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Servants in Apartheid South Africa

Posted by on September 15, 2012

I ’m writing about South Africa – or should I say, my family life there as it was when we were waited on by servants, and Apartheid ruled.  So this gives me Time and Place to start with, as well as dramatis personae.  These are taken as exemplars of this strange world  which we took for granted.

I have to be careful to strike a line between being overtly political (after all I am not setting out as a critique of the regime, although this can only be implicitly given), and on the other hand, being too personal a story to be of interest  beyond that of the family, or even them.

Difficulties I have encountered include: getting opinions from those surviving people who were our servants –  as servants they are conditioned  to say what the white person wants to hear, and thus the truth is inaccessible;  any interviewer is unlikely to have any interviewer training – or even fails adequately to grasp the idea of the sort of info I want; and there is also the problem of distance.

So I have to rely mostly on my own memories and critical faculty.

Clare B

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