Everyone has a story to tell.
I always wish I had written my grandma’s story or my mom’s story, because these stories can become forgotten over generations. I wanted to write my story; not to keep reminding myself of Apartheid but to remember that everything in life is possible. I want generations to come to draw on the fact that love conquers all.
I grew up in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats.
There were six of us with my parents in a one-bedroom home for many years.
Later, we moved to a two-bedroom home and before I knew it we were 10. My grandma was my idol and she took me with her to her work at a white family in Durbanville one day.
The house was huge, the little girl’s playroom was almost as big as our entire home in Bonteheuwel. At 10-years-old, I asked God to help me to live in Durbanville one day. At that age, I could not understand why the world was the way it was and I asked many questions; no one really had answers.
When I was around 20, I met my husband. It was not my first encounter with a white person as my boss at my job at a meat factory was white.
I remember how he would shout at me "Meit, roer jou gat! [Girl, move your ass]"
I didn’t react well to situations like these, so I immediately told him: "you don’t speak to me like that".
My mother, who got me the job and also worked there, gave me a look scary enough to stop me from retaliating.
My relationship with my husband blossomed but we were initially a secret. I ran away from home hoping for a new and improved life with Harry.
I, of course, knew about Apartheid, but I was naïve.
I didn’t anticipate how much open intimidation and hostility would come towards us.
I was denied access to the first restaurant we tried to go to after we met.
"We don’t allow her kind in here."
I never wanted my skin colour to be different; I just wanted to be accepted for who I was.
How was my skin colour going to ruin their food?!
The Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act was repealed in 1985 and we were married in 1989.
Our mixed marriage continued to put us in the firing line of discrimination. I never thought our marriage would stand a chance; there were just so many ways in which we did not fit. Our age difference, our race, our language barrier and our religion was against us as a couple. Now 30 years later, I can truly only thank God for His grace and mercy.
We have two beautiful children; I gave birth to my son Brendan in 1990 and my daughter Amy in 1992. They are the best gift God could ever have given me. I tried my utmost to protect and fight for them, and to always speak only the best over them. I wanted them to have what I could not have growing up. I went to school with broken shoes or bare feet because we were eight brothers and sisters who all needed shoes.
My kids being barefoot is because they enjoy walking without shoes.
The isolation and rejection I often felt from my community to my new home was huge for me and lead to many nervous breakdowns. The culture shock was devastating. I grew up in a community where everyone is involved and connected. I had to adapt to this new white world.
Many times people questioned me on who my children’s father was or if I was really their mother. This hurt.
I reached a point where I felt my children would be better off without me. I thought at the time, that they looked like their dad and they live in a great community that's not ready for me. I was tired of feeling like I was disturbing the peace just by existing. The idea of ending my life grew heavy on my heart and I overdosed.
Today I believe whole–heartily that God walks a unique road with each and everyone one of us, whether we are willing or unwilling. This road may turn down many side-streets, but He stays close beside you, waiting to pick you up. I’ve lived a difficult life, and I’m thankful for the journey it's been, to be the happy person that I am today.
Adriana Glover’s book Die meisie van Bonteheuwel is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081ZD8VY4