“Be patient with your partner especially if it’s a new relationship. Don’t rush everything because if you don’t build the relationship well it will not last long!” Mike Maphoto
This guy was toying with me. How can white people be racist against white people? They are one and the same head of the snake. Mr. Gold had seemed convinced of this and I was not going to be ignorant about it. I was going to prove him wrong. He had tried to justify his being a coward by putting his head down and wanted me to do the same! Never! I was going to fight these people at every turn I got!
“So are you saying that its right what they are doing?”
I asked him.
“Not in a million years. It can never be right but you have to pick your battles well. Nepotism is not just for the government, its huge in the private sector the only difference being the private sector owns all the publications that matter meaning they don’t report on themselves they report on government. It’s very important you understand what I mean with this!”
He said to me but the blank stare on my face showed him that I was more lost than ever.
“In this company you are the government. You are an affirmative action employee no matter how educated you are. They don’t see you as anything else and as far as they are concerned, once they find someone who can do what you can do you will be the first to go. Like government, once the private sector press finds a ‘black’ person they approve off, they will heap praise on that person, give him or her as much positive marketing as they can all the while making government look terrible, corrupt and inept!”
Talking politics with a white person was something I had never done before. I am certain all he had to say was how bad ANC was and because I read all those newspapers I also was starting to believe that.
“So you are saying they like Julius Malema?”
I asked him knowing the answer to that.
“No they do not, right now his job is dividing the black vote and he is doing a stellar job at it too! It’s rather easy when on the other hand the rhetoric in the press is that the ANC is the biggest joke. They remind you often too that he is a child of the ANC but the blue side of politics is the ultimate saviour! That’s what the press teaches you. Julius might speak the truth sometimes, even ANC people agree but you have all been conditioned to like something about Mmusi even though he is the total opposite of Julius. Think about it, total opposites and you like them both, how?”
Ok enough about the politics. I understood him saying in this company I was government so I had to be brought down.
“Where does the white on white racism come in though? You are in management and comfortable!”
I told him.
“You think I am comfortable? I am 52 and only got to this lever 6 years ago. All this time I was the most educated in this company including an MBA that was gathering dust because somehow Human Resource felt that people with Honours and sometimes none were better qualified than me? You don’t see this because you have never actually considered that white people are not the same. It’s like you, you can tell a person from Ghana or Nigeria just by looking at them and with us we can tell who’s who too! Learn about other people too!”
He said and he stood up and walked out. I could not even remember what the advice he had given was ah! We grew up being told that racism or discrimination is a one sided thing where white people hate any dark skinned person. We grew up being told that they placed themselves on top of the food chain by force and use that vantage point to exploit everyone else beneath them on that food chain which is well, everyone! Black people can’t be racist and when we fight back in kind it’s not racism, it’s just doing what they do to us! Imagine our confusion when the first xenophobia attacks happened, black on black violence were black South Africans decided that because this our geographical location we were better than any other Africans in our country. Clearly we thought that if there ever was a hierarchy then we sat on the top of it. We hated Zimbabweans for taking “our” jobs when reality is on 10 percent of all Zimbabweans in the country have jobs which resemble formal 80percent of which are in the service industry as waiters. We hated Nigerians because they were wealthy somehow and as far as we were concerned it was because of crime and Mozambicans I don’t even know, we just did not like them I guess. Somali’s had the nerve to build tuck shops in homes that belonged to South Africans, paying rent for that privilege but in doing so we said they blocked our own entrepreneurs. We killed them, we burned them and did all we could to show who is boss. Number of killed were less than 50. Not one day had I ever imagined that white people could have similar stories amongst themselves yet the moment I typed in Jewish Oppression I was hit by 2million gassed in concentration camps! I already knew that! I did not want to go on anymore so I found something else to do.
I was not so hungry so I had a sandwich in my office for lunch. I did not want to leave the office today because it felt as though every time I left the office, drama followed shortly after. I wanted peace in my life and for things to calm down. So much had been happening lately and honestly I can’t live like this. It’s not healthy. Just after lunch there was a knock at my door, for some reason I had been expecting her, it was Nicolene.
She said as though nothing had happened.
“Hi Nicolene what can I do for you?”
I asked her coldly.
“Can I please come in?”
She said from the other side of the door.
“Sure you can come in!”
Something in me told me to record the conversation. I was already holding my phone so why not. You can never be too careful and because she and I were already fighting it was instinct I suppose.
“I wanted to talk to you about something?’
“You already here so it’s a bit obvious that you did!”
I said with a wry smile. There is a bit of dry humour for you. She did not smile back meaning she meant business then. Guess I should serious up too then.
“You really don’t like me don’t you?!”
She asked, I could jump up and say yes I did not but that would make me the aggressor.
“What ever gave you that idea?”
I asked her.
“Well the way you treat me, you never speak to me unless I speak to you, there is always tension between us and you seem to thrive in wanting to make fail!”
She said laying down her case. All these things were true mind you! I hated this girl. She was annoying, entitled, not following procedure and sleeping with the boss! I am sorry there is nothing more annoying than a woman who sucks dick to get to the top no matter what colour her skin is! I work so hard to get anywhere in life and she takes five minutes to get a promotion just because she gives it up so good? Hell no!
“Oh wow you really think that don’t you? I like you; in fact I like you a lot! You remind me a lot of me when I first came, raw, hungry and eager to learn! I am hard on you but that’s what I was also taught because when Susanna was my boss she was also hard on me. When I asked her why she said as women we need to build each other so that we can compete with the men at any point. She used to tell me that we don’t come to work to make conversations and gossip about cute guys, our boyfriends, fashion etc because it is what makes women get over looked at work. I would argue with her and ask her what about if we were doing all our work on time and that was done in free time since we were done and you would see her just go red! She would get so mad and say the problem with women in the work place is that many don’t realize that after their allocated work is done, they forget that they can find other work to do! I called her crazy for it because I was not going to get paid for the extra work or extra hours I spent here and she would say that in future that would come because it would mean I would be way ahead of all the other women in the office in terms of what I knew. I look at myself today and because of that advice, I am right up there. I think I hold the highest position of any black woman in this country and I am a junior at that. This means with more hard work I could still rise and you because you are my protégé so to speak should be filling in every post I leave behind.”
I told her. I had just lied to her face. All that never happened.
“So for you it’s all because you are black that’s why you don’t like me?”
She asked. That’s when I knew that the statement was loaded. She wanted me to say something bad. I knew it. I had mentioned black once in the whole speech I had given.
“What’s being black got to do with anything?”
I asked her even putting on a very surprised face.
“Well you think that because am white I get things handed over to me that’s why you don’t like me!”
She said. Had she heard what I had said?
“You don’t think I have worked hard to be in this position and I jumped some steps!”
Was this girl psychic because it’s exactly what I was thinking and definitely not what I had said.
“For the second time in a short space of time. This has nothing to do with that. The company says I must work with you, then I will work with you and I will teach you all I can to the best of my ability. I really hope you learn from me because I was taught by the best as in Susanna and the company approved of her methods because I am sure you can see she was promoted!”
I told her. I could see she was stuck on what to say.
“If you say so but you are a racist regardless. I am not happy to come to work because I know you will do you things and look at me funny or mock me. Do you know how it feels to wake up every morning knowing that no matter how hard you smile and try to impress someone that person will never like you and will treat you like you don’t exist, that’s how you make me feel!”
She said standing up.
Trying being black for one day in this racist company and come back and tell me about that feeling again bitch!
I did not say that but I wanted to!
She walked out!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
In the last post of Young Employed and Single there were complaints about the editing and proof reading on my side as the author. I apologize for that truly but friends writing 6 pages a day every morning is not easy. I wake up at 5 so that at 6 the blog is ready. It’s not my professional job but i try and make it as professional as I can. I still have to get ready for work whilst I do that. As many of you know I write this blog on an old blackberry phone meaning when it’s done I have to transfer it to a computer just to run a spell check. Often at this stage it’s late, I am late so literally all I do is a spell check. If you compare this with professional novels, two or three professional editors go through that book for a few weeks to get the editing and grammar right. I don’t have that luxury unfortunately but I try my level best to give you an entertaining story with as minimal mistakes as possible. Most times I would like to believe I get it right. When you write, a lot of ideas are going through your head at the same time and at times these ideas overlap. You end up writing what you did not intend to write but because you already have a story line in your head you continue without seeing you used some unintended ideas or thoughts. On Tuesday I wrote the word “wedding” instead of “funeral” and the mistake came from in the song I was quoting the word wedding appears a lot. It was that train of thought that made the ideas overlap. I apologize for that but also ask you to kindly bear with me.
I will continue trying to improve the quality.
Dear Mike and Friends
Thank you for the wonderful stories. Imagine having an addiction for so many years and still being able to get that fix every morning, it’s amazing. You deserve the best Mike.
My story: I am 24 years old and I have only ever dated one guy. He is also 24 and we started dating when we were in high school at the age of 16. He broke my virginity and I broke his, we literally grew up together. We applied to the same university and got in together and now we are graduating God willing. He was doing Engineering so he had to go do his in-service whilst I was still at school. I would sometimes visit him in Komatiepoort where he was working in a mine. I love him and he loves me. I found out that he cheated on me several times two years ago with a girls who were friends of ours. I was having an argument with some girl and she basically told me that because I thought I was perfect I was too blind to see that my man had slept with three of my friends and everyone knew. She told me that even my best friend knew. I confronted my best friend and she confirmed that it was true but there was no way of telling me because I would think she was trying to sabotage our relationship. I don’t know what to do. If your man is sleeping with your friends then he does not respect you right? This happened about two years ago and he keeps talking about marriage. I only found this out recently and I don’t know how to address it. I am not even sure if I am ready or able to be alone because I have been with him for 8 years now. All round he is a good boyfriend but I can’t trust him now? Is dumping him the solution? How will I survive? 8 years is a long time have I wasted my time?