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Strong but Vulnerable

Vulnerable Enough to Live but Strong Enough to Survive

Interview conducted by Ms. Tarryn Lua.

When I was in the third grade, Nelson Mandela came to visit New York city. He was part of a parade in Manhattan and he was in a bulletproof car. My mother pulled us out of school that day. As she explained to my sister and I, he was one of our leaders. We were responsible to be there to receive him.

Our name, Black Asia Magazine, explains itself in a mere few words. The title encompasses our mission. This site was founded as a way for people of the African diaspora, living in Asia, to share resources and grow in this part of the world. With that said, it does exist in the public domain. If other communities or individuals can benefit from our endeavors, its our pleasure to provide that.

The overwhelming majority of people we interview are black. Rarely, do we interview people from other communities. The interview below is one of our exceptions.

The subject of this interview is Ms. Catherine Openshaw. She has a unique and varied background. She grew up partly in Taiwan and partly in South Africa. She had to make herself very vulnerable to give us this interview. The history of South Africa is strikingly similar to the history of the United States. This is especially true with regard to race and the politics between different groups of people.

Catherine comes from one of these groups. She comes from a family that identifies as white. Over the course of her interview with BAM, Catherine goes into detail about this. Growing up, as Catherine shares with us, her household saw its fair share of conflict. This came about because of differences in opinion.

She spent a number of years trying to change the minds of her parents; both of whom were raised with some very traditional South African views.

This particular interview met with 2 distinct reactions from BlackAsiaMagazine’s audience. The first reaction was confusion. We’ve had friends, neighbors and viewers confront us with 1 specific question: ‘Why in the hell would you conduct an interview like this?’ For many black people globally, the views expressed by Catherine and Afrikaners in general, is frankly… reprehensible. Some people couldn’t bear to finish watching.

The second reaction was praise, which came in the form of respect. As 1 viewer put it, “This interview spoke.” Conducting this sort of interview with such a vastly different subject was seen as a bold, rather a vanguard move on our part. It reached the heart of some very sensitive issues that are not often explored on any platform.

So how should we frame the answer to this most pressing of questions…’why’. What prompted BlackAsiaMagazine to conduct this interview? We live all over the world. Black people, people of African decent, Moors, people of color; we are called different things at different times and places. For this piece, BAM had to leave itself vulnerable to criticism.

As a global diaspora, there are certain key, crucial issues that strike a chord with all of us as a group. One of these issues is the reality of apartheid in South Africa. The world has, for the past few decades been a student of this situation and what it has evolved to be.

As a group, the situation in SA is one thing that defines us internationally. What else would BAM do besides examine a question which is at the core of our identity? As journalists, we are compelled to be impartial. All questions are multi-faceted, there is more than one side.

This question is no different. So… what does the other side think? What are the thoughts and feelings of a white South-African with regard to her own society and the legacies handed down to her? It is our hope that this interview conveys just that.

What do you think?

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