Ever since I was wee, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be African.
In particular, South African.
My mother, when I was young, when I was very very young, told me about Apartheid, and I always wanted to see this beautiful country that had been rent apart. I desperately wanted that gorgeous, radiant dark brown skin. I wanted to look like those women in their beautiful brightly coloured dresses and turbans. I wanted a throaty, husky voice, and that smooth, intoxicating accent.
I understood that African women were being killed and raped and their children were being torn from them, and their husbands murdered. I understood it was not the sort of place you should want to live. I knew about Nelson Mandela and that he was being persecuted. I knew all that, and still I desperately wanted to be a South African woman. I wanted to dance in the dust of the parched earth with my sisters, the soles of my feet kicking up whorls with every step. I wanted those rhythms and those harmonies; I wanted the spicy scents and the dry, desert heat.