Being an expat, one is allowed to escape the realities of one’s origins and one can romanticise one’s life at home, in one’s native country. In South Korea, no one group of foreigners comes together as well as South Africans do; the recent soccer world cup, greasing the cohesion of such reactions even more so. However, as we reminisce about our culture, food, land and experiences, I find that we make things out to be a little too rose-tinted as we glide over issues such as racism, poverty, crime and a lack of development. I have also noted that what is brushed over depends on your ethnicity, i.e. blacks avoid talking about crime and poverty; and whites avoid talking about racism, apartheid and lack of economic change. I was thinking about my reasons for avoiding talking about certain ‘bad’ aspects of my country and the deeper I delved, the more I realised that I refused to talk about these issues, as I thought that such discussions were nothing but attacks on Black Africans. In the same manner, I feel that it is the same reason why my fellow White Africans do not want to address issues that they feel are attacks on them. In a recent discussion over why some men can remain heartbroken for decades after rel the end of a relationship, a group of friends concluded that it was probably due to a majority of men not wanting to talk about how they felt about the relationship ending, what went wrong etc.; in the same way that women dissect the dismantlement of their relationships. If that is true, would it not stand to reason that dissecting the termination of apartheid in detail would help us as a nation to heal and move forward together? As a Black South African, I have certain fears, prejudices, ideas and feelings, which are mostly common ground for Black South Africans as whole, but are most certainly one-sided. I’m sure that White, Coloured, Indian and ‘Other’ South Africans have their own as well. Would it not benefit us individually, and as a whole, if we opened up honest dialogue between each other and discussed what we feel and think about one another’s heritages in an objective manner? I know if I was allowed to say what I really feel, it would lift a burden off my shoulders and allow me to deepen my relationship with my friends of a different race, because I would know that I could truly be 100% myself and not have to hide parts of my psyche for fear of offending them or making them uncomfortable. And in the same manner, I would love for them to experience the same luxury. I am also not the only one who feels that our racial prejudices and rose-tinted histories, are a barricade to our country’s development, as I pleasantly discovered when reading News 24’s columnists, Max du Preez and Ferial Haffajee; with the former discussing how we all distort our histories in one way or another and the latter questioning our presumptions about a person based on their name, race, age and in most cases getting it wrong; both concluding that a change in our thinking as individual races is key to our country’s future success. Keeping quiet about things that we feel are too controversial or offensive even though we think about them, is easy, but speaking up and owning up to our thoughts and truly forgiving ourselves and eachother could be the divine intervention that our country and planet needs.
- Trumpet Call
- Sin Business, is Good Business