Culture Stories Tragic


“Freedom Yes, Apartheid No!” “Freedom, YES, APARTHEID NO!”

I was only 6 years old when I saw the people in downtown Dallas rallying around city hall. My mother was there for an abortion protest, but my Dad had gone to drop her off and there were all these people shouting out, “Freedom, Yes, Apartheid, No.” The word meant nothing to me, sounded like nothing I’d ever heard and I couldn’t break it up into syllables and further discern it’s meaning – but now I am fully educated in Apartheid and I understand the struggles that black Africans went through in order to be treated as equals in their own land.

Apartheid only ended in 1994 after years of racism and segragation. In Africa, blacks had a curfew and had to carry around pass books in order to move about freely during the day. At any time a police officer could stop you and ask to see your pass book and if you didn’t have one you could go to jail.

There were separate eating sections for black in restaurants and separate stores for them to shop in. It was a type of legal segragtion.

Like any law, when it was put into practice it probably made perfect sense at the time.

Many black Africans were part of these savage tribes that were extremely volatile and would not tolerate each other. One of the largest tribes that still exists today is the Zulus. These were some of teh fiercest and most feared warriors and even as a kid I remember the name – Shaka Zulu. Shaka was one of the greatest rulers ever of the Zulu empire and his “influence still casts a long shadow over Zulu history today.” (Wikipedia)

After reading a book called RAGE by Wilbur Smith I was able to better understand not only Apartheid, but the cruelty of segragation and slavery. What is more, I started to become proud of my African heritage for the first time in my life.

If you dig into the history of African people you see that they were some of the greatest warriors, hunters, trackers that ever lived. They killed lions with spears and hunted down elephants and shot them with bows and arrows that you had to use your entire body to shoot. Elephants have such thick skin that in order for the arrow to kill then they would construct these bows that you would hold with your feet and then pull the string back with two hands and while lying on the ground just ten feet away they would shoot an arrow the size of a spear and pierce the elephants heart.  All of this would be down wearing nothing but a loincloth over rough terrain and unbelievable heat.

I can’t imagine being one of these brave, proud warriors and then having some man, a white man of the likes that I had never seen, come into my village with a gun that made a sound that I had never heard and then chain up and drag me and my family away after having killed many.

Anger and fear and rage, the emotions that these people must have felt. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror.

I think many African Americans are still ashamed and trying to overcome the stereotypes and the racism that still exists in America today, but that is party our educational systems fault. We are taught about slavery and emancipation, but we aren’t educated about how the Africans were kidnapped from their homes and their babies were murdered.  We aren’t told about the sexual abuse or the fact that humans were treated worse than animals.

I think that if all Americans were given a history lesson and took a moment to learn more about all the people of the world and where they have come from, then maybe we would have a new respect for our brothers and sisters. We wouldn’t make fun of the way some people talk, we’d delight in it. We’d be in awe of African Americans who excel at more than just sports.  We wouldn’t talk about our Indian gas station owners in a negative way and we wouldn’t make racist jokes about hispanics and landscaping.

We all have a story, people should take the time to hear it.

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