This is a more controversial post than I’m generally used to writing and I know there will probably be people who have nasty things to say but it’s constantly on my mind so fuck it…
I need to give you a little background first though : I was born in Cape Town but raised in Namibia, so even though I grew up in a period where apartheid was still a thing here I wasn’t actually exposed to it. I lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone and we were all pretty chilled. I used to walk several km’s from our house to school and home every day, I walked to all my friends houses and there was hardly ever any worry. I only remember my mom freaking out once, I must have been in first grade and I took a different route home so it took me twice as long. When I was about 10 my parents divorced and my mom got involved with my stepfather. So it’s been 19 years of exposure to Nazi conditioning, to a swastika on the bar wall, to daily bombardments of white superiority. To all extents you’d think I’d buy into this but thankfully somehow I’ve managed to escape this to a point. I can’t say I’m not 100% racist because who isn’t to some extent. I don’t believe anyone is more or less just because of color. I do believe that ignorant people are less human. Anyway, that’s my backstory.
Fysh made a friend recently – G is French and he’s not white which means he will never be allowed at my stepdad’s house and we avoid speaking about him because I really don’t need him to go off on a tangent but he is here daily and Fysh waits for him and if we’re out he always asks if we’ll be home in time for when G finishes school. On Saturday G invited him to a party, his older brother’s birthday. I was a little uneasy about this simply because I haven’t met G’s parents yet and of course it’s not HIS birthday it’s his brothers and I don’t know what their opinions are of the younger ones inviting friends to the older one’s birthday. But G came around on Saturday to fetch Fysh so I took it that his parents had given him the go ahead. Yes I was still a little nervous but this kid is well mannered and really polite, he always comes to say hello and always says goodbye, he actually calls me mama hahaha and anyone with manners like that has to have decent parents. So I dropped them off at his house and we happened to arrive at the same time the birthday boy was getting back from the shops, again a really polite young man (fuck I sound old) who said he’d keep an eye on Fysh.
I left them and of course I was paranoid. This isn’t Lüderitz and clearly I’m more protective and overbearing than I thought I was. But I drove away knowing that if anything was anything Fysh would contact me on his Doki. When I went to pick him up about 3 hours later he hardly said hello, instead he waved and ran off with the kids to the jungle gym.
The plan was just to meet the parents, say hi and introduce myself and head home. This did not happen…
Instead I was ushered inside, given a seat on one of the sofa’s and handed a plate of food. The little flat was packed and I don’t know how they fit so many people in but there wasn’t one sullen face. Not a drop of alcohol at all and everyone was laughing and smiling. They of course are all French (although they also spoke English) so I didn’t understand most of what was going on half the time but there was constantly someone by my side making sure I wasn’t awkward and to translating anything that was hilarious or interesting. You know that saying about the token white person. That was me. And despite the French and things it was honestly the least awkward I have ever felt around strangers. There was no pretentious smiles or awkward conversations, there was no need to get liquored up for the party to start. There was cake being smeared on the birthday boys face as apparently tradition, and because they’re in a complex the kids got to run around and play despite it being dark.
We ended up leaving around 9 after baby cuddles with the sweetest little girl, so much laughter my abs hurt and so full of boiled potatoes and noodle salad that I was worried I’d have to be rolled home.
It’s the most comfortable I’ve felt in a group setting. And I am so glad that even though Fysh has also grown up around Hitler he has no prejudice and that he has made friends with such an amazing bloody family who’s accepted him as part of their own already :)