By: Akhona Mtolo
Like the famous Maya Angelou’s poem titled ‘Old folks laugh’, Marriam Mbili is a 73-year-old who allows her belly to jiggle slowly like tambourines when she watches comedian Trevor Noah make jokes about apartheid.
“As South Africa we have done a lot to rectify the past; we now have a black president running the country, black people are moving up in society, slowly but surely everybody can laugh about it because it’s being fixed,’’ said Mbili.
Even though times are better now she still sheds a tear. Unlike Mbili, 74 year old Gloria Khawula does not feel that the youth of this country should make jokes about their grandparents’ struggle for freedom.
“We have been through a lot. We weren’t recognised as human beings- we were taken as slaves. It’s wrong that they laugh about our struggles,’’ said Khawula.
They agree on one thing though- that the country has accomplished a lot in the past 20 years of democracy. Twenty years is a momentous occasion for black and white across different age groups people. One of the most symbolic moments of the past for most South Africans was the raising of the new flag in 1994.That flag gave them hope for a non-racial, equal and democratic society.
‘’We were segregated for a long time; we had no access to many things that we do today. We use to buy through a pigeon window because we were non-white. Today I walk into Shoprite and be in the same cue as a white person without being questioned about my skin colour,’’ says Mbili.
As the country celebrates two decades, we should pay tribute to many individuals such as Lillian Ngoyi, who was an anti-apartheid activist and the first woman elected onto the executive committee of the ANC.
Our grandparents are the reasons we are able to celebrate Human Rights day.
“Democracy is what I dreamt of as teenager. Today I can say it’s much better than what I anticipated it would feel like to live in a free country. I enjoy having rights,’’ said Khawula.
Although they have been through an excruciating event, golden oldies are proud to say that they fought during apartheid and that the aftermath of the racial separation is truly amazing.
They are the true heroes!