Photo Credit: Sydney Priester
Sydney, hailing from the state of Georgia U.S.A., reflects on her experiences in the local community. She staffs at YWAM Muizenberg, loves teaching God’s Word, and working in the community of Capricorn.
This weekend I went to a local fish and chips shop with a vibrant, spunky, nine year old girl. I am white. She is Coloured (an ethnic group in South Africa of possible mixed origins). It is hard to believe that before 1994 this outing would have been against the law. While sitting there in the beach side cafe, we saw a Xhosa family ordering lunch at the counter. She turned to me and said, “I think Xhosa people are so beautiful! They make the nicest rice and know how to cook pap out of mealies… Oh, pap will make you lekker fat!” For a minute or two, we mused about how wonderful Xhosa’s are; then she turned to me and said, “I like white people too; they are so nice.”
That comment deserves a pause.
Does she know that her father’s generation grew up under the iron fist of the apartheid regime? Does she know what white oppressors did to her people? Does she know during that time Black, Coloured, and Indian children grew up in fear of the white minority? Does she know her ancestors were corralled into segregated neighborhoods causing one of the largest mass removals in modern history? Maybe not now, but one day she will learn the scarred history of her nation.
One day as she walks through the streets of impoverished communities, she will recognize substance abuse and violence as the aftershock of apartheid. One day she will feel the effects of racial tensions festering under the surface. But for now, this beautiful little girl is untainted by resentment from the atrocities of the past. Her remarks at the fish and chips shop are proof that she is living in a different reality.
Despite bleak news headlines and widespread hopelessness, this little girl represents the hope that reconciliation is possible. She represents the future of this nation marked by the past yet moving forward with great stride. She represents the New South Africa, the rainbow nation, one whose beauty is reflected in its diversity.
“Sounds the call to come together, and united we shall stand,
let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land!”
The National Anthem of South Africa