As many of you know, I got to go to Cape Town, South Africa in May with the Mocha Club. It was an awesome trip. When I got home, I would have told you that I am glad I went but it didn’t really change me.
Here’s the funny thing. It seems that about once a month something will fall into my heart and it will take me back to Cape Town. And in that moment, I realize that Cape Town was completely life-changing.
This was the case when I saw Invictus last week. Invictus is a movie about the first year that Nelson Mandela was the President of South Africa. It’s about how he worked to bring unity to the people, black and white, and how the country responded to that.
Oh, and Matt Damon is in the movie. Amen.[Marisa did a beautiful job writing about the movie as well, so you can check that out here.]
I left the movie with a few questions rolling around in my mind. And I don’t know the answers yet.
I am officially shaken up.
Because I’m white. And I was the same age as a lot of the dudes in the movie. And in Cape Town.
So what if I would have been born in Cape Town?
I would have told you all the things that I can tell you about my life now: I’m a Christian, raised by Godly parents, on a path to a normal adult life.
And I would have THOUGHT like the other white people did.
And I would have THOUGHT segregation was good for my country.
And I would have THOUGHT I was RIGHT.
Do you see what I’m saying?
For many of you, racism is still very real where you live. I know that is true here in the South in some ways. But segregation like is shown in this movie, like was real in the 90s in Cape Town, like was real in the 50s in the USA- that isn’t real for me.
It was real in May 2009, when I stood in a campground kitchen, trying to help out the mamas who were cooking lunch for 70+ kids from the slums of Cape Town. There was always a wall there, always something that kept them from really allowing us to help. I thought it was mostly the language barrier, with just a hint of the leftovers of apartheid.
I am so ignorant.
Invictus showed me reality.
Reality says that when those mamas look at me, I look like a white girl born in Cape Town.
And though I don’t think like that girl, I look like her.
And dumb ole me just kept thinking, “if I only I could speak Xhosa cause surely they would hug me and love me if I spoke their language.” Nevermind the years and years when people, who looked JUST LIKE ME, were horribly unkind and unfair and treated them terribly.
So yeah, I’m a little shaken up. And yeah, Cape Town changed my life. Again last week. I just don’t know how yet. I don’t have the answers.
But Invictus is a great movie. Go see it, and I dare you ask some questions when it’s done.