BOOK REVIEW: Sorry, Not Sorry: 'It is our turn to talk and their turn to listen'

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Sorry, not Sorry, published by Penguin Random House.
Sorry, not Sorry, published by Penguin Random House.

If you are politically aware, socially mindful and grappling with increasingly shaky race relations in this country, Sorry, Not Sorry by journalist Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a must-read.

Not in the clichéd way most people refer to the latest book on the market, but in a way that will truly empower you to know and claim your place in the current conversations being had about race, privilege and power relations in South Africa.

Whether you're black or brown, but especially if you're white, this book will open your eyes to the realities of the skewed world we live in and stick a finger right in the sore that you manage to ignore most of the time, but always know is there: that we live in a world where white equals privilege, power and opportunity while black equals discrimination, racism and disregard.

Dawjee's book is a collection of essays about her experiences as a brown woman in South Africa, but its message is much more universal, focusing on the many challenges women of colour face; in relationships, the workplace and in the interpretation of history and practice of religion.

If you're white, it will probably upset or anger you. Dawjee holds no prisoners.

She writes: "I believe in confidently crossing the imaginary line of what is okay to say to white people and what is not. I believe that it is our turn to talk and their turn to listen. If they won't, it is often going to be my responsibility to tell them to shut up."

If you're black, you will relate to the many details and examples she gives to illustrate her point that people of colour have, until now, been deprived of a voice and narrative that tells their story from their own point of view.

Whether you are cringing or relating, one thing is certain: you will know that her words hold true. You will know it in your bones while you laugh at her witty humour which, even though she's scathing in her criticism of white people, partially saves them. And you'll know it while you cry over her pain, either because you've experienced it too, or because you know you are exempted from it by virtue of the colour of your skin.

Watch the interview with Haji Mohamed Dawjee:

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