A true story about ultimate triumph

This story is about Thomas Budge standing up for what he believed in, and about being true to who he is, no matter the consequences. We are not discriminated against because of who we are, but because of who our discriminators are. This is a story of ultimate triumph.

Thomas Budge, a nineteen year old, English speaking, white South African boy faces detention and solitary confinement for refusing military training during the apartheid regime. What might have been a story of despair becomes one of encouragement. His book transforms lives, untangles complicated circumstances in life and inspires the reader to achieve much more.

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It Is What It Is, Grace through acceptance

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Book synopsis



It Is What It Is — Grace through acceptance


Thomas W E Budge


Dr Peter Merrington, affiliated professor extraordinaire in the English Department, University of the Western Cape


General non-fiction in the areas of politics, African interest, history, autobiography and personal empowerment


ISBN-13: 978-0620555005
ISBN-10: 0620555009


The Namasté Trust, South Africa


Thomas' book is autobiographical. It reads like a novel. Shortly after matriculating in the early 1970's, Thomas was one of an initial group of white English-speaking conscientious objectors to refuse military training under South Africa's former regime. He was held in military custody in the Detention Barracks in Voortrekkerhoogte, Pretoria. Of the 512 days of his incarceration, most of them were spent in solitary confinement, with as much as a year in total isolation, and a considerable number of days spent in the notoriously awful dark-cells, a punishment that broke the spirit of many a young man.

Detention was an obviously difficult period for Thomas, but it was extra tough because, out of fear as a gay man, he had to hide his sexual orientation from the army, his family and friends. He lived a double life: on one hand being the faithful child adhering to the strict dogma of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the religion under which he was raised, and simultaneously trying to suppress his sexual identity. Deeply conflicted and misunderstood, soon matters had to come to a head, and having finally chosen to be himself, he was excommunicated from the JW organisation.

Excommunication (called disfellowshipping) is the Witnesses' harshest form of punishment. Any disfellowshipped person is shunned, quite literally. No Witness is allowed to associate with a disfellowshipped person, not even eating a meal with that person, and so, having been freed from apartheid policies, Thomas found himself punished yet again, this time having to face the loss of his family and community support, a sentence that lasted to up to the writing of his book, some thirty-five years later.

It took a few decades for him to find his way again, and then only after he was introduced to his spiritual teacher Ram Dass, who gave him a different and more positive perspective on life. Thomas is now a respected motivational councillor who has worked with many thousands of people, many from the influential ranks of Johannesburg's rich and famous. His book is uplifting, and has a refreshingly different perspective on life.

Thomas says in his introduction: Part of my story is about injustice, the ways in which the state, society, and religion often suppress the life of individuals like you and me, but through and out of this, we find release and deeper transformation that comes from the wise and courageous choices we make.