My Summer Internship & Racism
Sounds unrelated, right?
One might think; what does race or ethnicity have to do with an internship in the entrepreneurial education space?
Quite a bit, especially when working in South Africa.
South African History lite (1652 – 1994)
- The Dutch come, set up trading post
- Strip all the native Khoisan of their land and resources
- British come to colonize South Africa
- Dutch (now Afrikaners) refuse to give up stolen land
- Both go to war
- End war with peace treaty, and effectively alienate Blacks from society through systematic segregation and then the well-known apartheid regime.
Officially, it’s been 21 years since the apartheid has fallen apart. I can say with a heavy heart, though, that not much has changed.
Although the power of the government has shifted to blacks, the economic wealth in the country still disproportionately leans toward whites, and the apartheid doctrine has evolved. There are no longer signs that say “Net Blankes/Europeans Only.” ‘Apartheid’ is a cursed word of the past but it is present, and is delivered indirectly, through misappropriation of resources, media, work environments, and schooling. This neo-apartheid is an apartheid of the mind.
For this reason I launched CREED, worked closely with the Mamelodi Initiative, and invested my time this summer at Wits. Not only am I able to impact the minds and hearts of learners through CREED/MI, but I am also able to develop structures and programmes with the CfE. Through these efforts, marginalized people can be enriched and enlightened year-round in their normal school environments.
Entrepreneurship teaches young black South Africans that their voice matters; that their opinions, passions, skills and actions hold great value. It reverses the rhetoric that blacks are only good for unskilled labour and servitude.
The device that I am using to break down systematic and institutionalized racism is entrepreneurship.