These days, I often hear people discussing about how “mixed” the world is becoming and many seem convinced that one day, mixed-race people will make up the majority of the world’s population. I wonder if this will ever come to pass. That said, places like Brazil and South Africa certainly seem to be heading that way.
It is an interesting concept for me. Me, as a person who is often heard exclaiming that “there are a million stories in my blood”. Without meaning to sound self-important (for it is the same for most people), many, many stories needed to happen before I could be born. Stories of human migration, pain, triumph, adventure and great imagination but for me, all these stories are cross cultural.
My mother was mixed race, as was her mother and her mother too. That side of my family is so mixed and that we no longer can trace our real roots. Sure it does sound quite exotic, but, for me at least, there is a tinge of sadness in that too as it is and will probably always be an incomplete story. There is no longer anyone around who can satisfactorily fill these gaps. Granny past away with her secrets and even if she was still with us, I had too much respect to question her as these were secrets that she closely guarded.
I often wonder if my sister and I are the only ones with our particular cocktail of cultural mix. Neither of us have met another quite like us with our roots touching, South Africa, Holland, France, Seychelles, Kenya and Japan ( and quite possibly more). Forgive me for saying it but, I must admit that I am proud of my heritage. Mumma used to say that I should be proud of something that I have DONE rather than something that I cannot help. However, it is not ME that I am proud of. I am proud of my ancestors for overcoming and daring to be the people they were. I hope that makes sense.
One story that I don’t mind sharing is the tale of my great grandparents. They hailed from a place that no longer exists on modern maps of South Africa. He, was a black. She, was “coloured”. The law was such that they could not be together in their country and so they left for Kenya. What happened to them there was a bittersweet tale with many mysteries still unanswered but I am proud that they had the courage and heart to make that trek across Africa.
Stories like this have inspired my life and have prevented me from having any cultural confusion that I hear many other “mixed” kids went through. So, in those exceedingly rare moments when I stand with the girls in my maternal family, and look at the rainbow of complexions and eye colours that we are and I feel very proud indeed.
We should always remember those stories that brought us to where we are today, they will only make us stronger in many many ways.