Different Colors

Bryan and Candace getting ready to dig into the must eat meal for any visitor to Durban, the Bunny Chow.

Bryan and Candace getting ready to dig into the must eat meal for any visitor to Durban, the Bunny Chow.

In today’s blog, International Fellow Bryan Franklin reflects on a visit from his girlfriend, Candace. Candace got to experience how PeacePlayers work first hand by attending a LDP practice in Wentworth and an LDP all girls extravaganza over the weekend.

“You two can’t date!”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because you’re different colors!”

Those words hit me like a fire truck. Candace and I met in New Jersey, where she still currently lives, but she is originally from a small little Island in the Caribbean called St. Christopher or St. Kitts. Throughout her visit she was consistently asked if she was or assumed to be Zulu.

Like any good girlfriend, Candace was adamant on not only vacationing while down here, but also getting a better idea of what I do on a daily basis. Thus, she attended a practice with myself and Coach Yamkela (Yam) last week in the township of Wentworth. Wentworth is one of two colored townships in the Durban area, and is known for its high crime rates and violence.

Candace not only attended a practice, but also participated in the all girls LDP Extravaganza, and can be seen here far left during the girls campus tour of Howard College

Candace not only attended a practice, but also participated in the all girls LDP Extravaganza, and can be seen here far left during the girls campus tour of Howard College

Yam coaches both the Assegai Primary School team and the Wentworth Community high school teams. So while this was officially a high school practice, many of the primary school kids stayed after school to watch the high school kids in action. It was a primary student that just recently entered our programme, who Candace found herself having a conversation with during practice.

It wasn’t until afterwards, when practice was over and we were getting ready to leave, that our primary student noticed that Candace was my girlfriend. She wasted no time in addressing the situation.

You two can’t date!”

Why is that?” I asked.

“Because you’re different colors!”

And then before I could even say anything, a response that had more meaning than anything I could have ever said.

“You don’t date someone based on their color. You date someone based on their personality”

A second primary student entered the picture and came to my rescue. Unlike her friend, who she had actually invited to join the programme, she had been with PeacePlayers for a few months. She traveled to play games against primary schools from the communities of Umlazi, Lamontville, Durban City and Waterloo. She had memorized the PeacePlayers Pledge, and performed it multiple times with those who were different colors.

 I will play hard;

 I will play fair;

 I will trust in my teammates and coaches and;

 I will respect my opponents;

 Because we are PeacePlayers;

 And for the Love of the Game we play!

 South Africa is still an incredibly young democracy. It’s a country where for many years, those who were “different colors” were taught to despise one another. That’s an attitude that still hangs over the country, but there is still  hope. Organizations like PeacePlayers who are working tirelessly to bridge divides, change perceptions and develop leaders, creates hope in this country. There is also hope in our coaches who aren’t using the past as an excuse and who are on the front lines working to break down racial barriers. Most importantly, there’s hope in our primary school participants who are learning on a weekly basis that we are all people first, and anything and everything else second.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s