Sr Janice McLaughlin (1942-2021) was a remarkable woman, an American Maryknoll nun who dedicated her life to the twin causes of education and justice. This memoir, completed just before her death, tells her story with refreshing candor. Acknowledging her naivety, which so often gives sustenance to idealism and the drive for a better world, she wanted to be a part of the struggles for freedom and independence in Africa. Trained as a journalist, she first began work in East Africa in 1969. Eight years later, she came to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work as press secretary for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace at the height of the liberation war. Here, her outrage at the brutality of the Rhodesian regime led her to be denounced as a 'terrorist sympathiser'. She was imprisoned and deported. This defining incident led her to the ZANLA camps in Mozambique where she worked as an educator.
Sr Janice spent four decades of her life in Africa, mainly in Zimbabwe. Celebrating the country's independence in 1980, she was consistently committed to work in social justice with the newly developed ZIMFEP schools, at Silveira House, and with marginalised communities. As Bishop Dieter Scholz points out in his Foreword, she did not evade the hard truth that after forty years the new regime has not fulfilled its promises to create greater equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged; she continued to work for a better, kinder and happier world.