There’s a poignant scene from the movie, “A Time To Kill”. Matthew McConaughey plays a young lawyer who defends a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10 year old daughter. In an impassioned closing argument, he goes about describing their barbaric act,
“I want to tell you a story. I’m going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they’re done, after they’ve killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she’s pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don’t find the ground. The hanging branch isn’t strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she’s white.”
South Africans, like those Americans in the movie, are obsessed with race, there’s no doubt about that. We have to count how many black faces there are in our national sports teams and Julius has to remind us about how many white faces there are in key positions in government. Frankly, I’m getting gatvol of the whole issue. It’s 2010. In all our years of democracy it’s about time we realise that our similarities outweigh our differences.
A few years ago my then five year old nephew asked me, “Prisha, Chad says I’m Indian. Am I Indian?” My nephew has no attachment to India. Like me, my parents and their parents, he is South African born and bred. His innocent question filled me with hope. It might be true after all. Maybe, just maybe, our future generations will stop all this divisive bull. They will not be able to see the colour lines and see each other as equals.