Dora's - Fight For Equal Rights
This is a fictional story based on true events that occurred during the Apartheid Era in South Africa. My aim in writing this short story is to foster awareness about racism by mainly focussing on the 1960s-1980s (20th century) when the Apartheid system was in place. More
My intention is to send across the message of how discrimination occurred in South Africa in those days and reminding human kind the challenged that one had to face in those days.
My particular inspiration to write about the prejudice that took place in South Africa came from my past nanny, Dora. She had worked for and taken care of a wealthy Jewish South African family for over three decades throughout the Apartheid era. One day without much notice, they decided to leave the country, leaving her with no pension. This family was very close to her heart, as she had raised their three children and was left heart-broken. She needed a job and my family needed a domestic worker. Dora came in one Monday morning for an interview. I was one year old at the time, and she told my mother that she would be prepared to clean the house but she felt she was too old to take care of me. We agreed to Dora’s conditions and our family was so happy, as she was an amazing worker and a phenomenal, principled person. With time, Dora quickly fell in love with me and could not wait to see her little “Dudu” (in this case it was me) every morning. I would literally run into her arms every morning. I feel that I have many principles today, because of the qualities that she taught me about life. Sadly Dora passed away with cancer in 2006, but has always retained a special place in our hearts. This book is dedicated to her, and describes the harsh times that non-whites had to face during the Apartheid era.
I based the fictional story on real events as I thought it would be the best way to communicate the historical occurrences to readers. I used fictional characters but included some real people that made significant differences in the Apartheid such as Nelson Mandela. My purpose in using fictional characters was to create an emotional connection between the readers for them to comprehend the difficulties that different characters had to face. The book is also intended to educate the readers about South Africa and the 20th century of the Apartheid era.
I have written the division of chapters by using different character voices. I have written it in two character perspectives, as I want to express both sides of Apartheid, the white side and the non-white side. The main characters are Dora and Danie, which express both sides of the Apartheid system.
The story is about a sixteen year old black girl that lives in Soweto with her mother Anesu. Anesu takes care of the white Coetzer family that lives in Boksburg, Johannesburg. In the family, she takes care of a sixteen-year-old boy named Danie that initially is influenced by the white racist society to believe one way until he meets Dora. This event changes his perspective about Apartheid and leaves him in a conflicted situation. Dora however believes that she can make and must make a change. Her friends Hector Pieterson and Kimone Lesendi, convince her that together they can change a law by peacefully rioting in front of the Department of Bantu Education. Nevertheless things swiftly change directions, and the situation gets out of control.