Slice of life: I’m discovering my history

I had to quit my job and move from my home in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape — a town best known for its Volkswagen manufacturing plant. I didn’t want to work in a factory my whole life.

So I studied tourism and came to Cape Town to work in the hotel industry. But I soon got bored; my mind started wondering. I wanted more. I wanted to challenge myself more and more. So I studied to become a tour guide.

I feel so fulfilled in this city. It’s so beautiful, but there’s so much more to it. It has so much history. But more than that, moving here opened up my mind to what it means to be a coloured person.

Back home my family didn’t talk about where we came from. I didn’t have what I could say was my culture. So I am now on a path myself to find out where I come from.

It’s funny, because while I am working and showing people around this city I am learning so much about indigenous Khoi and San tribes. People like Krotoa, Autshumato and Doman — the first freedom fighters
of South Africa. All this learning, things being uncovered before my eyes are bringing me closer to where
my people come from. From where I come from.

We are known as coloured people here in South Africa. It’s like a blanket has been thrown over us so
that we can’t see. We’ve lost so much in our cultural identity. I’m slowly taking off that blanket for myself.
— Bjorn Prins, as told to Lester Kiewit

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

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