By: Yoliswa Cele

Building Race Relations One Mutton Recipe At A Time


Understanding the current race relations amongst South Africans across the planet is no longer limited to having to actually fly across the globe or quietly  buried  between  the lines of scarce articles on how “successful” we are abroad. So how can one dig up the inside scoop you ask ? Well, God bless ‘social media’ the information engine that knows no boundaries. All you need to do now, is join any of the myriad Facebook group pages for South Africans abroad.

Although physical interaction is rare, we connect in the “cyber-verse”; bonding over  food recipes(lots of curry and tart pies ), braai photos(picture obscene amounts of homemade boerewors atop a flaming girl ), questions concerning immigrants issues in foreign countries, airline ticket prices, where to get SA goods abroad, (the best ways to sneak in home goods through U. S. customs )and (most often) Mandela.

When it comes to pressing issues (politics, crime, load shedding, elections and especially land reform ), the conversations start to bear an eerie resemblance to a Mail and Guardian comments section. They end in antagonism fueled by resentment exemplified in the occasional racial slur and disheartening prejudicial undertones. Not to mention ANC & DA arguments causing a few relentless blacks to have to explain why Apartheid was not OK and why racism is bad.( Madiba taught them well. I can’t always summon the patience)

I left most of these pages, because they are exhausting and life is far too short. I’m only reminded that they exist when I’m sharing an array of “Celebrate South Africa ” events,  which invariably are responded to by blacks alone. Or those times I see a bunny chow recipe or a “You know you’re South African when ” meme  on my timeline, traces of a time when the cyber-verse created a sense of home for the longing and distant.

We can eat, drink, and braai together (a rare occurrence in the diaspora) but don’t dare bring up our issues. Even thousands of miles from home we have managed to pack our issues and remain your typical, deeply-dysfunctional, “rainbow”family.

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