Recently I spoke to a mate who studied in China and then the UK when I was also at university there. We’ve both been back for the same amount of time and it seems as much as we love our home country, we realise that there’s that big struggle of race. The mate I am mentioning here is a white woman. She said to me, “In South Africa politics is in your face, race is in your face, inequalities that are a result of race are in your face.”
I am a black man and I realised in UK middle class societies that I found myself in, my race didn’t matter to a lot of people. I was once in a casual conversation with two women who were convinced I was British, they never mentioned my race but were trying to find ways to prove that I am in fact British and South African. These were white women. Their race is important because I am writing this in South Africa where race seems is the “thing” that people judge you on before they realise that you are South African, a good television producer, Zulu and are a generally nice guy. Yep you are black first in South Africa and as a result you have to predominantly interact with other black people and there will be certain perceptions made about you when people meet you for the first time, before you open your mouth.