Looking beyond colour line

2016-11-16 06:02
Adv. Kuni Ditira – Social Observer

Adv. Kuni Ditira – Social Observer

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Can marriage between people of different ethnicities work? Previously, interracial marriages between black and white were prohibited by law. We tended to accept that or people sometimes changed their races in the official registers. I vividly remember a young black man who went to the then Bophuthatswana to marry a white woman. She was even given a Setswana name.

In 22 years of democracy, if we see an interracial couple, we still find it new and a rarity. There are several such marriages, but I’m unsure of the success rate. Do they experience the same challenges as people of the same race? Does the approval of extended family matter? Sometimes, especially in rich families, they will disown you. Do you now have to have new friends who are comfortable with the relationship?

I came to learn of a couple that have been married for about 23 years. The wife left her comfortable and rich life to go stay in the township. She had to fetch water from the tap and use a bucket toilet – although for a short period before the municipality introduced a flushing toilet system.

The first thing we do when we get better employment is to leave the township for the suburbs. For this white woman to stay in the township for more than 20 years is something to be marvelled at. When she gave me her home address, I nearly fell off the chair. I hope she did not notice that I was shocked. Maybe she is used to that reaction and she no longer notices it.

I have visited her home and I found that she is still madly in love with her handsome husband. She does not see her relationship and the life she has been living for decades as something special. She has lived her life well in the township with no regrets. If given a chance again, she will choose the same life. She does not see colour. She is not fixated with us and them.

She says that all people are the same, it is only the pigment of our skin that differs. What is important is the values we have been taught as children. In all races there are people who do not have integrity and who are crooks. Black people, even if we marry our own race, sometimes have to marry people speaking a different language and with different customs. In this relationship it is expected of the woman to adopt the customs and beliefs of the husband. We tend to gravitate towards our own. In most cases we have perceptions about other races. We have vivid imaginations about their lives, but at the end, we are all people.

Express welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the weekly column. There is no payment for writers. Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words in Sotho or English) via email to teboho.setena@­volksblad.com.

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