I grew up with my best friend Pizza on the farm where we ran barefoot through the fields and enjoyed sleepovers with pap and sheba made in a big drie-poot and listening to stories of the tokoloshe. I sat on the side of the bed as a little boy, not even in school yet listening as FW took to power bringing to an end Apartheid and all the atrocities that came with it. A few years later I sat on the couch with the lady that raised me Anna, Pizza’s mother, that taught me about life and respect and cheered as Mandela gave his first steps in freedom. Few years still I was part of the first school choirs to proudly sing Nkosi for the first time in public as we inaugurate the new South Africa. When I joined high school I fought my own piers to ensure Pizza could go to school with me, got beaten up more than once, stood up every time and finally won the battle and ensured Pizza would get the same opportunities as me. When Pizza died I paid for his funeral, built Anna a home and take care of her to this day. When I got my MBA the first call was to Anna. I would consider myself totally colour blind.
Today I find myself retrenched from one of South Africa’s biggest corporate that treats employees like commodities and I can’t even get an interview for positions I am overqualified and experienced because I am white and all that Anna can say is sorry. She feels embarrassed that her own people can turn around and repeat the mistakes of the previous generations but she is helpless and cant do more than say sorry. I am being treated like a leper in a country where I fought just as hard as the people of my best friend and his mother that raised me. I understand fully that wrongs of the pasts needs to be righted and I fully believe great strides have been made to do so but I feel the fight was won of others, not for me. I love this country and I have bled for this country as much as the next person and I refuse to leave.
Other than the fact that most of the management positions that are being advertised are exclusively EE but if I do get shortlisted for non EE positions for them to only change it before I can even get an interview I ask myself, was the fight worth it?
I phone Anna, tell her that I am in tears about the injustice I feel I am experiencing in this country I call home and all she can say is sorry. She reminds me of the times when I got home from school with a blue eye, stitches in my lip and a chipped tooth after fighting for what I believe in and how those tears where not in fain and that this country is now a better place for all and I ask her “Are you sure?”