narrator is having a conversation with a friend, Mr
Sheridan, and Thabo, a colleague from the Education Department.
things have changed a lot, haven’t they? »
« Not really, » Sheridan
says. «The whites still have everything and the blacks still have
« That isn’t true, » I
say. « Look at you. You couldn’t even attend university when you were
young, and here you’re a Director General with a master’s degree. »
« In spite of the changes, not
because of them! »
« But what are you comparing
things to? Ten years ago, your children would have had to go to school here in
the township, you would have had to go all the way to Vista to study. No white
principal would have given Thabo the time of day. Now he can put pressure on them. »
« None of the principals listen
to me, anyway. But that is not the
point. The changes you see are in places where they don’t make a difference. On
television black men are suddenly drinking whisky, black women are doing their
own laundry. In Kroonstad, a black man wears the mayor’s chain, there are black
children in the white schools. But these things don’t matter. As soon as black
people take control of something, that thing loses its power. Sjoep! Suddenly the power is gone, and
you look around and see that the whites have twisted things here and there, and
taken the power with them. It is somewhere else again. »
« Oh, please. Where does the
power lie in Kroonstad? The state gives millions to municipality-which is run
by blacks! - To look after the poor. But instead of doing that, they pay
themselves big salaries and employ double the number of officials. Whose fault
is that? Where have whites taken the power? As I see it, the whites are the only
ones paying their rates and taxes. »(…)
He pours the tea that his wife has
brought in. He is angry.
I regret my words, but also realize that our good relationship is bound to
have its tensions. Our lives have diverged over the years.
Thabo is shaking snuff from a small
tin. Then he takes another container from his pocket, filled with sugar-free
tablets, and puts three in his tea.
« Something else may be missing
here, » says Thabo.
1990, we all had distorted images of each other.
like this and blacks are like that. From 1990 to 1994, we realized with growing
astonishment how many things we actually do have in common. How much is shared
between Afrikaner and African. How little Ubuntu Communism and Boere Socialism
differ from one another, how much of an old-fashioned Christian ethic
underscores all our comings and goings. This is why the elections were such a
success. Because of what bound us together and what future we
« And what was that? »
« I would say: in spite of
our different colours and languages and incomes, we accepted that we are
actually of each other, we care for one another, we will stand in queues
together and vote, because we grant each other a future in this country. »
Comprehension de l’écrit
1. Read the text. Identify the
characters, say who the narrator is and what we learn about Mr. Sheridan
(family, education). Answer in your own words.(20-30 words)
2. Say whether the narrator, Mr.
Sheridan and Thabo are white or black and explain how you have deduced it.
3. Read the text from line 1 to line
30:”…taxes”. Indicate why the narrator and Mr Sheridan do not agree with each
other. Explain in your own words.(20-30 words)
4. Read the text from line 31: “he
pours…”to line 34:”…years”.
Explain the narrator’s feelings.
5. Sum up what Thabo thinks about the
evolution of the relationships between blacks and whites (line 38:”something
else…”to line 48: “… envisioned”).
6. In the last paragraph, analyze the
vision Thabo has on the cohabitation between whites and blacks.
7. Continue the story. White the
8. Can people from different origins
and cultures lives peacefully together in the same country? Justify your
answer. (200 words)