Good whites, bad blacks and sell-outs

Rejoice, ye my detractors. Today I am giving you ammunition to call me an out and out sell-out.

Rejoice, ye my detractors. Today I am giving you ammunition to call me an out and out sell-out.

In just one week, I experienced the very best the white community can offer, and the very worst from my own race.

Let's start with the good.

I am standing in a queue at a supermarket. An old white man, flanked by an even older white woman, doddered towards me. They are probably the oldest people I have ever seen, and they seem to be in excruciating pain.

As they painfully make their way towards me, I think how inconsistent we, the human race, are. If these two were dogs or horses, the SPCA would have had them put down. But they are human, so they have to suffer until they voluntarily take their last breath.

While these evil thoughts are playing out in my mind, the twosome jump the queue and stand right in front of me.

I am at a loss for words. Hell, I was going to offer, but they had no bloody right to cut right in front of me without asking .

The cashier beckons them to come forward for their shopping to be processed. At that point, the old man turns around, and with a wrinkled, trembling bent finger that has obviously endured years of arthritis, points at me and says: "No, he's first."

I invite him to go ahead and he thanks me. While he is being served, he tugs my shirt gently and says: "You, smile!"

I giggle stupidly.

When he is done, he turns around and says to me: "Smile again!"

I indulge him.

As he walks away, he waves at me and says: "God bless you, my friend. Smile."

I love this old man. Obviously smiles mean a lot to him, and he is a gentleman's gentleman. How wonderful it would be to have a grandfather, I think.

A couple of days later, I am sitting in a busy take-away restaurant having a snack. A dignified black oke sidles up to my table and takes a chair next to me. Well, I thought it was discourteous to join strangers at their tables in a restaurant, especially if there are other vacant tables.

But he does.

He greets me like we are great buddies. I become suspicious when he starts commenting about "those chips" on my plate.

"People like them (the chips). How are they?" "Ag," I say, "not bad."

He strikes a conversation about the weather. I blabber something in response, and while I am talking, he leans over and grabs a handful of my chips.

"Eish . let's eat," he says as he invites himself to my food. He digs in for more and wolfs the stuff down like it's melting in his mouth.

The bugger is hungry and has the appetite of a refugee. But surely he should have asked.

Let's eat? I should be saying so ... those should be my lines, I think.

I look at his greasy paws and decide I can't share with him. So I lie, standing up to go: "Ek was klaar oraet .. maybe I was too hungry."

I leave him to feast alone on my food. So there you go: there are some good whites, and there are some bad blacks.

Now tell me I am a sell-out. Or that colonialists have screwed up my mind.

l Charles Mogale is the editor of Sunday World