I am a big fan of interracial love, after all I’ve always believed that if you want to have beautiful babies you need to mix it up a little. Well actually, it is probably more the fact that I don’t have any inclination to date men of my ‘own’ kind – as this would probably mean that I’d end up dating my brother from another mother or something along those lines. Plus, it’s not as if the male specimens from the Indian sub-continent have a reputation for being particularly well-endowed.
Being a London girl, I never thought twice about who or what I could date. When you grow up in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, there is nothing strange about seeing an Albino holding hands with a Rasta man, an imam from Saudi Arabia making out with a Thai lady boy on the Tube, or even just an old Englishman marrying his dog (yes, being a dog you’ll find you are treated better than certain races are here in SA). You’ve got to find love where you can in the concrete jungle.
Sadly, when I moved to the ‘Rainbow Nation’, this vision of a fairytale world where love knows no bounds quickly came tumbling down. People often asked me how I felt about being in an interracial relationship (actually what they meant to ask was how a chapatti like me managed to bag myself a lily-white farm boy?). Being the ever-so-slightly arrogant girl that I am just wanted to flash my golden BRITISH passport at them and say smoke this suckers (while you queue up outside every god-forsaken foreign embassy, filling in forms justifying your existence and promising that you will return to South Africa as soon as is humanly possibly). So let’s get one thing straight, I was actually the catch in that relationship there, regardless of the colour of my skin.
Since I’ve been playing the field, I’ve become even more aware of this (unnecessarily) complicated race issue in South Africa. My lovely friends, colleagues and even random bergies have been quick to give me advice on interracial dating. Actually, advice is a bit of an understatement, it might be more appropriate to call this drivel ‘strict instructions on how to be narrow-minded and continue living in the happy days of Apartheid. For instance, I had this one friend (note past tense) that after pursuing a relationship with a black guy who cheated and sponged off her for like a millennium (I think he can educate all of us on the art of RINSING) vowed NEVER to touch the holy BBC ever again because basically they are all useless, backward, broke-ass and sexist (even Barack Obama). Not only does this rule out 75% of the pool of potential men in the country, but as far as I am concerned it’s just plain stupid. A highly-educated, well-travelled, good-looking black dude working in high powered Christian Grey type job in Jo’burg can’t realistically be likened to a tribal chief living in the hills of KZN now can they?
I am not going to lie and pretend to be the most open-minded, liberal, burn-my-bra type of girl out there. I also have my limits (those with unnecessary missing teeth and people who just can’t string a sentence together in English aren’t really going to make it past the first date). But what I am saying is that for me it’s more about a person’s education, interests, attitudes (and maybe money has some part to pay in it) than the colour of their skin. These are things that a person can acquire. Whereas skin colour is something most of us (Michael Jackson was the exception) have no choice in.
So according to my observations, this ideal of a Rainbow Nation is very much a façade, at least when it comes to dating, relationships and LOVE. While there are people (mostly internationals, like myself) who are bucking the trend and proving that love isn’t governed by race, the overwhelming majority of relationships prove that Apartheid is still well and truly alive in South African dating circles (i.e. he will happily live out his dirty little ethnic fantasies behind closed doors but there is no way he is taking that cute little exotic thing home to meet his high-brow folks).
That’s just a little bit about what I have to say about the whole interracial dating thing in Cape Town.So now over to you dear readers/rinsers … please share your best and worst experiences about interracial love in the comments below. : )