Monday, April 03, 2017

Soutie

I am a passport carrying Soutie. Not by birth. I was born in Johannesburg, but after going through different routes, both my brothers and I all have red and green dompas. I have three little people born in England to whom I am Uncle Trev. I have a lot of family in South Africa. So I try hop over the pond as often as I can to get face time with the people I love. A Soutie is someone with one foot in England, and one foot in South Africa, and their manbits hanging in the salty sea. 


After growing up in the bubble of Apartheid, I don't, won't and can't believe in self-determination. Independence is an illusion. If we determine our selves by what we aren't, you can keep it. 

We can artificially simplify our world by only focusing on our immediate community. There is power in specialisation. It can let you really understand and appreciate local flavour. 

There is also power in perspective, and that can only come from the discomfort of getting to understand the messy connections we have - the responsibilities, the expectations, the privileges, the prejudices. Where we don't have control. Where we aren't an expert. Where we have to acknowledge our ignorance. The tough questions of listening to the perspective of outsiders. The respect of empowering the insiders. 

Perhaps I am indeed a citizen of nowhere. A Soutie. An Uitlander. An Immigrant. Neither at home in the land of my birth, the various lands of our various ancestors, or the various lands I visit to better understand the world we live in.

I am at home in the conversations I have with people I love. Love has no borders.


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