
Jeanne Pickers was born in South Africa and lived there for fifty years. After finishing school, she studied to become a nursing sister, married a farmer and attained a diploma in animal husbandry and artificial insemination at an agricultural college. She built up a small dairy herd and started a yoghurt factory while raising her family, caring for the farm employees and supporting her husband with all his many projects. When her children became weekly boarders at a nearby school, she studied music through the University of South Africa, and taught piano at the small boarding establishment in order to be near them during the week. She has written for magazines and had published many stories, a series of articles on cuisine and a prizewinning article on walking the Annapurna Circuit which she did with her husband, Don. Jeanne is now retired, still writing her memoirs and living in Australia with her husband, two of her children and five of her grandchildren.