Growing up in South Africa
The South African Coloured community was born from the intermarriage of White settlers, African Natives, and Asian slaves, who were brought from the Dutch colonies of Asia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most coloureds worked as domestic servants, farm laborers and fisher-folk, but large numbers were also involved in the skilled trades.
Growing up, I didn’t try and figure out if I was black or white, I accepted my uniqueness and my source of identity. I wanted to break the stereotypical view people have for coloured people.
Being a youngster in post-apartheid, not fully understanding what happened in the previous years, I knew that the future was getting brighter and more positive for all South Africans. I was born into coloured community called Wentworth, based in the south of Durban. I learnt that although hard work can get you to succeed in life, another important key to success was education.
Wentworth is a community full of skilled men and women who worked all over the country to provide for their families. Welding was one of most popular trades that most took up post-apartheid. This gained the coloured community popularity for the skill. I learnt that South Africa is a rainbow nation with different race groups with unique cultures and beliefs which makes up our diverse country.
Social cohesion, reconciliation and peace are essential qualities needed to move forward with the diverse people in our country. I am proud to be born and living in this beautiful country as a united nation. I would not trade it to be anywhere else in the world. We were born into great opportunities that our ancestors did not have. We have access to all forms of education, entrepreneurial skills and access to public and private sector work.
At High School, I found applied mathematics and physical science very interesting. I selected Civil Engineering as my preferred work because I wanted to make a difference in the country and the quality of people’s lives. I knew that Civil Engineers are an integral part of society and without them we would have no Reservoirs, Pipelines, Dams or Buildings. Whilst this was not a common qualification to obtain in my community with some people thinking that I am being overly ambitious, I continued to push through with my studies, despite the financial difficulties.
Heritage Day 2020 will not be forgotten for this is the first time in history that all cultures will wear the same attire, the face mask has become the most important piece of clothing to wear before leaving the house.
COVID-19 did not see a race group or a skin colour, it geared us up to pull together as one nation and go into battle as a united country fighting the condition by obeying the call of the President and World Health Organisation. Today we are stronger than ever, reigning victorious in battle because united we can achieve anything. We are a strong nation with strong values and this has been proven in the last few months, this is our Heritage.