Friday, October 18, 2013

Power of Color 2

Hello friends and family!
Recently I wrote about an experience relating to the Power of Color. It's been on my mind a lot and the fact that I am exposed to this visual divide in SA and that I am very much the minority here - keeps my curiosity and concerns at the forefront. 

Racial separation is very apparent in the places that I have visited thus far and it is evident in the conversations with my new friends. I am just beginning to understand the depth of pain and adversity that they are up against and I wonder - how different is this from home??   
As I move through this year, I'm sure I will discover much about myself - especially as it relates to thier struggles, and even more so as I build in relationships with others and as I grow as a person.   Documenting this growth will be a challenge.  I'll try my best to put into writing some of the prominent experiences that I have as it relates to this topic.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I have very limited access to send any emails, or get on  facebook etc... I go to the University of Limpopo (UL), which is about a 20-minute kombi ride from Masealama. Anyways, when I get to the University, there is a very gracious biochemistry professor,  Prof Moss, who allows me access to his office and to get  internet.  During my time in Moss’s office, I have met many of his current and former students, a few of which I have become friends. One of these friends is a graduated law student from UL, Ferdie.
I have spent a lot of time talking to Ferdie in Moss’s office and at choir practice. One day after choir practice we were talking and  I asked him about his law degree and what exactly he wanted to do with it.   He told me that he thinks he has to go back to school and get a different degree because,  in his words there was “not much future with it (his degree)”. I was puzzled because in my head anybody with a law degree is pretty intelligent and I haven’t heard much about the field of law not offering promising opportunities. So I asked him why, and his response was that in South Africa a good portion of the law firms are owned by whites and the fact that he was black and went to a rural, all black university meant that he would have a very slim chance of getting a job. I was stunned and so curious that I kept asking him questions about it. He could tell that I was interested and upset about what he was sharing, and he stopped me and asked “is everybody where you are from like you?”  I wasn’t expecting the question so he probably thought I was confused and he rephrased the question. “You are so accepting of blacks. Are all white people where you are from like that?”
I immediately got a pit in my stomach for two reasons. 
- First being that it made me emotional to think that he probably was so surprised at how I act around him because he has been treated so poorly by whites in the past.   

- The second reason  it made me upset was that if  I were to answer Ferdie, in complete honesty, the answer would be NO. The reality is that not everyone, I know, in America is practicing racial acceptance.
Ferdie certainly put things into perspective for me on this day. Not only did he make me more aware of the injustices here in SA, but he also made me remember that we have a long way to every part of the world.  I  can only hope and pray that my journey of accompaniment here will help me be a better friend and neighbor wherever I am.

“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,  as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” 2Corinthians 8:13-15


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Kel for sharing your revelation. Sometimes its so easy to jump on a situation that is so unjust because we, personally, would never think to treat someone in any less way than we would treat anyone else, but then we look around for a moment a realize that not everyone is like that and you're right, human discrimination in any way is still a huge global problem we are trying to overcome.