I am South African. South Africa has a colour issue. An unfortunate legacy of apartheid, colonialism, the media, economic disparity and negative current rehtoric of the political classes in a bid to avoid taking responability for their own corruption and ineptitude. It is complex and more complex than this space allows. ... but as a result South Africans are obsessed with difference. Colour, tribe, class, race. .
It makes me sad, to my mind the absolute strength, advantage and gift of South Africa is its fantastic diversity. If South Africans coukd only get past the binary colour/ race obsession and appreciate the detail and richness contained within their country.
In my high school yr, there were Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Chez and of course white British South Africans. I assumed that my exposure to people from all over the world was common to everyone. I had no idea that the South African experience of diversity is not so wide spread.
Of course there is a glaring omission. It was Apartheid so there were no blacks or Asians (India subcontinent). But my state school was incredibly clever at being subversive, educating us girls about the evils of Apartheid. Apartheid laws were strict the teachers were taking huge risks.
I suspect (but don't know) that every teacher was in collusion on this.
We were given Chinua Achebe to read. We learnt about Isreal and Palestine as the closest approximation to Apartheid. Little did we all know that Isreal would surpass South African apartheid.
When i was 15 I remember deliberatly staying away from school during a national strike in solidarity with those fighting Apartheid. My form teacher gently asked me if this was the reason why i had skipped school. To my long lasting shame i did not own up to what i had done. I was too scared.
My life is constantly unfolding in richness through the bounty of diversity. I am without doubt a better petson because of it. 🕵️♀️
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