I am a white woman in the late twenties. I was born in South Africa where I have lived my whole life, therefore I consider myself to be a South African! I am married and have three children and even though I am white I too worry about the future of my children as I do not have “silver spoons” for them. My ancestors came to South Africa to make an honest living out of teaching and working on the mines. No slavery was involved in providing an income for their family to put food on the table.
I was nine when apartheid ended and had no idea of the struggle that was fought to reach that point. I had no idea that my mother was almost arrested for defending a young black woman from a white policeman, who in all honesty can only be described as a pig. I had no idea that my black friends were any different from me. As far as I understood it their difference in skin colour was viewed in the same light as the difference in hair and eye colour among my white friends. In my eyes we were equal, we were all children. I was raised to respect everybody and embrace differences in appearance, thinking and tradition. I was taught to treat everybody with dignity. It is still with these values in mind that I am raising my children.
With all that said I am growing tired and frustrated with the mentality and perception around white South Africans. Why must we be picked on for living in this country and trying to do our best to provide for our families? Yes apartheid was a terrible thing. What was done to people during that very dark time was horrible and frankly disgusting but we as a country must move on and stop blaming the past for any success the white man has.
My children go to good private schools because education is important. While I believe that every child should have access to a good education the sad reality is that public schools are shocking. My children do not go to private schools because they are better; they go to private schools because my husband and I have made sacrifices and pay through our noses each month to have them there. Our family lives in a nice home. We do not live in a nice home because we are better; we live there because my husband works long hours to pay the bond each month. The same goes for our car and medical aid.
I don’t believe that any South African should be treated differently. We are an extremely unique country with many cultures and I would like to think that every race, culture and South African has something to contribute. South Africa is not the only country with different class structures. All over the world there are rich, middle class and poor people. You can blame apartheid all you want for the things you do not have but the hard reality is that if you are just sitting around waiting for somebody to give you free handouts because of your colour then you will never have anything. In a hundred years you will still be sitting crying about what a white man did to you and you will still be sitting with nothing. If you want to succeed in life then go out and work for it. Nothing is for free.
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