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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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Songs that inspire our journey

This morning when I switched on VH1 classic, the first song I heard was Neneh Cherry and Yossou N’Dour’s Seven Seconds, a classic song which contains the lyrics: “When a child is born into this world, he has no concept of the tone of skin he’s living in.”

This song to me encapsulates our journey. Often when we speak to people and tell them we’re adopting they say things like “did you at least manage to get a white child?”

No, Sky isn’t white, but why should that matter. She’s less than three months old, what does it matter what skin colour she is – she’s our baby and we are going to love her and she’s going to love us.

Here are some other songs with similar messages:

Michael Jackson’s  Black or White – “I’m not gonna spend my life being a colour”

Jimmy Nail and Ranking Roger, Black and White – A child is black, a child is white, the world looks upon the beautiful sight.

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony side by side on my piano, keyboard, oh Lord why don’t we?

And the gospel song Jesus loves the Little Children. – Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.