Saturday, January 29, 2011

Whites only? No, the only whites

I had to smile.

"What, if I may ask, are you doing at a Muslim birthday party?", a
congregation member asked when she bumped into us at Zita park. "It's
not a Muslim birthday party, it is little Nawaal's birthday party.",
I corrected her. Yes, Nawaal is Muslim. Will I try and convert her
and her family. Absolutely not. That is another conversation all
together. Nawaal and Matthew are friends at school. It just so
happened that Matthew was the only white child who came to celebrate
her birthday with her. We were the only white parents. It really did
not bug us. We have been the only whites at many different functions
and celebrations. But I could see the older generation were not too
comfortable with us there. We had a wonderful time, chatting to
friends like Lee-Anne, who told us about growing up in Cape Town.
Just then our conversation was abruptly interrupted by a white
hooligan harassing a black child near the swimming pool. He went off
pop, overreacting to this child accidentally bumping into his
precious child on the waterslide. Lee-Anne came to her rescue and
confronted this bully. On her return she told us: "He betta be
careful, I'm from Mitchell's Plain. I'm a township-girl. I'm not
scared of him." The elderly gentleman sitting near us mockingly
suggested that he'll "sommer go fetch my knife from the car". He
really was joking. Then we laughed at how people get stuck in racial

I am grateful that my children have friends from every different
racial group in South Africa. I must add that there are very few
whites among them. Does it bother me? Not in the least. They must
have friends from different cultures. Embracing diversity helps us
see beyond our own boundaries. By them having friends who are from
other cultures and races, they help is make (more) friends across
racial lines as well. We learn from our children.

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