Tag Archive: rainbow nation

My good friend Sammi Taylor has written for my blog a number of times, the most popular being a glimpse into her story of Singleness and one of my favourites being how she wrote her ‘What I’d like my married friends to know’ piece. But today she is sharing about someone she knows in South Africa, who she has seen doing things that give her hope:

I was a teenager in the 80’s. I was a teenager when apartheid was in effect. I was in Matric when we had our first referendum vote. And I was ignorant of most politics. Life was mostly good and happy. I danced, listened to hair metal and spent many hours practicing for plays and shows with my friends. I was mostly ignorant and oblivious. This was true for most of my friends as we grew up in middle class white families and went to white schools with white teachers and most media did not show what was happening in our country. During this time and while being involved with a high school play that included our brother school Selbourne College, I met and became friends with a group of young guys. One of these friends was a boy named James. James was not ignorant or oblivious even though he came from a white middle class family, went to a white school and had white teachers.


I got to know that James was interested in politics. That James’s family was politically active and that he had a passion for justice and the future of our country.

Being kids, this was just something I was aware of. I didn’t ask questions or have deep conversations. My memories of this time are of parties and laughing backstage at concerts and being very confused about the math homework they were doing which looked like nothing we were being taught at the time.

So many years later after meeting another group of young people through a dance and drama ministry team in 1994 and becoming a lot less ignorant and oblivious to what was happening in our country and of course the invention of the world wide web and Facebook, I reconnected with my young friend James.

There is so much negativity amongst our generation regarding SA at the moment and where we are going that it was refreshing to see that someone I knew as a young boy had not lost his passion for our country. After obtaining a law degree and working and travelling abroad, he had returned to SA and is actively involved in community based projects that benefit from funds raised by conducting responsible tours of these previously disadvantaged areas.

Uthando is the name of the organization he created to explore unique and innovative methods of linking tourism and community development projects. As a result of these initiatives, Uthando has won numerous local and international awards, most notably the 2012 Winner of the Skal International Sustainable Development in Tourism Award – category Cities-Villages, the 2013 Cape Town Tourism Responsible Tourism Award as voted by local and international companies in the tourism industry and The Best Charitable Organisation in Africa by the Good Safari Guide in 2014 and 2015. In addition, The Philanthropic Travel Experiences offered by Uthando have been recognized by Trip Advisor with a Certificate of Excellence in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Uthando South Africa is a unique model for traveller’s philanthropy, providing local and international tourism businesses (e.g. tour operators) with a reliable and trustworthy mechanism to implement their social investment programmes. This newly FFTSA (Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa) certified initiative showcases beneficiary projects to travellers in an authentic and sustainable way, further increasing prospects for fundraising and other forms of assistance for these projects. Uthando South Africa currently supports and/or is developing a programme of support for over 25 community projects in Cape Town (with additional projects identified in the KwaZulu Natal midlands); these are focused on a diverse range of social issues ranging from female prisoner rehabilitation and refugee education to urban agriculture, youth development, care for the elderly, care for children and orphans, HIV/AIDS, care and education for disabled people, arts and culture and rural development, to mention a few.

According to Katie Goldstein who listed Uthando as the no.6 of the top 10 things to do in Cape Town: To experience the Townships created as living areas for non-whites during Apartheid, but are still home to a vast amount of the population today, do a half-day experience with Uthando whose tours are authentic, uplifting, and non-invasive. Uthando’s profits go to help raise funds for community development projects in South Africa. In addition to learning about the country’s tumultuous past, you’ll be inspired by the incredible work being done to move forward.

James has a deep sense of compassion and a firm belief in the urgency of profound and dramatic change in the paradigm of our human society and this hasn’t changed from the young boy I knew.

I love Facebook…when I see James’s updates on his projects and his joy and pride in the communities he serves I am given hope that South Africa has a bright future when people like James are involved.

To find out more, visit:



Responsible Travellers’ Oct-Nov issue

[For the next story of someone giving hope in South Africa, click here]

Who is someone that you see doing something positive in South Africa that gives you hope? Drop me a line at brettfish@hotmail.com ad let’s talk about how you can get there story on here


rainbow i have loved the conversations happening on my blog with regards to matters of Race recently. A lot of the posts are specific to South Africa, but i imagine there are themes, ideas and principles that will translate to other contexts around the world and it will be good to get some outside voices as it were to comment as well. What has been particularly exciting to see has been the spirit of engagement that has taken place in the comments sections as people with clearly differing views have looked to listen and address what is being raised and queried without letting it become personal or aggressive. i thought it would be helpful to create a home page specifically focusing on ways of moving forwards so that these conversations are easier to find and jump into. So please look around and more importantly dive in and get involved – we want to hear your voice. But please play nice. Let’s wrestle but with open minds and the possibility of hearing and learning new things and ways as we try and figure out this New South Africa together. As we seek to build a truly Rainbow Nation:

A Practical Way Forward – We invited some friends round for dinner and a conversation on race, location and boundary.

Time to Lose the Other – i think this is one of the most important conversations we need to have in SA: Us vs. Them

First Steps Towards a  really New South Africa: Nkosi Gola gives some thoughts on the question, ‘What can white people do as first steps towards making a difference?’

First Steps in the New South Africa – Sindile Vabaza tackles the same question with some different perspective and a really exciting way of viewing the future.

Steps Towards Transformation – Hulisani Khorombi steps into the conversation and shares some of her thoughts.

A Look at Employment Equity – Sindile Vabaza talks through this one example of things to consider when pushing ahead

Inching closer to a Changed South Africa – hear some thoughts from Michael Talbot on his journey of listening and questioning

Some thoughts on Restitution – Avuyile Tu from Khayelitsha shares some ideas on this important topic

10 Important things for the Rainbow Nation to hear – Busi Ledibane shares some of her thoughts on things that need to change

[For other conversations on different aspects of the Race question, click here]


As a nation we are celebrating 20 years of democracy and while there is still a lot that has to be done in this country of ours that bears the horrible scars of Apartheid, I am still proud that we are here. It means something because at least we are not where we used to be.

There are still many conversations that still need to be had, of course and the sooner we get talking, the better. Like with the whole race thing. I’m glad we are talking about it. We need to because quite frankly, I get peeved by South Africans hiding behind their Twitter handles and the comment sections of News 24 articles to air their views about race. If you want to say something, say it now because after 20 years, we really should not still be here, where race is still a thing that divides us. I don’t want my children to grow up in a place like that.

So, here are a couple of things I would like to say about race. Yes, I am one of those people. I talk about it freely, not to be racist but to show that I’m not going to be held captive by something that stupid. This is not for one particular race group but for all race groups, hence I don’t want it titled “Things I want my white friends to know.” These are things that everyone should be aware of and start working towards.

With all of that said, I would like to state that I am no expert on race so some of the things I say, you may not agree with and that’s fine. The reason we’re doing this is to get a conversation started so let’s do it:

1) There has been much said about white privilege and people saying that white people must agree that it is indeed a thing. And then of course, there have been white people who have been hurt and offended by these comments, taking it as a way of trying to make them feel guilty. You’ve read all those and honestly, I think we all need to sit around a fire and have that conversation soon. Right now however, I’m going to put a different spin on it.

I am not so much bothered by the fact that many white people are privileged because of Apartheid as much as I’m bothered by people of colour who treat white people better because they are white. I don’t know how many white people are aware of this, but you do know that the colour of your skin generally gets you better service/treatment right? And this is not your fault. I don’t want you to feel bad about it.

What I am trying to say is, people of colour who treat me like I’m less of a human being and then jump to help the white person hurt my feelings. The security guard in the super market or clothing store who follows me around when I’m just looking around. The beggar who treats me like I’m not there while asking my white friend for a R2. And the guy who rings the doorbell and when Mrs Radebe goes to open the gate, asks her where her madam is when it’s her house.

I get that it is a mindset, but I hate it. Maybe you want to talk about white people needing to admit their privilege, but I want the mindsets of people who still regard the white man as “baas” even though they won’t verbalize it to change.

2) The reason I started off with wanting to challenge the mindsets of people who are not white is actually because I am also just sick and tired of the belief that only white people are racist and black (or all non-white) people thinking that it’s okay to say racist things against white people. It’s not. We must never tolerate racism no matter which side it is coming from. Honestly, I feel like we as non-white people can sometimes let a lot of negative things said about white people slide when we would probably speak up if a white person said the same things about a black person.

3) This one is linked to number 2. Hey, white people, you are not racist! Okay, wait, what I mean is that you’re as racist as all other race groups. You, just like everybody else, are allowed to say, “black people.” You may think that calling us African is more politically correct, but it’s kinda not… because most of you reading this are probably South African…born and bred and that makes you Africans… Yeah.

4) “You’re well-spoken.” I can take that after I’ve just done a class presentation or speech. I just can’t take it when I can tell that you’re trying to work out if I’m adopted or wealthy. By the way, I’m neither.

5) While we’re on the topic, what is with black people hating on black people who went English medium schools and therefore speak English differently and have friends of all race groups? We don’t actually think we are better than you and we hate how you are always making us feel like we are not black enough. We are not trying to be black nor are we trying to be white. We are just trying to be ourselves.

6) And to the same people, I would also like to say, my dating a white man doesn’t actually mean I’ve achieved something great.

And also, what is with people who think that someone dating outside of their race is breaking some code? They are not. They are following their heart.

Too often I hear about things like black women saying mean things about the black guy who is dating a non-black woman. Like, why must you do that? He loves her and he is under no obligation to choose you. So nicely, I ask you, please get over it.

We need to stop looking at people from different race groups being together as something special or worse, something disgusting.

We need to stop looking twice or feeling the need to comment.

7) There is a colour hierarchy and it needs to become a thing of the past. I’m not going to write further on this point. You know it. You just pictured it in your mind.

8) Here’s another thing that needs to stop: associating certain accents with stupidity. There isn’t one South African accent, there are several and I don’t see why we should think it funny when someone doesn’t speak like a white English-speaking South African. Why should they?

9) Question: How much longer are non-black people going to avoid going into townships?

10) Finally, I would to say that, while we engage in this conversation of race, one thing we must always remember is that there is always someone who has to go through hardships because of the colour of their skin.

As much as white people need to be aware of their privilege, so should non-white people be aware of the fact that poor white people exist and are often ignored and unreached by the government.

Non-black people must be aware of the fact that it’s sometimes tough being black because even people from your own race group will assume you’re a criminal.

We should be aware of the fact that there is a coloured guy out there who is trying to prove himself to his white girlfriend’s family because they assume that all of the negative things associated with coloured culture are his lived reality too and therefore he cannot be good enough for their daughter.

We need to be sensitive to one another and realise that this conversation is not going to be an easy conversation to have. Some things will hurt because the truth hurts and some will hurt just because they do, but just because it’s not going to be comfortable, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

We are a country that avoided civil war in the early 90’s. We stepped into freedom through a blood-less transition. We can get through this.


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