Ashley Cloete publishes book on love across colour bar in apartheid days

Ashley and Rosemarie Cloete

Gateway News spoke to author and missionary Ashley Cloete about his new book What God Joined Together Starting next week, we will be posting the book on Gateway News as a chapter-by-chapter series.

Ashley, I interviewed you about your book Revival Seeds Germinate two years ago. You noted that it was Part 1 and that there would be two more parts to come. What happened subsequently?

I believe your latest book came about unexpectedly?

Yes, after you interviewed me two years ago about my book Revival Seeds Germinate (Part 1). I wrote the other two parts and posted them on my blog They can be accessed there, along with other manuscripts. I must still put the finishing touches to them, hoping to publish them ultimately as e-books.

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In fact, I was well on the way to get a second edition of Revival Seeds Germinate Part 1 posted via Amazon and Smashwords as an e-book when something happened earlier this year. I perceived it as a divine nudge to get another manuscript out first before that. I was led to get our love story into the public domain. What God Joined Together is available as an e-book at

Before we talk about What God Joined Together, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Cape Town, but lived in Germany and Holland for many years. I was born in Bo-Kaap when it was still a predominantly Christian residential suburb with a strong Islamic vibe just under 75 years ago. I spent the bulk of my childhood in District Six when many Jews and Indians had shops there.

Isaiah 55:8 and 9 (God’s higher ways and better thoughts) would run like a golden thread through my life. I came to learn that adversity and suffering seem to be among God’s prime instruments to bring about significant change in the lives of people and even in countries.

In the 1960s I was deeply impacted and mentored in evangelism by Ds Piet Bester, the minister at the local Sendingkerk. There, he also ignited a spark in my heart for missions.

An invitation to the CSV student “stranddienste” (beach missions) at Harmony Park at the end of 1964 indelibly touched me. There I discovered the power of prayer and the importance of networking of the Body of Christ.

I met my wife Rosemarie while studying overseas in 1969 and 1970. Our marriage in 1975 led to my exile from the country I had longed to return quite intensely.

We served as a pastoral couple in Moravian congregations in West Berlin and Utrecht (Netherlands).

Rosemarie and I started and led Stichting Goed Nieuws Karavaan, a local evangelistic agency in Zeist (Netherlands), with volunteers from different churches and Bible Schools of the region. There we also started the first group of believers in the Netherlands of the Regiogebed (the Dutch version of Dave Bryant’s Concerts of Prayer.)

After our return to SA as a family with five children in January 1992, we were involved with the prayer movement and Muslim evangelism, operating as missionaries of WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ) International.

Since 2003 we have been focusing on compassionate outreach to refugees and other foreigners. We were involved in the founding of the missionary NPO Friends from Abroad in the process, serving subsequently as leaders.

Can you tell us a little more about What God Joined Together .

The book is our story in the apartheid era of South Africa when love across the colour bar was forbidden. Next to legal prohibition, parental disapproval of the relationship led to a tragic compromise.

The origins go back to over 30 years ago as part of the struggle against apartheid. While living in exile I collated and commented on personal letters I had written to the SA government. I called the ensuing manuscript Honger na Geregtigheid [Hunger after Justice]. I had hoped to win over someone from the overwhelmingly Afrikaans National Party government by writing the manuscript in our mother tongue in an effort to enable my return to the country. The original Afrikaans version was thus an attempt to get the government to scrap petty Apartheid legislation.

A good friend in Holland, where I was living with my family, pointed out that the manuscript took on too critical an angle. He felt that it lacked a sense of genuine love and compassion towards the Afrikaner people group. I had to concede that the manuscript was possibly an overdose of medicine to a sick society. I went on to revamp and tone down the draft of Honger na Geregtigheid, dividing it into three smaller booklets.

The first of these concentrated on personal experiences relating to the so-called Mixed Marriages Act. I named it Wat God saamgevoeg het [What God joined together]. The present book is a translated, updated and changed version of this original collation of letters.

Where can readers obtain hard copies of the book?

Only a few copies are left of the first edition in which pictures are at the back of the booklet. In the second edition the pictures are included in the text. It can be ordered from Sela Books at or 082 5634407.

And of course, from next week, a chapter of the book will be published each week on Gateway News.

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