- Posted August 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
The fact of the matter is that stories were told before or made up, implicating foreigners of mistreating locals at work places or even assaulting them, hiking charges in private places such as hair salons, restaurants to try and eliminate locals as most of them are of low income pay, but most of us did not pay much attention, but until it happens to you that's when you feel it from deep within. It’s like a cutting sword penetrating within your skin, deep within an inch of your heart...
The year was 2002, if my memory serves me well, when it all happened to me. I had just left my Compound in the City of Gaborone phase 4 area in the early evening feeling an empty stomach and I just wanted to go get some take away at a nearby restaurant since I was just alone and felt a little lazy to cook after having guzzled a six pack of Heineken beer. As soon as I got inside the restaurant, hardly a few seconds after taking a sit to wait for my order of Chinese rice with meat, a White lady appeared in front of the counter, her eyes wandering all over and without wasting any chance she shouted 'who is that', the waitresses feeling the wreath of the angry lady tried to explain that I had ordered a meal and I was waiting for my order, but that did not deter her from unleashing her anger and frustration as she kept shouting at them with a heavy English. I could sense that she was probably from neighboring South Africa or somewhere else across the world, but presumably not English or American. At that moment I felt a tinge inside my body, and I new that anger was beginning to grow inside of me as I felt reality was beginning to strike. I began to realize inside the restaurant I was the only black person and the rest of the people coming in were probably Asian, Indian and a few whites, most of them had their families with them and wearing suits, like we see in mafia movies. That's when I knew that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The angry lady quickly told them to prepare my meals and see me off. They immediately told me not to go anywhere, probably as a sign of protest as if they were ready to lay their tools off and quit the job. At that moment I really felt sorry for the poor ladies, who are there only because life is so difficult out there in the city without a job.
I began to also try vest my anger at her by posing a challenging move as I held the front legs of my chair upright above the matted floor of the smartly furnished restaurant, but she reluctantly stared at me if to say 'get lost' and then she disappeared into the backroom, probably to go and fast forward things inside the cooking room for me to be served quickly so I could vamoose, But the Few cans that I have hammered gave me some momentum as I silently whispered to myself 'you are not going anywhere Tepza', and just let the drama unfolds itself and see what’s next. I then thought to myself one way or the other something was going on in this building, the racial profiling, and the men in suits with their families, probably I have stamped on the mafia den, and was an unwelcome guest, especially with my color. Maybe I have intruded and could probably kill her business, by intruding on security of her guest, and she has to insure that she build trust with them even if she have to racially profile me, and see me out of their corridors, though the front of the premises is not labeled ‘private entry’ or ‘invitation by pre order only’.
A few minutes after the nightmare, while I was trying to figure out as to exactly what was going on, the waitress was standing in front of me to hand me my take-away meal. I quickly grabbed them and was out through the door, on my way I could not get the thought of the ordeal out of my mind as I kept telling myself that I could probably alert the authorities, but where do I start, do I start by saying 'I was racially discriminated against' will they buy my story or do I report suspicious activities in a restaurant, will that add up or make sense. I arrived home ate my meal, which I was already not tasteful because of what I have been through and the pain I was feeling inside of me. Days later I still hadn't told the authorities about my ordeal, but I did to share it out with my and friends to try and ease the pain away. Even today I haven't publicly told the story, but several stories of racial discrimination have been reported in newspapers, and it seems to date the situation is improving locally and probably across the world. A few years later the restaurant was closed and was replaced by a local pub, though I don’t know if the reasons of closure are related to any of the situations I suspected or it was out of business failure, though am constantly reminded of that very day every time I pass by the place. In actual reality this might seem a far cry compared to what might be happening in other areas, especially when it happens in worldwide sporting activities, which probably could have been thought to be exemplary in ending this stigma.