Hoo boy, this topic is a toughie. I dithered and contemplated. Internally debated and outwardly frowned. How do you sum up something that’s part of your heart and your heartbreak? I figured a list would work. And I stopped when I got to 20 items.
Happy Heritage Day, South Africans.
To me, being South African means…
- Cursing the Sandton traffic and praising the neon sunset, in the same breath
- Having no interest in any sport, unless one of our national teams is playing
- Outdoor washing lines
- Admiring my nation, while disparaging my government
- Drinking Joburg water
- A constitution that safeguards the rights of same-sex couples to marry and parent
- Teaching my child to speak Zulu and English
- Generously tipping petrol attendants, waiters, car guards and those whose struggles we can’t imagine
- Loving the bush as passionately as dung beetles love… well, dung
- Being inordinately proud of the Gautrain
- Dreaming of a better public education system, a better public healthcare system, better roads, better police and better infrastructure
- Having a second family living alongside us, that loves and looks after my child while making our home life cleaner, safer, easier and better
- Moaning about load shedding and e-tolling, until I’m conversing with a formerly South African Australian. At which point, South Africa becomes paradise.
- Loving, with equal intensity, the music of Kurt Darren and Judith Sephuma
- Raising a child who defines people’s colour by ‘pink’, beige’, ‘dark beige’, ‘light brown’ and ‘dark brown’ – not by White, Black, Indian, Asian or Coloured
- Making jokes about sensitive issues, when it’s far too soon to be appropriate
- Drinking red wine; eating red meat; gossiping about white shirts and red berets
- Using Afrikaans to keep secrets from small children and large Americans
- Taking a personal stand against bribing traffic cops and civil servants
- Having public holidays, Jewish holidays and ultra-long December holidays
*This post originally appeared on jozikids.co.za for Heritage Day 2015.