I have a pretty good relationship with the two boys who I used to baby sit when they were in diapers. They rock up at my house with about 8 of their mates, average age, about 16.
We had lunch outside in the garden and the boys were hanging around talking teenage speak and just chilling. After a while I went to join them and I was amazed. The group consisted of two white boy brothers with an Indian surname, two black boys, one who spoke fluent Afrikaans, two Jewish brothers, an English white boy and an Afrikaner white boy.
The thing that made me stare open mouthed at their interaction was the fact that it was completely natural. The Afrikaans white boy and the fluent-in-Afrikaans black boy communicated with such ease it was a lovely thing to behold. Apparently they grew up together on a farm just outside of Johannesburg. The Jewish kids came from a divorced family and dad’s new girlfriend can’t stand them. They each have matching BMWs and are equally happy to be away from Dad and new chick.
The English white-boy has hippy parents and he has been an entrepreneur since he was a kid, apparently trading in lizards and other creepy reptiles. There are columns and opinions everyday about the negative aspects of our rainbow nation and I generally choose not to waste my energy contemplating them or even reading them.
Watching this group of “brothers” bonding and sharing life in this nascent new South Africa of ours filled me with such hope and joy. I have no illusions that our country will still suffer many trials before we settle down, the Free State university issue being a case in point. But as long as we have groups of positive energy like this floating around, I think we’ll be okay in the long run.
Because as we know, this was as far-fetched a pipedream as they come when you and I were kids.
I wonder though, is this the norm, or the exception? Surely these bonds of brotherhood will continue through the years so that when these chaps are in positions of power, in business or government, their experience will be brought to bear? Or did they slip something into the salad that day and I was just seeing things? Viva Rainbow Nation Viva!
What do you think? Have you had a similar experience?
Read more by Marlon Abrahams