I remember vividly how some in my community thought that this was the moment for exiled freedom fighters to return home and drive white people out of South Africa. But the tone in my family gradually changed as we approached South Africa's first democratic elections in Elders at home began to help the young ones understand the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation as advocated by Mr Mandela. These were profound lessons that gradually and drastically changed my views too.
When I went to college to study journalism, I was exposed to students from different parts of the world. As a young man in my 20s, I was in experimental relationships with girls who were not from my background. In later years, it did not matter to me whether a person was a white South African, Portuguese or Angolan. However, many of my black friends couldn't understand the logic behind hanging out with people whose languages we did not understand.
Personally, I was fascinated by learning about a world different to mine. Fortunately for me, many of my dreams came true. We became friends and later started dating. Two years later, against her family's will, we moved in together. Daniela's uncle, who arrived in South Africa in the early s, was extremely sceptical about our relationship.
He refused to let me inside their house.
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Daniela's white South African friends also warned her about dating a black boy from Soweto. Most of my relatives told me it did not matter to them whether my partner was black or white, South African or not. While I was a bit shocked by their open-mindedness, I also saw their actions as a demonstration of their authentic commitment to Mr Mandela's dream of a Rainbow Nation. But post-honeymoon, reality hit and we started experiencing challenges that come with inter-racial relationships.
Some of Daniela's relatives discouraged us from starting a family. They said mixed-race children always had a tough upbringing because they do not have an identity. Interestingly, relations between myself and Daniela's family have improved tremendously in recent years. However, problems started to arise from my side of the family. Questions were being raised about Daniela's "lack of commitment" to our traditions. Daniela and I both agreed that culture evolves and therefore we would only follow what is practical.
But some members of my family remain totally opposed to our views. They feel that Daniela needs to follow or perform most of our traditions. For example, shortly after our son was born, Daniela was supposed to spend 10 days at my mother's house with the baby. But for us, this was not practical.
However, there are many things that Daniela has agreed to do.
For example, my family insisted on shaving our son's head at three months as opposed to my wife's belief that this should be done immediately after birth. But my feeling is that Daniela and I have it easy compared to some of our friends in mixed-race relationships. Bevin van Rooyen is a coloured mixed-race man who was born in Johannesburg. He met his girlfriend Jacqueline Louw, a white South African, while studying at an arts college in Johannesburg. Born in , Bevin, like me, did not experience much racism while growing up because South Africa was beginning to change.
I did not know what was happening. I was not welcome in the house. Her dad had issues," Bevin tells me. This means that, if you are looking for interracial dating with for instance Asian singles or black singles, we can do our best to help you meet someone great. That said, there are certain qualities that loosely bind our members together, like intelligence, education and career focus. Indeed, with an average age of , many of our users are in the prime of their careers and are looking equal success in love.
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To further support our users as they move through their dating journey, we provide a fully mobile-optimized magazine with the latest relationship advice including exclusive tips from our resident EliteSingles psychologist, Salama Marine! We understand that real compatibility is about more than just cultural backgrounds —which is why we also take factors like religion and lifestyle into account when connecting personalities. On top of this solid foundation is the fact that the majority of the single men and women on our site are marriage-minded — making it easier to find lasting, loving commitment with us.
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How South Africa is learning to live with mixed-race couples
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