SA: Looks more than it feels free

By Vision Reporter

I am in the Rainbow State at the moment for some kind of career developmental training. However, I am continuously being lulled into mulling over the word ‘Freedom’

What lies beneath with Ilonka Naziwa
I am in the Rainbow State at the moment for some kind of career developmental training. However, I am continuously being lulled into mulling over the word ‘Freedom’

I walk the beautiful clean streets and observe the well dressed black people, whites, coloured, and Asians. They all walk as free but something about the whole scene makes me want to tread cautiously.

I sense the wounds of apartheid have just healed on the surface, but the tissue below is still raw from years of racial hatred and divisions.

For example, I find it strange that in a country probably with twice the size of the Ugandan population and with a more or less bigger variety of races (thus the name the Rainbow State); there are hardly any bi-racial couples.

Actually, I am bound to find more bi-racial couples at Garden City (note, Kabalagala and Bubbles are a bit of stretch in comparison)

Secondly, for a country this beautiful, well paved streets, green suburbs, working traffic lights, no dust; why are there no people walking the streets? I made this observation on a mid morning Saturday during a hot South African summer’s day.

I was in need of a stroll, but the lack of other strollers got me thinking that maybe strolling is not something that is done in Madiba’s home land.

Finally, another observation that had me mulling over freedom; was an experience in gumboot dancing (yes, it was a team building activity). Our trainer was a kind looking young black man from the townships.

He instructed us heartily and would not shy away from correcting us firmly. However, when one of the two white women in our team would speak to him, his tone would soften, and he would address her as ma’am.

I must tell you, we were three females in the team; two white and one black (me). At no one point was I ever called Ma’am. I was offended but not for the lack of a respective reference, more for the fear and the unnecessary respect this township boy was according the mzungu.

I am wondering now: what does freedom feel like then? South Africa looks free, but it sure does not feel free! I guess the other question is; who gave this Ugandan woman the idea that she had enough pips to be allowed to define what freedom means to a country with a GDP twice the size of that of her own homeland?

SA: Looks more than it feels free