Who I am – Who am I?

My nationality has always been important to me. Defined by the country I was born in and the people to whom I was born. I was born Swazi. I was raised in Swaziland. Every time I visited another country people would ask me “where do you come from” and the answer was always so simple. “Born and bred in Swaziland.”


The responses varies from confused; “where?” to surprised. “I didn’t know there were white people in Swaziland” to which I’ve grown weary of explaining that I’m not even white anyway. It’s not race that matters to me, it’s the ignorance that gets me.

I’ve been told by other Swazis that I’m not Swazi. I’ve been told my skin in too light. My accent too different. My failings to learn the national language a definite sign of “not being Swazi”. “If I’m not, then who and what am I?” I’ve always asked. I had never known anything more. I had never identified with anything else.

Cape Town

Then I moved here – to Cape Town. Home. A new home. A home of my choosing. I didn’t know at the time that I was choosing this as my home. I moved here to University. At some point, it made sense to get my South African citizenship and having two parents with South African documents made that a breeze.

[bctt tweet=”Our true nationality is mankind – H.G. Wells”]

So now, when people ask where I’m from, it’s more complicated. I say South Africa but that I was born in Swaziland. My heart, calls Swaziland home but I will never live there again, my home now, is here. So where does that leave me?

My Cape Town Baby

Today I realised for the first time, that my baby, born in September will be South African. He will not think of Swaziland as home. He will not tell tales of growing up on the farm and he will not know the places I speak about, like the back of his palm. His memories of growing up will be so different to mine. I suppose that’s price you pay for leaving home. Is it much of a price at all?

Am I sad that he will grow up in Cape Town? Not for a second. I suppose I’m just nostalgic for my own childhood – which was wonderful, and I don’t know what his will be for him. I have no experience as a child in a city. My weekends were spent riding through hills on horseback.

Who I am - Who am I | Tyranny of Pink

His childhood will be perfect. Just different from mine.

I suppose it’s just a strange thing when who you are and who your children will be are two different things. He will be who he is. I will always be me. I had just always imagined that childhood looked like it does in my memories – but I suppose, that place doesn’t exist anymore anyway.




  • gorgeandropodi
    19th July 2015

    As H.G Wells put it, “Our true nationality is mankind”. We are all part of one human race at the end of the day. Memories are just that, but they are good to have because they are part of who we are. Life is interesting and awesome all in because of our individuality. A good blog Jonelle and you are loking good and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

    • TyrannyofPink
      20th July 2015

      Absolutely… I love that quote. I wish more people believed that. Thanks Gorge, this post was a little bit of a personal crisis as I realised my son will have such a different life but we all need to make our own memories and that’s what makes life so exciting. Thank you, as usual, for your wonderful comments 🙂

  • Heather
    21st June 2015

    There are some things you just can’t control but there are advantages too. I regret that we aren’t in PE near my parents. I grew up next door to Afrikaans people and learnt the language and now I don’t have that for Nicky. But… he has so many other things, and two parents that love him, I know it’s all going to work out fine…

    • TyrannyofPink
      22nd June 2015

      I think moving out of our comfort zone helps to open up the way we raise our children. I would be a different person if I spent all my life living in a small town (there are fewer smaller towns than the ones in Swaziland). The ways of thinking are just different because people aren’t exposed to many different things. In order to have eye opening experiences you literally have to cross over borders. I think we do our children a favour by “having somewhere to go back to” instead of never leaving. I like to think so at least. And as you say, having parents that love them is already more than many children have. I’m pretty certain you will expose Nicky to many other things. <3

  • paddy
    20th June 2015

    Awesome J love it sad but true

    • TyrannyofPink
      20th June 2015

      Thanks Paddy 🙂

  • Luchae Williams
    19th June 2015

    Yes, I agree! My babe will also be growing up way differently than I did, and I guess thats okay 🙂 They have their own journeys to go on! xxxx

    • TyrannyofPink
      Luchae Williams
      19th June 2015

      I think the hard part Luchae is coming to terms with how different the world is anyway all these years later. Those places in our memories aren’t real anymore so it’s probably a good thing that they get their own journeys. I think as parents, it’ll never be easy to accept!


  • Jolene
    19th June 2015

    Joni, you just write everything so beautifully!!!

    • TyrannyofPink
      19th June 2015


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