South African Belief #3

Tammy: Lastly, its also, its like a fact growing up that you know that you will, at some point, get robbed. And you know to just deal with it. You just know this. Its like, its like, you just know that it’s a fact of life and living in South Africa and you just, you just deal with it.

Isabel: And these are all things you grew up just knowing?

Tammy: Yes, we all just knew. I don’t remember being taught them really it was just, just something we knew as members in society I suppose.

Isabel: Did you believe theses “facts”? Or question their legitimacy ever?

Tammy: I don’t think I really paid any attention to be honest. I just knew them, ohh is that bad? I probably should have questioned or asked questions or found out where the information came from I suppose. I don’t know. It was never thought of as a thing. It was like, like just apart of our vocabulary or something. Just stuff we knew not to do or knew about life I guess.

Isabel: And what do you think this is saying about the culture in which you grew up?

Tammy: I mean, it clearly relates to the race issues still prevalent in South Africa today. You know the sad history of our country’s racism and apartheid. Like I suppose it has all affected the culture down to the small things like these. I have never thought of it like this, it was just stuff we knew growing up. But now when you ask me, I suppose I would say that that is probably the meaning behind it, I don’t know.

The beliefs Tammy described growing up “just knowing” do clearly represent the political and social climate of South Africa. Additionally, the way the meaning or suggestion behind these beliefs was overlooked by Tammy, her peers, and others within her culture, proves how saturated the South African culture is with such views. The sense of fear associated with interacting with the black population is engrained within their culture. Tammy describes these beliefs as second nature; not something they spent time analyzing or inquiring about, but rather sort of common sense of South African life. The underlying racism evident in their unwillingness to be at the beach with the black South Africans along with the fear within these beliefs notably depicts the social issues plaguing South Africa. Tammy was not flippant in her reference to these beliefs. She clearly understood the negative connotation attached to her performance yet she was blatant in her delivery, indicating the how matter of fact and prevalent they were in South African culture. These cultural “givens” all encompass a sense of anxiety, specifically in reference to black South African citizens. Tammy’s description of the known expectation for violence (getting “mugged”) reveals the culture’s instability and acceptance of their uneasy way of life.