Good Friday seems like a good day to start a new series. It just feels right. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Recently I have been inundated with content about racism in every shape and form – from issues with mixed race parents or cross racial adoption to being asked to write about it on Heritage Day. There is just so much that we could say on the topic as it’s still touches a very raw nerve in South Africa (and rightfully so).
Besides the odd intentional racist, I feel like a lot of the hurtful comments are actually just brought about through ignorance. Thinking only of our own personal situations with little regard for others, because that’s all that we know. So in an effort to broaden what we know, I thought I would interview a wide range of South Africans that have a variety of different situations – from mixed race couples to single race couples that adopt cross racially to couples that share the same “race” but differ vastly in terms of culture. A bit of a mumble jumble of everything really.
So let’s get started!
I want this to be a safe space where we can share stories and encourage each other to be more accepting of our fellow South Africans of all race, culture and situation. So while I want to encourage your to comment and open a discussion, I will not tolerate any abusive or troll like comments here.
Today we’re chatting to Stephanie Knapp who is part of the sweetest little family, so get your coffee ready and settle in.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
I am 23 24 years old (Since having my daughter my brain is just too tired to remember this.) I was born and bred in the Mother City. I studied Journalism and now write for an awesome travel company… so basically I do what I love (writing) and get to travel for free. I am such a foodie, love love love eating everything! I’m told I am quite bossy and controlling, which is true. I am actually very soft-hearted and cry quite easily, even for sad adverts. There is so much I still want to do… study further and really give back… I yearn to be able to volunteer but just don’t have the time right now as my little one keeps me so busy.
I met my fiancé Allan back in 2007, we have been together for about 8 years now. (He finally proposed in Dec 2014) We were blessed with our beautiful daughter in Jan 2014.
- Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc
Allan is 27 years old and works for a well-known health company but dreams of opening his own business one day…he’d love to open a family-friendly restaurant with it’s own awesome skate park. (He has a massive love for skateboarding)
Ally is a really giving person and does everything humanely possibly to give Harper and I the best. We appreciate him so.
- Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds.
I come from a really laid back family, we speak to each other on a first name basis, no aunty this or uncle that.
My mom is a boertjie originally from up-country somewhere and my pops is a handsome, English-speaking Capetonian. Uhm race has really not been a topic in our household as it’s just not that important really.
Allan and his family come from Bridgetown (a small area within Athlone). They are also quite laid-back and are a really close-knit unit.
Allan and I we’re brought up quite differently. Although we have many differences, we are also very similar on a personal level – in terms of what we want, how we view the world and how we’d like to bring up our daughter.
- Tell us all about your kid – brag a bit – it’s OK 😉
Little Miss Harper Maria is our caramelo bear. She is so incredibly smart and funny. She’s really silly just like us. She is growing way too quickly for my liking… I am so proud of her and her achievements thus far. She amazes us every day… She has become quite feisty lately (just like her mama.) She may look like her dad, but she sure will have my mouth/attitude/personality.
- How do you and your partner view race in your relationship? What kind of role does it play in your family? Does it even feature?
Race has never been an issue for us or our families. My family loves Allan and his family love me just as much.
- Are there big differences in your marriage relationship that are affected by your heritage/culture?
- How have your families reacted to your relationship?
Our families are happy for us as they know how much we love each other. Everyone was overjoyed when he finally proposed lol
- What kind of experiences have you or your partner had when you have been out with your kids (alone with them or together as a family)?
Hmm, actually I don’t know… besides the fact that I really couldn’t care less about what people think of us, Harper keeps me so busy, I don’t have time to look around or take note of these types of things.
- What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your fiance about this issue?
Thankfully nothing yet and I pray it doesn’t as I am quite outspoken and will let it rip. (Allan gets so embarrassed by me sometimes haha)
- What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
Be outspoken (not rude). Say something. Don’t let things slide, stand up for yourself, your relationship and your family. Mixed-race families are so incredibly beautiful and unique. Be proud.
- Did you have any fears about parenting mixed race children before you had them? Have any of those fears changed since becoming a Mommy/Daddy to kids with mixed genes?
Not really, Allan and I are quite similar in our parenting techniques so things have gone smoothly thus far and for the most part Harper has been an angel.
- Do you have any advice for those new to this experience?
The little things you worry about will disappear once your little one arrives. Don’t waste your time on the little stuff, enjoy your little one.