Love really is colour blind

2015-07-01 06:05
Moeti Molelekoa Social Observer

Moeti Molelekoa Social Observer

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DURING the dark days of apartheid, interracial relationships were prohibited by law in South Africa, so was the freedom of movement. The majority of black citizens had their movement restricted, thus making them foreigners in their own country.

In the midst of apartheid interrelationships were, however, not impossible.

In the Kutlwanong township in Odendaalsrus a romantic relationship between a black man and a white woman created considerable tension.

The charismatic Jerry Tsie met Annette Heunis at a photo shop where Heunis was employed.

The two were from completely different backgrounds but still fell in love. Tsie was employed as a security officer at the Free State Guduld Gold Mine and a part-time black belt karateka.

The love affair made world headlines in a country where sex and marriage between the colour line were prohibited. Shunned by her parents and the white community, Heunis moved in with Tsie’s family in Kutlwanong. The couple got married in November 1988.

In 1976, Bubbles Mpondo, a beautiful newly-qualified nurse left Port Elizabeth for Johannesburg in search of fame and fortune as a model. In Johannesburg, she met Jannie Beetge, a white middle-class Afrikaner man. They fell in love and declared their love publicly. The two lovebirds openly defied the laws which prohibited a marriage between white and black people. Mpondo and Beetge were harassed, arrested and charged with contravening the Immorality Act and were given suspended sentences.

Mpondo and Beetge had intended on moving abroad to Europe. However, they were shot and killed in mysterious circumstances.

Racism prevailed in South African society then. Children of different races were prohibited from even playing together or knowing each other. Black people were robbed of their dignity, their land, their ability to earn their living by participating freely in the economy and from acquiring equal education opportunities.

We come from a place of bitter division and oppression, where the idea of human rights was a foreign ideology. It was only in 1996 that the Constitution was approved to become the ultimate law in South Africa.

For couples to fall in love and live together is a normal thing today. The outspoken Mmusi Maimane, political and religious leader, is married to a white graduate teacher, Natalie.

Maimane attended the Glen Allen High School in Roodeport, where he matriculated. His mother is of Xhosa ancestry, while his father is a Tswana.

He graduated from the University of South Africa with a BA (Psychology) master’s in Public Administration from Witwaters­rand and a master’s degree in Theology from the University of Wales.

In the past, your human potential did not matter. He is now part of the new generation and has managed to live with his wife in the East Rand and they have now relocated to Cape Town due to work commitments.

Our hopes are in our children, the born-frees, born after 1994. They are exposed to greater diversity, a mixed society and have the opportunity to forge relationships across the racial barriers.

Our Constitution looks progressive on paper. To make it work we all need to personally commit to accepting that we had a difficult past. We must accept that we are different and we must care to live together in unity. We ought to see ourselves as human beings and build a rainbow nation – let’s keep the dream of the rainbow nation alive.

As Martin Luther King once said: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”) To comment or express your views about the issue highligh-ted in the column, go to Express Goldfields andamp; NFS welcomes anyone interested in ­contributing to the weekly column as public observers or citizen journalists. There is no payment for writers. Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words, in English or ­Sotho) to teboho.setena@­

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