Why are you black? asked Morgan. I don’t know, I replied. Things that children say! One has to be careful the reply we give them. I took the easy way out so I could give myself the time to answer such a difficult question.
Morgan was white, the 5 year-old grandchild of Ron and Marelyn, my hosts at the Cherry Tree Cottage, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast residence in Linden, Johannesburg. Morgan and her sister had come to stay with their grandparents for a few days. They went to a German School, and spoke German at home. But they spoke English when they were with their grandparents. Ron’s grandparents were from Scotland. South Africa was such a place. They were such a mix.Back to the question they posed to me, the typically black Nigerian (a black South African girl I met in a taxi heading to downtown Johannesburg said we Nigerians have a beautiful skin color). I guess I am black because God, like most of us, likes variety. It explains why some twins aren’t identical, kind of. And why the days are never the same, and the times and seasons change, among other things. It is the very spice. South Africa has this question recurring daily. They must come to terms with it. We are the way we are because…well, we are. Existence and being must not always be about rhyme and reason. Discord is part of the collective memory. We must let be.