‘Heroic act’ could have been fatal

MyFin24 is a user-generated section of Fin24.com. The stories here come from users.
Fin24 user Gideon Phokane shares his Heritage Month celebratory story in memory of his late father Samuel Phokane:


WHEN I was still a little boy in the 1980s, I went to a store called OTK in Marble Hall with my dad.

There were two cash registers in that store – one was marked "Net Swartes" and the other "Net Blankes, Geen Swartes".

I couldn't read at that time, so I queued in the whites-only cash register line.

Black people who saw me were scared and the white people couldn't believe their eyes, but the white cashier let me move to the front of the queue to pay for my sweets and go find my dad.
 
Even though this is part of our heritage, it is one that won’t be missed by many people but for me that particular day is a memory I will cherish forever, more so because my dad and other people in the store thought my actions were those of a hero.

But as I grew up, I realised what a fatal position I could have put my father and myself in back in those days.
 
Every now and then I visit Marble Hall. The last time I went to the same OTK store was in 2011 to fill up a gas cylinder.

I have found there is a great deal of tolerance among Blankes and Swartes, and there is no longer any form of segregation at the cash registers.

I am so happy that my children won’t have such stories to tell.

 - Fin24

Help Fin24 celebrate SA's rich business heritage this Heritage Month by sharing your stories and pictures. Send your views to editor@fin24.com and you could get published.

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