But Dad she is not black she is brown!
My five year old daughter informed me this after pointing out a girl in a crowd that was her new best friend at school, and I unfortunately asked if she meant the “black” girl with her mommy and daddy. She looked at me, then looked at her “best” friend and then turned to me with a frown on her face and told me “But Dad she is not black, she is brown!”
I see myself as a proud South African and it loathes me to have to say it but I am also a white South African. That was raised in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I am not a colonialist, I am not a white supremacist, I am not a racist! I was raised as and am a South African!
My family, like the majority of families in this country was never rich – we had to work for every penny we had and as kids we knew the meaning of making do without, and we were always made aware of the fact that there were people that were worse off than we were, which made us appreciate every little thing we had.
As kids we all want “things” – that is natural however if the parents couldn’t afford it or deemed it not necessary then we were told NO, or perhaps you can save up for it. If a child took something that the neighbour had just because they didn’t – then that was stealing and consequences were dealt out accordingly, as no decent parent wants their child to take what is not theirs to have.
I sometimes feel that even though our country is being run by adults – we are essentially a country in its “teens” and teens as every family knows have issues! And like with all families some families manage to handle the whole teen transition better than others do.
And this where I think South Africa seemed to have essentially faltered. Where a government in their new found position as a “parent” of power have promised their children presents that were probably quite necessary but unfortunately at the same time not immediately available.
And they have done the same thing we all do as parents – blame santa or the easter bunny or whatever else might be responsible because we do not want to be seen as the bad parent, and in South Africa’s case the “white man” is currently still getting the blame.
And as a parent I can see why the children are getting upset – especially when they start off with nothing at school – some white South Africans have passed the blame back on the students who have broken or burnt down what little they have – but that is what kids do!
They rebel, because they want more and that is natural. However it is up to the parent to then provide the children the essentials that are needed in order for them to succeed and then take the time to teach them how to respect what they have – and unfortunately our “parents “ in power have not lived up to their promises, and as a white I emphasise the word “our” because my child is at school and even though she does not go to school in the text book or teacher starved schooling areas – I still feel for all the parents whose children battle daily to educate themselves, and there is no race or colour in our country that can say that they are the only ones affected, if they do then they are lying to themselves – this has become a South African issue as those schools affected support the communities around them which are not made up of only one colour or one race type.
I live in a house, I have a car, this doesn’t mean that I own them or have taken them through “illegitimate” means, it just means I have to pay the banks large sums of money to ensure my family can stay there. I have electricity and I have running water – however I have to pay large amounts of money to ensure that my family gets the opportunity to continue using these facilities, and I have learnt that if I can’t afford those facilities I then have to live without until I can.
My daughter has recently just started school, not a private one but a government controlled one, is it an all-white school? No! But she has taught me a lesson or two about seeing that there are so many more worthy beautiful colours in South Africa apart from purely black and white.
I just hope that as a parent I can help raise her without changing that beautiful innocence and that she continues to grow up loving her South African neighbour no matter who they are.
The greatest thing about South Africa is that we as a country have learnt to survive and grow from within, and the world has seen that too, otherwise there would not be a continued support of foreign investment – we however need to learn to grow up responsibly and earn that support – both as parents and as children that will become parents of the next South African future.
To my neighbour I say please see me for what I am? A Proudly South African Parent.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.