There is no easy way for me to bring Light to the following observation I am experiencing here in South Africa; post-apartheid apartheid. I am so very uncomfortable discussing this topic because I am aware of my privilege as a Caucasian, middle-class American woman. To be honest, I believe that everyone is privileged in their own way but this is for each of you to decide for yourself. To continue, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and have been searching for the right words to fully express my concern, insight and feelings.
Part of the reason I have had a difficult time sharing the observed segregation is because I don’t want it to take away from the beauty of this land and peoples. The vast surroundings of landscape are breathtaking. And the peoples here are gentle, shy and respectful. So, as you continue to read this, please find a way to respond with compassion and not react with anger.
The vast surroundings of landscape are breathtaking.
And the peoples here are gentle, shy and respectful.
It's only been 25 years since apartheid ended in South Africa. It's been about 150 years in America since slavery was outlawed and almost 50 since passage of the civil rights acts and we still have a long way to go. I guess irrational hate dies slowly.
The restaurants are segregated throughout Cape Town, except for one that I know of (there could be more but after speaking to locals it seems as if there really is only one well-known “mixed” restaurant where all of South Africa’s ethnic groups dine together). The ethnic groups in South Africa are categorized by Coloured (a person of mixed European “white” and African “black” or Asian ancestry), Black African, White South African, Asian and Other/Unspecified. The servers (again from my observation) are mostly Black Africans while management tends to be White South Africans. Due to the hiring laws here it seems as if there has to be a higher percentage of Black African employees vs. White South African employees. This is apparently creating a quickly growing Black African middle-class even though South Africa is definitely behind times in regards to equality.
I guess irrational hate dies slowly.
Unlike the governments in the other South African provinces, Western Cape is mainly constituted by men who ruled under apartheid. This is probably one of the leading reasons for the lack of progress.
My rule of thumb when discussing an issue is that there needs to be a reasonable suggested solution. While I don’t believe I can chime in on how to evolve an entire country from segregation I do see that everyone seems to be working towards a life that has been created by a patriarch system. A system that frankly is absurd and detached from the greater meaning of life. Instead of us, as a whole, working towards materialistic hierarchy, why aren’t we building communities based on the elements and a deeper understanding of African roots? Black Africans have an indescribable essence and connectedness to Mother Earth and the Divine. How can we support our brothers and sisters towards creating a life for themselves instead of telling them that they need to live a life created out of a patriarch system?
This is what I am pondering as I spend my days in Africa. This experience is shedding Light onto how every action has a reaction. How our words carry so much meaning. And what changes we each can make in order to support and uplift those around us. As I always say, we are all in this together.