Black Short Stories : the colour of my skin

Discussion in 'Short Stories - Authors - Writing' started by simunyaa, Jul 8, 2003.

  1. simunyaa

    simunyaa Member MEMBER

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    The Colour of my skin

    The first time I have seen a white person was at my grandpa’s funeral. Or lets say rather the first time when I realized that I have a white person in front of me. He looked so very pale, white, like the coffin’s cloth.
    And suddenly there are a lot of memories: Playing with the neighbour’s children. My grandmother packing her stuff. My grandmother waving when her boat left the harbour of Xhai Xhai. My father, my mother arguing. My mother leaving. Leaving to the country they called home.
    Then my father also left. To South Africa.
    Certainly he took good care of me. I was living with Isu and her mother, her sisters and brothers than. Often, though it always seemed to be a long while passed, my father came to visit me. To see him this little did not only make me sad but I was extremely disappointed since I felt so all alone. Still, somehow it was a nice time. Not nice in a way of having fun. However, it influenced me a lot and really made me the person I am today.
    What bothered me most was that dad never told me what he is doing in the country on the other side of the river. He only said that he is busy assembling the rainbow. It took me quite a while to understand. However, when I did I knew that he never did disappoint me and neither leaved me alone really. Without knowing he fought against what I had to face only few years after his death in my own country: racial harassment.

    I must have been about seven years old when there were great changes in this strange country in the north were my mother and grandmother had gone to. The wall broke down. The wall…? I didn’t know what that meant. But my father got very exited when he heard the news. This was the first time somebody sat down with me and I was told about history and politics. In Germany, in South Africa, in Zimbabwe.
    For him it was like a dream becoming true. For him it mend that two groups of people, separated by the hash cuts of history, can be joined together to form a nation.
    If I look back now the most paining about his death is that he never had the opportunity to see this becoming reality in South Africa. Not long before the last Apartheid laws where abolished he died in a street fight in Soweto.

    I don’t know whether the attitude of the people soon afterwards changed or whether his death made me more sensitive to feel the negative vibe a raising against me in the village of my origin.
    Probably the successful struggle for freedom in South Africa was one of the causes for a change in mentality. The black Zimbabweans wanted to feel equal to the rich white farmers. They wanted to enjoy the fruits of their hard work and their land which was taken from them by the former colonial power Britain and given to high war veterans. Even when the country got independent in 1980 those whites still had great influence. Not in politics, however, they were in charge of the most important good of the land: wheat.
    The situation got worse when people started realizing that even in South Africa there were no wonders happening. No quick changes in the economic situation of black people had been happening. Even ten years after the end of apartheid only 6% of the land formerly reserved for whites only ( 87% of the whole area of the country) were given to some of those 78%, who were regarded as subhuman before since the colour of their skin was a little too dark.

    I can remember a day when Isu and I were going to fetch water at the riverside. Carrying the bowls on our heads we walked down the main road to bring Isu’s mum to cook our food. Already long before we reached home we could see that she had already started to make the fire in front of the house. We hurried up which is not the easiest thing to do with such a heavy load.
    There he was. Takai, a boy I knew from school. ”You! Whity! Don’t you think that it is now also time for you to go back home?”
    “Yes, you are right. And that is exactly where I am off to. As you know we stay down the road.” We wanted to pass.
    “Don’t fool me! You really think that you are still our boss. I want you to realize that my people are in charge over the whole continent now and there will be a day where we will drive all of you white bastards out!”

    I felt very bad afterwards, undescribable. If I did not only feel the hate in his words but also the building truth behind it, I think I would not have been able to sleep any night after.

    However, the time went on and with it the helplessness of the Mugabe’s government grew. They wanted to give land to blacks but had no money to buy from the white farmers. The former colonial power England refused help. The reason: Zimbabwe is not a British issue any longer. Had they helped that time the whole disaster for all the people in Zimbabwe would never have happened. But when the killings of white famers started the only answer the North had was to put up sanctions which made the situation of everybody worse and with it the mood against whites in the country.

    I do not want to tell you about the harassment, about how it was like to not be able to go out on the street without feeling the wrongs done to a people over ages by others who looked somehow like me.
    I do not want to tell you not only because I wont be able to find the right words but also because I find much more important to give honour to the ones who stayed by my side. In public or in secret. Zoe and Sheikh, my two bodyguard in school. Toto, a middle aged handicapped man, who was always sharing tears when he saw some of the boys of the village beating me up. Many, many how kept on greeting me with a smile on their face. Some, who put fruits and sweets in my bag without anyone noticing it. (People I know who you are!)
    Most of all, obviously, I have to thank my adoptive family. They were bearing at least the same havy load of harassment, of ugly words and also physical pain. When I came home crying they cheered me up. When I came home bleeding they healed my wounds. When I lost hope they gave it back to me. And during all that there was never complaining. Just many, many tears.

    I guess deep in our souls all of us knew that there will be a day on which I will have to leave. And it came. It was a rainy Thursday when my youngest brother, Robert, who was nine that time, did not return from school. All my family and some close friends went out to look for him. When we finally found him he was in a terrible condition. We brought him home and called a doctor. While everybody else was praying for Robert to survive I went up to the room I shared with Isu and started packing a few things together. Isu came and stood in the doorway. She was looking at me. I did not need to explain anything neither to apologies. She knew what I was thinking.
    I had to take up the responsibility for my family’s safety. Leave my home and leave my loved ones, everything I knew and wished for because my skin colour was a little to light.
    Tears came to my eyes. I didn’t want to cry. This time I wanted to be strong. I stared at my hands… “It is the colour of my skin,” I heard myself say. Despairedly and hatred at once.
    “Yes, this is the colour of your skin,” was Isu’s reply.
    She took my luggage and gently let me out of the house. Nobody saw us.
    When we arrived at the river Limpopo where we hid a small boat in the high grass Isu took my hand.
    “This is only the colour of your skin. But you always were and you will always be one of us.” She took one of the beet bracelets she always wore around her arm and put it around mine. My beloved sister gave me a last hug, a last kiss. Then I pushed the boat in the river and never turned back.
    Then everything became dark around me….

    I cannot say how long I had passed out. When I woke up I felt very dizzy. So I sat up to wash my face. The reflection of this pale face in the river’s brownish water forced the tears to my eyes. Starring at my hands, starring at the bracelet, starring at the vanishing picture of myself. It was then when I started to realize that this is only the colour of my skin.


    To everybody in Zim who might read this, don’t forget:
    Simunye!
    (We are one!)
    And be sure of one thing: I’ll be back.
    Love and peace,
    Yaa
     
  2. simunyaa

    simunyaa Member MEMBER

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    I have visited this web-side a few times before and found out that it often deals with racial (I hate this word) issues. In this it is dealing with black people only. This is neither surprising nor bad, however, still I felt the need to tell you that there is another side to it.
    I don’t know what it is like to live as black person with a mostly by whites populated country. I can just know it the other way around. And what I would like you to know is that I do not have a greater whish than to be accepted as a “real” African. It makes me very happy when Africans here in Germany were I stay now tell me so. However, I know that it will never work this way in a black society. For me there is nothing else than to hope for the day where the colour of ones skin really does not matter anymore and all of us will be one.
    Peace,
    Simunyaa
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    :wave: Haaaaaaaaaaay Simunyaa :wave:

    ~ Welcome ~ Welcome ~ Welcome ~

    Thank you for sharing this very moving story with us. Wow. I felt like i was there. Please feel free to share more, as much as you'd like. It's nice to know that you have visited us a few times and have finally decided to join and share your story, a glimpse of what life is like "the other way around."

    Please make yourself at home.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    welcome to destee.com short story
    yours was very sweet loved it
    so happy u join us
    welcome to the family of love & bonded hearts
    thank u for sharing this story
     
  5. onelove1soul

    onelove1soul Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Very heart-felt. Thanks for sharing such a story.
     
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