Better late than never right?!
I almost missed posting this today, but take that life – I win. At this at least.
I’m glad that you’re back to read the next installment in our series. If this is the first time you’re joining us – WELCOME, it’s good to have you. Here are the other features in case you want to catch up.
Here’s a little bit of background as to why I want to do this series and why I want YOU to read it and share it with your friends. I am one half of a mixed race marriage (if you want to read my story, check it out here) and we have had our fair share of adjusting to this new life that is often not accepted by everyone.
Besides the odd intentional racist, I feel like a lot of the hurtful comments floating around are actually just brought about through ignorance about how their words will affect other people. Thinking only of our own personal situations with little regard for others, because that’s all that we know. So in an effort to broaden what we know, I thought I would interview a wide range of South Africans that have a variety of different situations – from mixed race couples to single race couples that adopt cross racially to couples that share the same “race” but differ vastly in terms of culture. A bit of a mumble jumble of everything really.
If you would like to join in and be featured in this series or know of someone that would, please feel free to get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want this to be a safe space where we can share stories and encourage each other to be more accepting of our fellow South Africans of all races, cultures and situations. So while I want to encourage you to comment and open a discussion, I will not tolerate any abusive or troll like comments here.
This week is similar to last week in that we have a situation where the couple would prefer to remain anonymous – which is totally cool. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
I am an engineer and write in my spare time. I enjoy reading, writing, attending live shows and just relaxing with friends. I would add travelling to that list provided I had an unlimited amount of money.
Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc
He is very similar to me, the only difference is instead of reading and writing, he works on cars and plays computer games. He is an engineer as well.
How and when did you meet your partner?
During our studies
Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds. What was your home life like while you were growing up?
He is a South African – Greek, born christian and converted to Islam when we met. We starting dating months later and got married years later.
We grew up with different traditions but the same core values, thankfully. His family raised him very well.
Where do you live? Does how you are “accepted” change when you visit different places?
We live in Cape Town, and yes, in certain areas, I will receive dirty looks, generally from older white women, and the same applies for him receiving look from older Indian women.
When we traveled abroad, he undoubtedly got better treatment at airports.
I know babies may not be on the cards right now, but do you have any fears/excitement about having “mixed race” babies in the future?
We are excited. Caramel skinned babies are the future!
What kind of role does race play in your relationship?
A small role, other than the occasional dirty looks, we don’t dwell on it. We are both comfortable in our skins. So we can talk about it casually.
How have your families reacted to your relationship?
Initially it was a shock to both of their systems, but within weeks, or days, both parties were happy. Once they got to know us as people, as a couple, they realised that we were definitely meant for each other.
Are there big differences in your relationship that are affected by your heritage/culture?
Like I mentioned, we are muslim, and his family is not. So initially it was complicated, but only because there were things that were misunderstood, once our traditions were explained, all was accepted.
What was funny, was our wedding day. His small family was very surprised by my 200+ guest list! Indian families are ridiculous.
What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your partner about this issue?
We have thankfully had it very easy, in a sense that our families were very accepting and so were all of our friends. No stranger has been ballsy enough to say anything to us. But I am sure they are judging silently.
What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
We can keep being happy, keep on keeping on. Showing people that mixed relationships work. “Soort by soort” is no longer a thing and it should not be.
Do you have any advice for those in a mixed race relationship that are facing judgement because of it?
Ignore them. Who are they to dictate how you live your life and who you date? Remember that all people are different, so are all relationships. I know mixed relationships that did not work out, and then I know many that did. It is just like any relationship, the chances of it working out is how well you communicate with each other and how well you get along. There will be problems, like any relationship, but the harder you fight to keep it alive, the more precious it seems.