Little Children


They were in the bus driving in front of me.  Little black kids with big eyes.  They pushed their noses against the back window of the bus and looked at me inquisitively.  I’m white after all.  I wonder what went through their little minds.  What have they been told about white people?  What did they think of me?

I decided to smile and wave.  The reaction was amazing.  Big smiles and frantic waving.  Waving that didn’t stop until I turned right 2km later!  I was laughing out loud eventually and I could see they were too.

Little children are so innocent.  There is no hatred, no preconceived ideas, no pretense, no prejudice, nothing.  Just a joy to be alive.  A curiosity to investigate life.  Why can’t adults be like that?  I know all the excuses we give to justify our cynical outlook on life, but do they really hold water?

We are still divided in this nation.  We can talk about a so-called rainbow nation as much as we want, but until we change our hearts, we will remain divided.  Most households in this nation keep racism alive.  We teach it to our children through little things we say and do when we watch the news or while driving.  They watch and they learn.  We are still racially divided, 17 years after apartheid was supposed to die.  It’s sad really.

Did you ever stop and think what South Africa would have been like if apartheid was never born in the mind of one individual?  Where could we have been today?  We wouldn’t have had a war.  We wouldn’t have had the need for activists.  There would never have been any reason for racial quotas, BEE, EE and all the other stuff we hate so much today.  People would have been appointed based on skills, not skin colour.  Wow.  It would have been great.

I wish I could turn back time and make that one individual act differently.  But I can’t.  All I can do now is become like the little children I saw in the bus this morning.  I can choose to smile and wave regardless of skin colour.  I can choose to just embrace life with all the people in it.  Most of all, I can choose not to give my grandchildren of the future a look at racism.  They don’t need to know what it is.  To them, it will just be a burden.  My children already know it – I hope that they too will choose against it.


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