Once upon a time, we were in the office talking with our white colleague (who had been retrenched the previous year and given R60k more in her package for no other reason apparent to me than the colour of her skin), when our Indian director walked in, she greeted this white colleague by name and pretended not to see the rest of us. Mind you, 3 of us were substantial in size and only one was petite. I mean I could understand if she couldn’t see the petite one.
Anyway, I have avoided writing about this for the longest time because I have already been accused of racism once. Let me tell you what had happened: That incident really pissed me off, because my then white boss simply repeated the words of the she devil who had been trying to paint me as a racist for the longest time.
We had just welcomed 4 new colleagues into the office and I suggested that we buy cake and welcome them properly but other people suggested that we go out for lunch and so I designed these cute invitations for them and at 1pm sharp, we went out to Nando’s and had a nice lunch with the newbies.
While we were out, this white lady decided to go looking in the newbies’ inboxes and found the lunch invitations. Mind you, this lady had never sat with us for lunch, nor had she ever ordered Nando’s ever before.
So when we returned from lunch, I was swiftly summoned to the white boss’ office and told off. She tried it!
Even after explaining the story of the cake and tea idea and that going to Nando’s wasn’t my idea, she insisted that I was a racist. I have been called many things in my life and have been on the receiving end and endured racism since varsity days, but being accused of racism by a director who gave white employees preferential treatment and paid them far better than their black counterparts really enraged me.
I cried and stormed off. And later decided to go out of the building and calm myself down before I blow up on a nun.
It wasn’t too long after that incident that I was diagnosed with heart failure. I spent a week in hospital and received reports that my impending death was already being celebrated in the office.
On my return I was told that my taking so many sick leave days wasn’t going to be tolerated and that I should lose weight urgently. Mind you, this person studied psychology not medicine, nursing, biochemistry, dietetics or anything remotely related to cardiology.
There are so many other incidents that I can recall, which makes my skin crawl.
White people in this country have and continue to belittle and dehumanize black people. Some Indian and coloured people (I have personal stories to back this up) continue to endorse the apartheid classifications and truly believe that blacks are inferior to them.
So on the 27th April, I see no point in celebrating freedom day because I still don’t have that freedom. Apartheid is alive in South Africa. Look at the payroll of your own organization. Even the church pays white people very well and oppresses black employees.
And we still believe that their white Jesus is real. If God is love and created me in His/Her image, why do you treat me differently to God’s other children? Is it your God’s plan for black people to suffer? I digress.
The anger an outrage by white people over the current lockdown is stirring up things I have tried so hard to suppress. Why are they acting like this lockdown is imposed on them alone? Our small businesses are also suffering. Our lives are also on a standstill and black smokers and drinkers are also inconvenienced. We also can’t buy Woolies chicken.
Not everything is about you. This is about all of us.