On Tuesday, 15 October 2019, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation hosted its 10th annual lecture delivered by retired Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs, who was in conversation with Nomboniso Gasa. At the same time, the top three winners in the Foundation's Youth Essay Writing Competition Against Racism were announced. They were Jaydon Farao, 24, of Eerste River, Cape Town; Charissa Cassels, 23, of King William's Town; and Mbalenhle Shandu, 17, of Felixton, KwaZulu-Natal. These are their essays:
What I heard
By Jaydon Farao
When I was 10, I got into the habit of eavesdropping on adult conversations. A perilous and thrilling endeavour. It was around this age when I first heard the word I wasn't supposed to hear. A relative had uttered it with a casualness of a Sunday afternoon stroll. The context of the conversation eludes my memory, but the word's pronouncement remains indelible.
They said k*ffir.
The way in which the word strolled from their mouth, briefly sitting on their lips, only to rush out and permeate the innocence of my ears, was horrifying. The word had immense weight, leaving me unable to discard it from memory. A dark mould capitalising on my infantile consciousness. I stared into the...