On my last trip to the Siyakhula Living Lab (the extended part at Nkwalini, not Dwesa), a bunch of teachers asked me what the secret of 'you white people' is, and why they are all so rich. My first rather off the cuff answer was that we eat differently - and to illustrate the point I reached into the plastic packet next to me and produced a cucumber and a green pepper. I offered these to the teachers and suggested they try them and see how sweet and wholesome these vegetables are. They actually did "like" them, but refused to have some more - perhaps they didn't want to deprive me of my lunch!
I didn't want to leave it at that though, and also told them about my parents who arrived in South Africa with two suitcases, an education and the will to work. Everything they now have, they had to work for and they owe it to their up-bringing and the education in ex-Soviet block countries. [*]
Because food matters, we are still looking for ways to get solar powered boreholes operating at Nkwalini to water vegetable gardens that will feed the scholars. Fresh food during the day would change their lives.[*] No-one mentioned apartheid, luckily, still an uncomfortable topic for me. I would probably have reasoned as follows: Did they gain through apartheid? In the short term, yes. Were they discriminated against by their immigrant status? Again, yes. Migrant living is difficult for people who appreciate family life, and my parents struggled. Ultimately apartheid has helped nobody, because material wealth can only do so much in a destabilised environment. And part of what we are doing at eKhaya ICT is an attempt to make good some of the wrongs that were perpetuated across hundreds of years of discrimination.
May 21st 2009 07:42