1950s USA South/ 1960s South Africa Apartheid

1950s USA South/ 1960s South Africa Apartheid

Is there a difference?  You tell me. On my free walking tour on the history of South Africa, there were 14 of us.  As usual, I was the only American.  Other nations represented on this tour were: Russia, Germany, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Australia, England, The Netherlands,  Japan and Argentina.  Why was I the only one who shed tears when I saw this:


This bench, a reconstruction because the original had been vandalized, sits in front of the Cape Town Court House. I was overwhelmed with memories of 1950 Mississippi and drinking fountains that had signs that read “colored only.”  And pictured below is the block where slaves were sold. The auctioneers began with examining the teeth, like you do horses, to assess the overall health of the bodies for sale. More  tears spill down my cheeks.  If anyone else was touched, their faces did not show it. Was there a country in the group that had no oppression in their history? On the other tours I experienced a bond with my companions. Heads bobbing up and down in agreement with something the guide is explaining or a sense of humor expressed in knowing smiles of recognition of something ridiculous. Not on this tour. Only stone-faced silence.image


  1. Anne Stallworth McKeown

    28 January

    Tee, I do not understand the writing on the bench. Does that mean only blacks could sit there? Am loving your blog. Sounds like a book in the making! Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

    • tarpley

      31 January

      Anne, non-white only means black or Malay or Chinese – anyone judged to be not white. If there was a question, the government made a decision. People judged to be non- white carried papers to this effect. Thanks for reading!