I think that my upbringing, plus the fact that I grew up in Zimbabwe and also my getting to travel a lot, meeting different people and having friends from all races and nationalities, makes me one of the people who are the farthest from racism as possible.
I’m not just one of those people who go on about how they’re not racist but then say that it’s impossible for them to marry someone from this race or that, or who feel somehow superior to people from a certain nationality or race, and that list of contradictions goes on…
No, I’m someone who is genuinely un-racist. I wouldn’t have even hesitated to marry a woman from any other race or nationality if I truly fell in love with her. I have friends from all over the world who are different from me in race, nationality, religion and more; yet when I’m with them I don’t feel one bit of difference.
Anyway, what reminded me of all this is this experience I had when I was a kid in Zimbabwe, in which I was a victim of racism and not the opposite.
I must’ve been around 8 years old or so, and we lived in this compound which mainly consisted of families of foreigners, who were there for work or who newly settled in the country.
I had a number of friends from England, Greece and Portugal within the compound, and I had a bunch of Zimbabwean friends who lived in nearby buildings.
One of my black Zimbabwean friends belonged to a poor family that lived in a little house made of tin, not too far from the compound we lived in.
I really liked him and enjoyed playing with him a lot. I’d go around with other Zimbabwean friends sometimes and other times on my own, and we’d go out and play all kinds of games; Almost anything is enjoyable when you’re a kid.
Our friendship grew, and all was great until his father knew about it and he started telling his son not to play with me because I was white.
I thought that was unfair, and I didn’t understand why such a thing could matter at all, so I didn’t give up and I kept sneaking over to my friend’s place to take him out to play.
His father caught me while sneaking in a number of times and started running after me with a stick, trying to scare me away from coming back to play with his son, but I’d just outrun him, jump over fences, go through some of my other friend’s houses to lose him, and then just run back to take his son out to play before he got back.
It was a challenge for me. I wouldn’t tolerate someone judging me by my colour. How come he let his son play with other black kids, but stopped him when it came to me?!
And so I went on coming back time and time again.
In the end he just gave up; I think he finally realized I was unstoppable and that I would go on playing with his son whether he liked it or not.
That memory still passes through my mind every now and then, and makes me wish that we were all more like children, and that we’d stop judging each other for all the stupid reasons we put between us. Why can’t we all just accept each other for what we are and embrace our differences and accept them as enriching elements that make each one of us unique.