He believed in fixing the things about the world that were broken, and he had a game plan for what that might look like.
We agreed that we’d figure the race stuff out as we went along.
We met when I was 23; seventeen years and two kids later, we are still together.
We met just after the end of apartheid when the idea that my country could overcome centuries of violence and hatred seemed within reach. In high school, my love interests had been middle-class African boys who studied hard and had straight teeth; when I went to college in the United States, I stuck to the same profile, except that they were African American.
When I finished my undergraduate degree, I headed back home to South Africa. I had grown up all over the world — from Zambia to Kenya to Canada — as the child of political exiles.
When South Africans voted in 1994, I had cast my vote in Chicago at the South African consulate.
My joy at being finally able to vote alongside millions of black South Africans was tempered by the fact that I was in America and would not be finished with my degree for another two years. So it was a surprise to everyone (myself included) when I fell in love with Simon — a blue-eyed, square-jawed Aussie bloke. I had been an activist in college and I wanted to continue down that path. I didn’t think he would "get" many aspects of my experiences as a black woman in a racist society.
My writing comes from a place of frustration and empathy.
I have chosen to love a white man, but that doesn’t give him, or any other white men who exert their privilege unjustly, a free pass.
In South Africa, as elsewhere, we’ve all got to do the work of changing the rules of the game: no exceptions. Our kids are black of course, but they are also fair-skinned.
I didn’t want to explain racism and sexism all the time, and I didn’t know if I had the patience to argue over many of the fundamentals that frustrate black people and flummox white folks.
We got together then broke up, then got back together again.