Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that there is a lot of racism around the world, I just don’t think we’re as alarmed of it now as we were 20 years ago. People know about the American history in the ’50s and South Africa in the Apartheid times, but racism is still rife, and it’s disgusting.
I grew up in another country. My family did not up and leave because of “the way South Africa was heading”. We left because my father received a job opportunity he could not say no to at the time. We didn’t go far, though – To Gaborone, Botswana. A mere 4 hours from Joburg. But what a different place it is. I was seven at the time, so I was still a sponge, ready to absorb anything that was thrown at me, and much of the South Africa I knew before leaving was pretty much a distant memory. I started school at a British run private primary school with 29 different nationalities being represented by the students. Once a year, there was a day where we would all bring our own national dishes, clothes, etc, and share it amongst each other learning about everyones heritage and home. I am Jewish, and my best friend throughout most of the next 7 years was Muslim. At high school, of the 600 students, 240 were from other countries. 33 different counties to throw another number in there. My best friends for the next few years was of Hindu descent. I’m basically showing you my background and what type of lifestyle I grew up in. There were no politics about admittance into the schools on racial background, nor was there any problem about who you scrummed with each Saturday morning on your way to becoming the top side in the country. These things didn’t matter.
I guess I never really understood this whole racism thing until midway through high school. It came in the form of a fat, Afrikaans man from Rustenburg. Yes, the banality is there, however unintentional it was, the truth is authentic. There were words spoken out of his mouth that I had only read about, and seen in movies talking about things from the ’70s. It was nauseating. But, you learn to live with it, I mean what can you really do?
I think a lot South Africans, (By this, I mean my generation – born somewhere in the ’80s), were brought into a different world. A world that is trying really hard to rectify a problem that ran for decades – A problem that they didn’t cause but they’re trying. The worry is, there are still people from a previous generation that are fighting for a cause that has ended. So now we sit with this mosaic of problems lying on the floor and a colourful way to fix it. This solution started 15 years ago – officially. So when will South Africa stop telling everyone that it’s still in the growing phase. They need to grab the bull by the horns and sort itself out. Do people honestly believe we are further along than we were even 5 years ago? You only have to look at sport to know there are still problems. The phantom it’s-there-no-there’s-no-such-thing “quota system” proves it. Why must we force players of colour into a team that means a performing white player should be dropped? Ntini of the Proteas earned his caps; Donald wasn’t dropped for him. Gibbs waited for his turn and performed, cementing his place properly with his own flair. But when a player, I’ll throw in one K. Pieterson, is blatantly dropped because there is a player of colour that might be better, it’s a problem. KP is one of the best players in the world, and will be for some time. That player of colour is tottering around in the provincial system because when he had his chance, he just wasn’t good enough.
There are some words I don’t use. By words, I mean foul language that shouldn’t be spoken. There are some that start with C’s and some with P’s, but the one with the K still causes the worst pains. When I moved to South Africa, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but at times, within the right crowds, it isn’t that bad. But I still hear it every so often. From friends even. A couple of my best friends know how I feel about it, and they’ve stopped (around me?). Why am I friends with these people then? Because they are still good people, and it really isn’t their fault that this is what they’re been brought up with. I suppose they are still there to learn and to adjust. It just proves how ignorant some people are, though. They know about the problems in the passed, but instead of making a concerted effort to change, and be part of a solution, they continue to babble on in their own way, adding to the mess of the current lingering conundrum.
People are being educated properly and slowly the tides are turning in the social circles. It’s the bigger picture that I think still needs a lot of work. It’s not meant to be a political discussion, I prefer to leave that up to the politicians, but in this country, it definitely is political: We a have a probable future president that recently said Afrikaaners are the only true white South African’s., then sings about his bloody machine gun. I know he’s trying, but come on. He’s as stupid as his youth leader.
So again, what can you really do? This is my way. What’s yours? This post may get me into trouble, in fact, I hope it does. Maybe it’ll open some eyes.