On Friday I went for tea at the home of an artist I’ve met out here. When I arrived I found her grandson and the grandson of her maid or ‘cha’ playing in the garden. A little white boy and black boy kicking around a tiny silver football in the sun. A boy from the suburbs and a boy from the townships.
As I sipped my tea I knew that this moment in time was only fleeting as soon they would go back to the normality of seperation that will mark their future.
But their lives were already a lesson in contrasts. The little black boy was an orphan his mother had died from an illness and his father murdered. For any eight year old this would be enough but when he started scholl he was befriended by an older boy who sodomised him.
On his return to school, after counselling, he was accussed of sodomising a younger boy.
I looked at him as he laughed and did his tricks with his football and knew that more hardship would befall him and I hoped that this day would last as long as it could for him.
A few weeks ago I perhaps would have gone home and maybe cried when I thought about him but there are too many little black boys here with the same future ahead of them to cry for them all.
The facia of South Africa has changed to reveal a visible face of black leadership but perhaps that is all that has changed - apart from the rich getting richer and the poor, well becoming poorer.
Behind the facia big business still pulls the strings here and without sounding as if I’m a conspiracy theorist, it seems at times that blacks were only given ‘freedom’ here so big business could benefit from inward investment.
So nothing has really changed here. Not for the little white boy or the little black boy. The tracks of their futures have already been laid by the generations before them and so all that they can do now is simply follow the road that will soon fork and take them on their different paths.