# I am not a stereotype

Mondli Makhanya’s article in City Press on 22nd March has really angered me.

I take complete offence at being dumped into a stereotype of White South Africa. What does that mean? Who exactly are you referring to? White Afrikaans? White English? White Jewish? Europeans who have immigrated here? Whites who voted for ANC? Whites who voted NP? Whites who voted Cope, Agang, DA? Whites born in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’, 90’s? The New Millennial’s? Who exactly? How dare you lump me because of my skin colour into a minority group of people.

The gulf hasn’t grown, it is being articulated. Quite a different thing and extremely healthy. With articulation comes consciousness and action follows.

We needed hope – black and white together to pull through the self-loathing on both sides into a new dawn. Thus Tutu’s rainbow nation and Mandela’s ability to inspire and attempt to rewire our imagination, our thinking, our humanity. Hope is needed to bring a fragile embryo into life.

We’re in out 21st year – the age one becomes an adult – and we’re beginning to speak out authentically as adults about what is real to us and what we feel.

It’s timeous. As a country it means we’re ready to address the wounds and complexities caused by years of colonialism and apartheid. We’re still just a young adult, which accounts for the screaming and shouting and lack of ability for kind dialogue.

People are seldom just bad. They’re usually a complex mix of grey. Most people have their heads down and are trying their level best to earn a good living for their families and bring their children up as best they can and find some semblance of meaning and contentment in their lives. South Africa is not a normal country to have been born into. And it is few people who have the courage to be the kind of activist who puts their life and their family’s life at risk. Read Gillian Slovo’s book ‘ Every Secret Thing, my family, my country’, a brilliant account of the reality of being an activist’s daughter and the reality of the life an activist endured and died for during apartheid.

I see the anger and thoughts of my black colleagues being expressed and its brilliant. It demands attention and debate and thinking. How do we solve the psychological wounds of the past? How do we move forward in a new way?

South African society is complex. It needs kindness and a mutual desire to understand the complex terrain we are negotiating in order to express ourselves and heal. It is no longer a skin problem, opportunities abound for all, redress is being attempted, but it is a problem of marred psyches. How do we heal these? How do we create bridges between ourselves? My belief is to meet each other authentically as human beings. To meet as people. To share our stories and simply listen. To acknowledge. To connect with our shared humanity, and then construct ways to move forward on the basis of this shared humanity.

 

 


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