- Janice Petersen travelled to South Africa, the homeland of her parents.
- She wants to find out if the kids who grew up in the 30 years since apartheid have freedom to love whoever they want
Dateline looks at the challenges faced by interracial couples in the post-apartheid era in the episode, Love and Race in South Africa. Watch it via SBS On Demand.
This was a special assignment for me because South Africa is a huge part of who I am. I felt unbridled joy meeting my extended family in Cape Town for the first time as a kid. But witnessing and experiencing apartheid on that trip made me feel much smaller than my seven years of age.
Janice, aged seven with pigtails, pictured with family in South Africa.
These family members who looked and sounded so familiar were the ones my parents had to leave behind when they went in search of a better life in Australia.
Apartheid ended three decades ago but evidence of that racist system persists. Today, wealthier enclaves are still largely the domain of whites. Some will talk with contempt about an unjust system which has unfairly elevated Black people to more salubrious postcodes, but I didn’t see a single white face in the many kilometres of poor townships I drove past in Cape Town and Durban on my recent trip.
“One of the things that’s been important to us throughout our marriage whether we like it or not, is that we do represent something unusual. We don’t want to talk about it the whole time, but we do want to model that,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Ndaba Mkhize.
There is a breezy, upbeat mood as they swing open the doors to their leafy home to a steady flow of affable and cheery 20 somethings.
This scene of magnetic optimism is willing me to believe that the dream of the Rainbow Nation is still within reach. The economic and class divides are still evident but there are at least a few people carrying Mandela’s mantle of teaching love not hate.