A Coloured South African Teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand
This dissertation investigates my personal identity and how it has been shaped by large historical and social forces, including racism, colonialism and patriarchy. I am an immigrant South African teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand: one of many who appreciate living in a society where overt racism is not accepted. Being Coloured meant I knew both worlds and could accept what each brought: languages, cultures and value systems. I had an advantage over many relatives and friends since I had developed my sense of identity early in life, and was equally proud of all sides of my family heritage.
Migration is a conscious decision to leave one’s country of birth and re-establish oneself in another country. People migrate for a variety of reasons – new opportunities, for a safer environment for their families, for a better life. Acceptance by the adoptive country determines how well the migrant can settle into life there. I found that the concept of ‘Coloured’ was often viewed as unacceptable in Aotearoa New Zealand. I realised the need to be open about my bi-ethnic heritage, which led to my acceptance.
Having been brought up as a native speaker of English and with knowledge of British culture worked to my advantage as a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand. A clear sense of identity and pride in my ethnic heritage has given me tolerance for cultural difference that is an advantage in developing a culturally responsive classroom practice.