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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

October 13th, 2009 11 comments

fear_by_xOxChrystalxOxI am sitting in my kitchen; my kitchen 15,811 long, long kilometres from the country of my skull*.
I am safe. Safe. Safe and secure. Safe. I am safe.
And still I shake. The healthy pour of Amarula I’m sipping from does little to stop the constant, low-level tremors.
I repeat it like a mantra: I am safe. I am safe. I am safe. But 25 years of training is a hard thing to unlearn.

Fear will keep you safe.
If you are a South African raised during the last 50 years or so, you know this for a fact: fear will keep you safe. Fear will keep you alive.

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A Sign Of The Times

October 6th, 2009 6 comments

segregationI had a bright yellow blanket – Blankie (not very original). It had soft, satin edging that I would rub against my top lip while sucking my thumb. Everywhere I went, Blankie went. We were inseparable. When I stood under the washing line, Blankie flapping in the breeze; good and clean and fresh tra-la-la, my mom decided something had to be done. Blankie was cut up into Blanklets, which meant that one was always in the wings, when another was in the wash, or lost.

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Apathetic Ignorance

September 29th, 2009 9 comments

I’ve never liked the idea of segregation. Its seems so stupid and self defeating. For most of my schooling I went to a whites only school, it was only in Std 9 when I went to a private school that I realized how closeted I’d been. Suddenly I was sharing classes with every colour, class and creed – and it was amazing.
But even before then I’d never liked the idea of ‘exclusive’ schools. All boys schools or all girls schools, Catholics only, Jews only, rich people only, how can anyone expect their child to get a grasp of the wider world around them when they’re only interacting a specific set of people? It can only lead to ignorance, narrow-mindedness and above all fear. Fear of something you don’t understand.

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The Invisible Black Man

September 21st, 2009 3 comments

It must have been in the late 80’s, putting me at just under 10 years old. I was just your “regular” little white kid going to a private school, living blissfully unaware of what was happening around me. I didn’t really understand much of what was happening.

I didn’t know about state of emergencies, sanctions and such other things.

None of it affected my life, it simply didn’t concern me.

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In Memory Of The Farm School

September 17th, 2009 3 comments

farm_schoolWe started off on equal footing you and I. Things were never black and white, but a world full of colour changing with the seasons. You see, what made you and me different was not our race, but who our parents were. Mine, the baas while yours worked for the baas. A worldwide phenomenon that has nothing to do with apartheid.

Our days were filled with building our own farms yards and hide-outs and learning each other’s games, languages and customs. We played cricket and football and went horse riding together or joined our fathers in the veldt. But meal times and after hours were spent with our own families. Our milk and meat came from the same source and we both dreaded our inoculations from the sister in her travelling clinic. You were taught to treat me with respect, I was taught to treat you with the same respect. We were too young to understand that we were different because of our skin colour, but we understood that my parents could afford a car because my dad owned the land we lived on.

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A Rose By Any Other Name…

September 16th, 2009 5 comments

Epistemology.com:
petty
1393, “small,” from O.Fr. petit “small” (see petit). In Eng., not originally disparaging (cf. petty cash, 1834, petty officer, 1577). Meaning “of small importance” is recorded from 1523; that of “small-minded” is from 1581.

Wikipedia:
Hence, the idea behind apartheid was more one of political separation, later known as “grand apartheid,” than segregation, later known as “petty apartheid.”

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Do It Like The Kids Do

September 14th, 2009 12 comments

sealheidiHave you ever watched children in a public environment? Just watched them? Have you ever watched two children who are complete strangers interact? How they walk up to each other, smile, laugh with each other? Talk to each other, even, in the language that toddlers speak, of course? Sure you have.

Have you ever watched two children of the same race do this? Now, have you ever watched two children of different races do this? Funny how the behaviour is precisely the same, huh?

All but the most ignorant know that ‘racial’ differences are arbitrary social constructs, right? I mean, at the genetic level, people are the same. Hate groups masquerading as legitimate organisations may feel sick to the stomach at that statement, but the ‘pure mind’ inherently realises this. The mind tampered with forgets.

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A Painless Past, A Confusing Present

September 10th, 2009 26 comments

n7275My earliest memories of political happenings are filled with abject terror. “The Communists are coming!” the adults screamed. Who these Communists were, and why exactly we needed to fear them was a mystery to me. But I was terrified nonetheless. I remember a couple of friends and I built a shack in a nearby forest and hoarding bread crusts, biltong and peanuts for weeks. We eventually grew bored of waiting for the Communists, and scoffed our provisions.

Sixteen years and a bit of education later, those years seem so preposterous. The feared Communists, for whom we waited in vain, were the African National Congress. They were making door-to-door visits in our area, which was an IFP bastion, and so in an effort to secure our votes, the IFP ran a very successful propaganda campaign against the ANC. So successful was their propaganda, that they have never lost the majority vote in that part of KZN.

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Petty Apartheid – Oxymoron?

September 9th, 2009 85 comments

whites-onlyThe first time I heard the term ‘petty apartheid’ in my 42 years of life was when Alex gave us the topic for September. My first thought, on hearing it, was that it sounds like an oxymoron; my second thought was to wonder what the hell it was.

I have since been informed that petty apartheid covered the more ‘minor’ aspects of apartheid, such as the Immorality Act and those laws that restricted access by black people to ‘whites only’ beaches, parks etc.

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Do You Think I’m Fat?

September 8th, 2009 13 comments

fat“Am I losing my hair?”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Isn’t my baby beautiful?”

Is your epiglottis in danger of being swallowed?

Not mine.

I’m expected to answer questions like these all the time.

I get asked these questions because I’m a freak of nature – like one of those people who attract lightning bolts, and I’m forced to answer them.

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