Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Growing up in South Africa
Ryan, the son of our coloured gardened/farm worker drew it a few days ago and I grabbed it to photograph to share with you. He goes to school with our children, his fees paid by a sponsorship fund we’ve just set up, and he spends most weekday afternoons here playing with them, until his father finishes work. Our children look on him as an extra member of the family by now – he gets invited to all their birthday parties. It is taken for granted, even if the girls are only inviting other girls for the main part. He’s an honorary brother.
In the picture he has drawn our son as the leader, then himself, followed by the two girls, all armed to the teeth off on some perilous adventure. What I like about it is that they are all the same shade of brown: he sees them as the same as himself, until he made a belated attempt to give Youngest light coloured hair – a dawning recognition of a difference, but only as an afterthought.
It reminded me of another illustration of how our children perceive colour these days, using it as a descriptive term rather than a racial pigeonholing, and saying that a friend is 'light brown' or 'dark brown', rather than 'black' and 'coloured', which are the racial identifiers used by the adult world around them. To them it's just another physical characteristic like hair or eye colour and I hope they never have this perception clouded as they grow up.
I’m sure together they will vanquish the mysterious fire that is engulfing the tree and any dragons that lurk off- stage and stride victorious into a new world that they claim for themselves.