Memories of South Africa: I Couldn’t Trust the White Guy

Patrick was the white name

given to the first friend I made

in South Africa. I feel somewhat ashamed

 

I can’t remember or begin to pronounce

his Zulu name. My mouth simply could

not form the sounds of his actual

 

name. He laughed at how much I kept

practicing his name, over, over, over

again trying hard to get it right. I stayed up

 

late with him just talking about our own

lives, what struggles we each faced. We shared

tears together. I trusted him. Later, I was told

 

by a Brit, I needed to stay with my color, AIDS

was given to South Africa as a gift. He warned me

that anyone lesser my skin tone was

 

especially dangerous. For a woman of my blonde

hair, my fair skin, he told me I was most at risk. He tried

to scare me with rape statistics (which I knew, but he

 

rambled on not letting me speak). The Brit telling me this

owned what he called a “Wild Game Safari.” I went to

the “Safari” with him to see that it was

 

nothing more than great animals in tiny

cages. I couldn’t get away from him fast

enough. I felt dirty even sharing

 

handshakes with the likes of that man. That

was the first time in my life I met a human being

who physically repulsed me just for being who he was.

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