Good morning, good morning, and how are you this morning, good morning, good morning too you! Oh that’s right, I said good morning, good morning, and how are you this morning, good morning, good morning tooooooo yooooooouuuuuu!
In case you’re wondering, that’s the song I wake the kids up with every morning. I especially like to mix it up and sing it with different accents and on repeat until they want to murder me.
Anyway, I hope that you’re having a lovely morning. I am. I mean, it’s Friday right, so we’re on the right track.
I’m also very excited to be bringing back the Mixed race series. Guys, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find people to share their story! It’s ridiculous! Even with literally begging people on FB I only had one person send through their answers. I’m not even sure what to make of that.
But enough from me, today I’m handing over to Cindy. No, I’m not suddenly referring to myself in the third person, Cindy Mati is going to be telling us what it’s like behind the scenes of her mixed race family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
I work in Human Resources at an Audit firm and am currently on maternity leave after recently giving birth to our little boy, Thando. So life at the moment pretty much resolves around him!
Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc
My husband, Sango, works in marketing and is also excelling at his new role of being a dad. He loves cars, movies and video games – although the there is not much time for any of these anymore!
How and when did you meet your partner?
We met through friends years ago when I was just out of school and visiting Cape Town during a varsity break. We had both been to boarding schools in Grahamstown so had plenty of friends in common. About 6 years ago when I moved to Cape Town we reconnected through the same friends and got together 2 years later.
Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds.
We are both from the Eastern Cape – Sango is Xhosa and I’m English.
Where do you live? Does how you are “accepted” change when you visit different places?
We live in the southern suburbs and find this area to be accepting of mixed race couples which is probably one of the reasons we chose to settle here – we weren’t about to buy a house in the northern areas!!
Tell us all about your kids – brag a bit – it’s OK ?
Thando is our first child so it’s been an exciting few months. He has just started smiling and sticking out his tongue so he is a little more fun to play with now! He is starting to develop a cute personality and has stolen our hearts. He is very light in complexion which has already caused some confusion for strangers!
How do you and your partner view race in your relationship? What kind of role does it play in your family? Does it even feature?
I don’t feel that it plays any part in our relationship. It’s not something we really think or speak about in terms of our relationship.
Are there big differences in your marriage relationship that are affected by your heritage/culture?
Not really. I’ve been exposed to some interesting cultural experiences as a result of being in a mixed marriage but it hasn’t affected our relationship or marriage in any way.
How have your families reacted to your relationship?
Our families have been amazing! They accepted each of us from day one. I wasn’t the first family member on my side to enter into a mixed relationship which may have helped. We were blessed to have not one but two weddings 18 months ago – my parents giving us a fairy tale “white wedding” and Sango’s parents hosting the most amazing “traditional wedding” for us. White family and friends who attended the traditional wedding as still talking about how much they loved this cultural experience!
What kind of experiences have you or your partner had when you have been out with your kids (alone with them or together as a family)?
So far it’s mainly been comical misunderstandings – doctors rooms calling Thando’s name and being shocked when I stand up with him etc. We are yet to have any negative or hurtful situations.
What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your husband about this issue?
Again, perhaps we are lucky but we really haven’t been affected by any negativity.
What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
If we were to be faced with any such situation I would hope we’d be able to react in a calm and loving manner, showing the person who we truly are and not adding to the anger but rather trying to educate and open minds.
Did you have any fears about parenting mixed race children before you had them? Have any of those fears changed since becoming a Mommy/Daddy to kids with mixed genes?
I was initially worried that our kids would associate themselves more with one of our cultures / language than the other and it’s important to me that they understand and value both of their backgrounds. I’m hoping that with some effort on both of our parts we won’t have to worry about this too much.
Do you have any advice for those new to this experience?
Try not to overthink it – you fall in love with the person because of who they are, what they believe in and how they make you feel. Not what color their skin is. Remember these things if you are faced with challenges and that the person with the problem has the problem and not you!!
If you would like to join in and be featured in this series or know of someone that would, please see what I need from you HERE!
Is this is the first time you’re joining us? If it is, a big fat WELCOME, it’s good to have you stop by. Fancy catching up on all these other interviews that you have missed? Here are the other features – make yourself a hot cup of the good stuff, and settle in for some reading.
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.
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.