It’s A Black/White Thing | Current Affairs & Issues
Have South Africans changed in any significant way since 1994? Or are black and white simply repeating old patterns?
American-born journalist Donna Bryson found answers to these questions on the University of the Free State campus in Bloemfontein. In 2008 this sleepy city was thrust into the international spotlight by a racist video made by students from Reitz residence.
Bryson went to investigate. As she started speaking to students and university staff, including two former rectors, she realised the university was a microcosm of what was happening in the rest of the country. Since the 1990s black and white were forced to learn how to live together on campus – as elsewhere. It has not always been easy.
Now under the leadership of the university’s new rector – the charismatic Jonathan Jansen – real change is finally taking place. Most inspiring are the stories Bryson uncovers about individual transformations. From the white theology student who decides to learn Sotho to the black accountancy student who realises she does not share her parents’ mistrust of whites.
Bryson offers a story of hope in a country desperate for good news.