I wanted to share this little snippet that happened on my son's class camp a few weeks ago.
Towards the end of the camp my son's teacher was brought a form to fill in by the education centre's admin. It asked her to give the statistics for the racial make-up of the group. She looked at it distastefully and our guide apologised but said they were obliged by government regulations to keep records, presumably so they can make sure that "previously disadvantaged" groups are adequately represented.
Some of the nine-year old girls were hanging out with the grown-ups and were interested in the form, helping count up the numbers of black, coloured and white, boys and then girls. At one point one of the Xhosa girls reached a different total to the teacher and started naming each white boy that she had counted to make her total of four. My son and the twins who live at Camphill (a village community for slightly mentally disabled adults, down the road from us, with quite a group of the children of the co-workers living there), were counted off and then she added Danny to the list. Danny is the adopted son of one of the (white) Camphill house parents, his skin a dark brown, but he has grown up with the same cultural background as the twins and she saw him as white, even though his skin was no lighter than hers.
The teacher and I looked at each other, secretly thrilled that this pigeon-holing for the sake of statistics had been cancelled out by a child's perception of how things are.
It really seemed to illustrate that for our children's generation culture is more of a racial identifier than physical colour. It also give huge hope that our country can eventually become more unified as our children grow up and share their cultures with each other and a solid middle-class of all colours gives us a foundation on which to build.