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South Africa Update by Bill Cashion

June 20, 2012

Since working in the shanti-town just outside of Cape Town I have been thinking about skin color. I see skin color it is one of the things that make each person unique. What I don’t do is use that color to judge, define the rights of others, or place that person beneath me.

The one thing that has really had me at odds (nearly in tears at some points) during this trip has been a word that I have heard by most children that have seen us while working in the shanti-town. The word is “umlugu” which is Xhosa the native tongue for most people in this area. I asked Steve the young man that was working with our group what this meant and I believe he told me that it meant “white and pasty”. I laughed and said, “You know that is very true we don’t have a lot color”. Later in the day I asked Joleen what that term meant and Joleen who can speak Xhosa told me that it actually meant “white master”. This bothers me so much! I have never and will never class myself above anyone because the common factor I use is that we are all human. There are no differences at the core of being human. I know the term being used is common for these people and what I really want them to know is that I will never be their master. Just because I don’t have as much color as them does not make me a better person. I am pretty sure that there are many people in this community that are much brighter than me and can do many more things then I can do.

While the term is not meant to be racist it sure feels that way to me. Talk about an experience that really hit home to me what it had to feel like for the African Americans as they fought to be treated like the white Americans. You read about the Civil Rights Movement and you talk to those that lived before that time but never do you understand what it feels like till you are face to face with it.  When you are hit with it sure stings and leaves you feeling a bit bitter. I am truly glad for the experience it made me understand how it feels for those that are not treated equally because of the color of their skin.

Can we solve this terrible problem that we have all over the world where those that are different are treated differently? Yes, we can and it begins with the thing that we all have in common and that is that we are all human. Once you strip away someone’s wealth, religion, skin color, hair color, sexual orientation, sex, head size, body size, eye color, eye shape, where you are born, and the list could keep going and going we have nothing but a human. Nothing more or less than human, a person, someone with feelings, a heartbeat, bones, a brain, red blood, this is the common factor this is what we all are!  So from this day forward my hope is that we all start using the human common factor and once we start doing this the world will become a much better place.

Color it is what makes the world brighter not different!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Pomeroy permalink
    June 20, 2012 6:41 pm

    Thank you again, Bill, for more extraordinary photos and for your very special blog. Get ready to weave this into a chapel talk!!

    • Bill Cashion permalink
      June 25, 2012 6:55 am


      Glad you have enjoyed the pictures. I have enjoyed taking them and posting what our students have written. Truly powerful and amazing.

  2. Steve Cashion permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:44 pm

    Great job brother I am very PROUD of you!!!!!!!! Your Brother Steve C.

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