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Hlengiwe Binda Ntimba
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The ‘K’ word

25 February 2014, 22:00

Reprimanding my daughter she turns and says the ‘K’ word.  In utter shock I pick up my jaw from the floor and sit her down to have the race talk.  I know she is too young to understand the power this word holds and how it affects her as a black African child so we have a simple conversation one can have with a three year old.  I address it with the school and choose not to make other people’s prejudices affect how I view mine and my children’s worth – life goes on.

A week later driving from school she points at her brother and says ‘mama, this one is black’.  It catches me off guard and without really thinking through what she is saying I refer back to the previous week and my emotions get the better of me. 

I vented and discussed this with my friends.  Thinking about it while the first incident was unacceptable the truth is her brother is a black African boy – and that is something he should be proud of.  Children are curious little creatures, they may not have the words for it but the different skin shades on the playground are obvious to them.  We had another age appropriate talk about Black, White, Chinese and Orange and where they fit in.  It was important for me not to leave this issue hanging because my reaction although not intentional implied that it was not ok for her brother to be black.

As adults we have a responsibility not to pass our own prejudices, insecurities and contaminated views about other races to our children.  To taint their view of race is to perpetuate division and promote a sense of being better or lesser than the other.  It does not matter how justified you think you are but children do not have a filter when comes to their parents – they absorb it all and it is my hope that in the near future there will be no room for such on our land. 

So I put this notion forward, let us have a positive dialogue on how we can pass on our unique history of a true reconciliation to our children.  We are different but we can respect each other’s differences and co-exist in peace. 

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