White boyfriend challenged

February 26, 2010

By the time I was finishing high school I have developed strong anti-racism sentiments, and learned to see black peers as friends and equals. I would go into university quite sensitive to the strong undertones of racism in the first residence where I lived (Sonop), and very comfortable with the mixed racial environment at the second one (Taaibos).

But my transformation was not finished. I fell in love at this stage, and no, not to a black girl (not that that would have been a problem in my eyes). I fell in love with the girl that would years later become my wife: Maryke. In the early years of our relationship she challenged me in a number of ways, but the two I remember most clearly was:

  1. I learned from her that I couldn’t think of God as male. That this was a male construct (without her having any feminist training, she was just being a woman, and sharing the honest experiences of being a woman).
  2. Although my friendship with Tsidi teached me that black people was equals, I felt like I must be a racist when I met Maryke. She wasn’t only willing to have black friends and think in terms of equality. She was totally comfortable in relationships with black people. I knew black people. She seemed to know the name of every black girl in her year-group! She seemed to be colorblind!

In the years following she continued to challenge by just living a life of total and absolute equality. It was some of the most amazing experiences the few times I went to the movies of to functions with her friends. Catolic, Protestant, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist. White, Black, Indian, Oriental. Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Mandarin, and a host of other languages I don’t even know. All of this were found in a group of maybe 10 or 12 people. They weren’t making a statement, simply living life together, and finding more in common than that divided them.

Some of these friends still visit us from time to time, and we keep on being enriched by there uniqueness.


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