Happy national heritage day everyone!
By which of course, I mean happy national braai day. And no, I'm not kidding.
In South Africa meat has its own holiday. And the braai is indeed what the word heritage boils down to for many South Africans. Since of course there are things in the past not so many people want to be reminded of.
And not something someone's forefather or elder was somehow party to, but what they themselves experienced, committed, or witnessed.
It's only been fifteen years since the reign of apartheid terror came completely to an end, so I guess kudos for finding something everyone most people and the media can agree on?
I wonder how the guy I know, who used to be a police officer during apartheid, is celebrating today?
Sometimes, when I actually step out of that front door, look around, and talk to people, I'm blown away by the past of this exquisitely beautiful country. By the sheer horror that went on when I was more concerned about whether or not I would be allowed to go to that dance at school and if so, what on earth would I wear. The past smacks me right across my face when I suddenly find myself in a discussion about "shooting monkeys", and then kicks me more when I'm already down from the sheer power of those words to knock the wind out of me by telling me that I wont ever understand because I'm an outsider, and that apartheid wasn't as bad as the media made it out to be.
Sometimes the past just pinches me so quickly that I'm not even completely sure what has happened. Like when I'm confronted with a racist slur by a sales person who sees me as an ally in the face of black customers and I really just want to think I misunderstood, or like when someone, with a completely straight face, argues that "at least during apartheid the hospitals worked," and me saying "yes, for a miniscule part of the population," over and over doesn't seem to sway anyone.
There is so much good in this lovely country that I want to very much celebrate today, but sometimes, I just find it the hardest task of my day to put out of my mind what the reality here was for many, and almost still is for some people.
History, Could you leave me be for a while. Just for a little while. Just to play a round of golf and eat some lamb and drink some wine. And laugh.
Pay here for inclusion I
1 year ago