This day could not have come soon enough!
Today we’re chatting to Nondumiso who has graciously agreed to share her story with us. Just grabbing my cup of coffee and I’ll be reading along with you.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
I’ve been a mom for the last 3 years (almost), a wife for 8 years and a sister for all my life. I have an older sister and three younger brothers. I have been an entrepreneur for the last 6 years in the beauty industry. I recently sold my salon to immigrate to Mozambique (I know most people don’t consider moving to an African country as immigration).
I started blogging (nervous to publish) and also have taken on a part time role as a home executive, till we are settled as family in our new country. What I would like to do with my time is write and sing (the singing is not a surprise to family and friends)
Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc
Hubby is a Factory director in Mozambican engineering company, hence the immigration. If he had the time and the money he would be coffee shop owner or a soccer/basketball coach. He loves his sports so much it’s crazy.
Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds.
Joao is Portuguese born in Mozambique but been in SA since he was 10 years old and I am Zulu, South Africa born.
Where do you live? Does how you are “accepted” change when you visit different places?
We used to live in JHB and had an amazing life as a mixed racial couple, we had a lot of mixed couples and couples across all races as friends. We never felt like we were not accepted in our community. If we felt uncomfortable with people or areas, we just didn’t go. I can tell you, I hate Pretoria or Caltonville, every time we went there, you always felt like you have killed someone or about to kill you for contaminated their blood (so they say). The looks were never pleasant, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Tell us all about your kids
Joao aka babes has a son from his previous marriage, Ricardo. He has been part of my life for 9 years and we are super close. And 5 years into our marriage we had Jise’le – she is a combination of smart, cute and funny. Very intelligent little person, we could not ask for more. She has her own FB page, this is for me to post her videos and pictures for family in South Africa, Portugal and all our friends around the world. She is very busy girl and so I am.
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?
Most of the time we (hubby and I) forget we are mixed race until someone points out the race of our daughter. And every time I meet new people or clients and hubby walks in. Then it’s like.. Ah.. But race has very little to do with us as a family on a daily bases.
Are there big differences in your marriage relationship that are affected by your heritage/culture?
Culturally has been super easy – being a Christian’s means we have more or less the same type of life style and beliefs. And also him (hubby of course) being married to a colored lady, who had a black mom that they lived with, just made it easy for me. I sometimes wishes him to be a typical Portuguese cause for me it was important. But later on, I realized that maybe if he was a typical Portuguese we wouldn’t be together. I am not a typical Zulu myself. I do think the location lifestyle was shock to him at the beginning or our relationship (lucky it’s just a life style not a heritage or culture). He would always say to me, “babe there is more single mom’s than married couples”.
How have your families reacted to your relationship?
My family (mostly Mommy Carol, my brothers and cousins), they all were very happy with him. My mom was a bit concerned about him being divorced and having a baby (since Ricardo was 2 years at the time). Hubby has lost both his parents and he is the only child (his late mom lost 13 babies, during pregnancy and some still born) being Catholic, she had to carry on trying. So my husband is only surviving child (and what a blessing this man is) but his godparents (his mom’s sister and her hubby of 60 years) were in Portugal preparing to immigrate back to South Africa so they didn’t come to our wedding. But his cousins were all in South Africa and accepted invitations but did not come to the wedding and never offered reasons why (ah.. I wonder, if my skin colour had nothing or a lot to do with that)
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)?
In South Africa, it’s always been people starring and having waiters ask me in Zulu if she is my child. And I remember she was 3 weeks old and hubby was back at work and I needed to go to the pharmacy. I had so many people looking at me like a stole a baby and a black lady asked if she is my baby, I said “yes” she then said “really, why is she pretty?”. I almost died of shock.
What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your husband about this issue?
The most would be, I am a gold digger and people just assuming you get things done because you have a white husband and for him will be other white male making comments like “Kafir boeti”. Or that he is now less of a person because he has been blackened (I know, I also didn’t think such words existed)
What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
I think mostly being happy with who we are. And soon the picture of perfect family will not be one of just one race. As a matter of fact the family picture has changed in last 30 years, so advertising companies should come on board. Mixed families are here to stay, our lives matter too.
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?
My fear before Jisie was born was that she will either look more like me or more like hubby and my worry was having to explain her looks to people (sometimes you are put in a position where you have to explain) but luckily for us she is a mix of the both of us every sense of the word mix. And to be honest, it was stupid. She is perfect as she is (after all she is her own person).
Do you have any advice for those new to this experience?
Stay focused on the bigger things like loving people for who they are in the inside (since we all look the same on the inside). Don’t force yourself and values onto people, if they don’t want to be part of your mixed family movies then recast for new extras. I say “remember love the one YOU love”
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.
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.