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What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?

It’s strange that while the SABC was used as a propaganda tool in the 1980s to try to perpetuate the apartheid doctrine, two popular American programmes which the broadcaster had no problem in showing were Diff’rent Strokes and Webster.

Both involved white families adopting black children.

Diff’rent Strokes ran in the US from 1978 to 1985 (I think in SA we still had it on screen into the early ’90s) and told the story of a white man who adopted his deceased employee’s children Arnold and Willis who became brothers to his biological daughter, Kimberley.

Webster ran from 1983 to 1987 and also featured a black child whose biological parents had died and was adopted by his white godparents.

Maybe by showing these programmes the SABC was trying to prove that the only way black people could be uplifted was by being guided by white people, or some other weird racist ideology.

But for the children watching these shows three decades ago, it has led to a generation of South Africans who are more than happy to adopt children of another race.

If Trixi and I lived in a bubble, I don’t think we’d ever think of Sky as black – she’s our daughter, end of story. But we are aware of the realities of other people’s prejudices and will do everything in our power to make her prepared for when she has to face the outside world, but at the same time make her know that she is loved unconditionally at home and that she should not judge others based on race, culture, religion or circumstance.

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