We Should be Grateful

I am truly grateful to be living in South Africa. I realize that many of my white brothers and sisters don’t understand how lucky we are to be here.  They don’t realize that we were lucky enough to get out of apartheid with our lives, let alone our lifestyles.

If the black people had not been so wise and farsighted, we would have been driven into the sea or murdered on mass when apartheid ended. The atrocities and injustices suffered by black people by white hands are near endless and date back many centuries. Nonetheless, when apartheid ended our black countrymen let us continue to live among them, in their land, in peace and prosperity; a prosperity which they themselves were denied through apartheid and which the legacy of apartheid and colonialism continue to make very difficult for them to obtain.

I cannot begin to voice how grateful I am to the black people I live among. They are much more intelligent than they are given credit for.  They deserve heck of a lot more respect than they get. Whenever I see a white person being rude or arrogant to a black person for some petty reason, I feel like shaking them. “Wake up!” I want to shout in their faces, “Do you know where you are? Do you understand what they did for us after all we did to them?”

Sure South Africa is a land plagued with problems; a land whose history was too often written in blood. Nonetheless, it is a land to be proud of with a people who I am proud to call my countrymen.

It is important face to what is wrong with South Africa and its past that still haunts us. It is also important to build on what went right and to give credit where it is due. I for one am grateful that whatever South Africa’s problems are, I will face them with a people who have proven themselves to be more honorable and civilized than any western nations that I can think of.

Are there black people who are part of the problem? Of course there are but so what. There are plenty of white people who are part of the problem, too. Even these people, black or white, are human beings in need of guidance more than anything else. Until we start looking at each other as part of solution instead of part of the problem we will never be the kind of nation that South Africa once promised to be; the kind of nation that could be an example to the world. Meanwhile, I will continue to be grateful to be a South African and to live among a great people.

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Troydon Wainwright is a philosopher and Reiki Master based in Cape Town. Born with mild cerebral palsy and dyslexia, Toydon learnt to write as a way to overcome the barriers his dyslexia placed in front of him. “I wrote my way out of dyslexia,” said Troydon, “or at least to the point where reading and writing aren’t a problem anymore.” During the day he works as an educational facilitator (someone who helps special needs students cope academically and become more independent). At night he dedicates his time to writing. He has won a Nova award for his short story, The Sangoma’s Storm, and been a feature poet at the Off the Wall poetry readings in Cape Town and at Cape Town Central Library. Three of his poems were also included in the anthology Africa’s Best New Poets. He has also been published in the South African Literary journal, New Contrast. One of his Facebook posts, in which he took a stand against racism, has gone viral (http://www.troydonwainwright.com/when-love-went-viral/).

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