A few things on my mind

The best of both worlds…but it’s still white

Posted on: February 4, 2014

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A day before I went back to work, I went to my friend’s house for lunch to try squeeze out the last bit of our holiday. You know once back at work – there is no more time for leisurely lunches – even on weekends.

So as I am about to leave she says to me in Sesotho “Oh back to work, to go speak English, write in English, hell think in English” While watching TV that night – my welfare channels aka SABC, eTV and Soweto TV – I noticed that all the black people speak English – even on programmes that are predominately targeted at the black population.

 Back at work – I overheard a conversation between two of my colleagues – and the one said “If it is the last thing I do, I will teach you Afrikaans” And then during drinks on Friday – we were sitting 10 of us (9 black and 1 white) and as would be expected, we started speaking in vernacular, to which our white colleague said “Guys I am here” to which we apologised and duly went back to speaking English.

Looking around I thought – I have white friends that I have known for twenty years, some of my closest white colleagues I have known for over 6 years and none of them have ever greeted me in Sesotho. What is this democratic South Africa we make reference to?   

As we are about to celebrate 20 years of our democracy, our freedom and transformation and economic inclusion – hope you can see that I am using all the buzz words – how included and transformed is this country? This transformation and inclusion is legislated – there are policies that we have to implement, quotas that have to be reached. However, unlike learning my language if it’s not legislation – don’t worry about it. No one is doing it just because it is the right thing to do.

Our transformation and inclusion seems to have come with the same conditions as buying an insurance policy. A grudge purchase, but you know you have to have it. And just like an insurance policy, you don’t have to know it well; just enough to make sure what it can get you. You will never bother to get intimate knowledge of its workings, and if it does not work out – take it or go.  

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