I was born in Nairobi, Kenya at a time when life was good for the white Colonialists of Africa. My Mother left a dark, bleak England after the Second World War for a better life in Kenya. Although my Father was born in Zimbabwe, he was from English stock.
People would probably call me a European, even though I don’t really feel like one. I was not born in Africa by my own choosing, but I can honestly say that today Africa is born in me.
It is the continent that feels like home and I have always loved its people, its diversity and its majesty.
As a child I was lied to by white people and never told the true history of Africa. In fact I learned English and European History at school. I feel cheated that I didn’t get to grow up alongside other races and learn their culture and their history.
I was attracted to Black people from a very early age. My parents employed a man who was our Housekeeper and I remember him very well, his name was Thomas, I may have mentioned him before. I could go so far as to say that I loved him more than my own Father. He had a very gentle spirit and an incredible sense of humour. He was a true gentleman. I never understood why he was relegated to a cold room outside our house. I was and am a privileged white person and have not known the sting of poverty or oppression, but I have seen it firsthand.
I would like people to know my story because although I grew up being taught prejudice, I have seen the light and reject racism or oppression of any kind.
When I was 20, I was living in Harare. I had just given birth to my first son and I was at home when Zimbabwe became independent. It was a joyous day and I went into town with my son in his pushchair to watch the celebrations. I then began seeing stories on TV about what kind of horror the Freedom fighters and their families went through in order to be recognised as a people who have a rightful say in their own country. I was mortified by the stories of mothers walking in the bush for days with babies defecating on their backs because they had no other choice and no resources to get help. While the security forces were flown out by helicopter when they were injured, the freedom fighters would die in the heat far from hospitals and loved ones.
I have also seen and read many stories about the atrocities done to people of South Africa in the name of apartheid and its evil laws. It should be part of the school curriculum, just like we learn about Nazi Germany.
This was a life changing moment and I was furious that I had been lied to for so long. The press as well as the Ian Smith Government made statements that were completely untrue. They said they were fighting Communism, but in fact they were fighting to keep white Supremacy.
I left Zimbabwe when my son was still young partly because my first husband wanted to leave and partly because we believed the lie that Communism was taking over.
I arrived in South Africa in the early 80s when there was a lot going on, but I had a young family and I didn’t follow the goings on of the Politics of the time. On looking back I realise that South Africa was a hot bed of racial division.
In Zimbabwe apartheid was not an official law, but there was definitely a division between white and black. White supremacy was rife. I just accepted what my parents told me as a child even though deep down I could feel it was wrong. I will say it again, I feel totally cheated not to have grown up having black or coloured friends in my class at school. It was never my choice to be segregated.
As the years have gone by I am honoured to have many Black and Coloured friends who have shown me a bit of their culture but I don’t know enough of their History as a people group. Something I would like to make right.
So my present Quest is to find out the real truth behind all the lies that I have been told.
I remember visiting Zimbabwe Ruins as a child and asking who built it, only to be told that they don’t know. My question today is “How could they not know!!!” Cecil John Rhodes faked History.
Do people realise how much History has been changed to make the Europeans look good and Africans look bad? The continent of Africa has been pillaged and looted. The people of Africa have been taken as slaves, exploited and dehumanised. Why are we so ignorant and remain so when there is a wealth of information to ingest and enlighten ourselves!!
In the year 2016, there seems to be a swelling of racist comment throughout social media, but there is also a wave of protest and a need for change. I want to be part of that change.
Remembrance Day is still observed more than 80 years after the war that changed mankind. Memorials and Holocaust museums are in existence today, to commemorate those affected by the evil done to them. Why is it that we must shove the atrocities done to a whole continent as well as evil laws like apartheid under the carpet? People have been irrevocably changed by slavery and oppression. One of the sayings that goes with Remembrance Day is “Lest we forget”. Perhaps we should adopt that very same expression to remember the evil that has been done to the people of Africa!!
I live in a small town where there is still segregation and it is abhorrent to me. People who live in Townships have been oppressed for so long that they no longer feel equal to white people. This is utter nonsense and must be eradicated at all costs. We should be doing everything humanly possible to change this legacy.
These beautiful People of the South were here long before us, this is their land. We are merely sojourners who should be thankful that they still tolerate us.
Yes, I was born in Africa, and I would like to stay and be part of her healing.