No one could give her a forwarding address for her parents. Her African features were almost certainly a throwback to an unknown ancestor whose DNA, having lain dormant for generations, had emerged in her. Trying to reconcile with her family in the s, Laing The story of sandra laing that her father had died and her mother Sannie refused to see her.
Then he began hitting her with a sjambok, a whip traditionally made of leather thongs or rhinoceros hide.
The London-based director Anthony Fabian told me: Treated as white by her parents and two brothers, Adriaan and Leon, she attended the Dutch Reformed Church and was reared as a God-fearing Afrikaner superior to blacks and "coloureds", those of mixed race.
And through a quirk of genetics, ten-year-old Sandra was about to become another potent symbol of a nation built on race and prejudice. Except for secret trips to see her mother when her father was out of the house, Laing was estranged from her family and struggled to survive economically.
Sandra would not be allowed to keep her two children unless she was reclassified coloured, as they were, but her father refused his consent, and without documents she had to eke out a living with odd jobs.
Finally, they had succeeded.
But when Sandra was a schoolgirl, this aspect of genetics was unknown and there was no such thing as a DNA test. She entered the world ina beautiful baby by all accounts, who could be expected to grow up in a close-knit family amid mines of gold and forests of pine.
Two policemen escorted the year-old home. The likeness is startling. More recent studies put the number slightly higher, at 11 per cent. Sandra has accomplished a great deal against all odds. She traced a cousin, Susanna, who told her that her father had died of throat cancer a year earlier.
A Spiritual Journey Skin Deep: She remains the one prepared to carry the blame for a family tragedy that was far beyond her control.
I had chosen not to be their sister and I had to lie on the bed I had made for myself, he said. Sandra remembers, early in her first year at primary school, a group of girls began teasing her incessantly.
She went on to suffer domestic violence, destitution and the death of one of her six children. She liked chatting with the customers, especially Petrus Zwane, a Swazi vegetable seller. They had three children together and she was able to reclaim her first two; all are now grown and with families of their own.
A performance by Zulu dancers drove the dog wild and Sandra even joined in the laughter. By now Sandra felt more at ease with non-whites and at the age of 16 she eloped with a Zulu-speaking vegetable-seller, Petrus Zwane. The story became an international scandal at the time and media pressure forced the law to change, so that she became officially White again.
Even today, hers is a name with which most South Africans are familiar. In the communal showers, her tormentors would say: The Sandra Laing story is one that has needed telling for decades.
Wellwishers and dignitaries of all colours made speeches to honour what they called a survivor, a symbol of triumph over despair. Laing lost contact with her family completely. Her daughter, Elsie, remembers being surprised to see her mother standing at the school gate.
For four years, teachers and the parents of other pupils at her all-white primary school had fought to have her expelled on the grounds that she was of mixed race. But only one person knows the true cost of the decision, that day, to hound a girl from her school, and that is Sandra herself.
At first, he slapped her. The newspaper helped her find her mother, and they were able to reconcile. At the age of 26, she arranged for the change in race classification officially, although her father had refused permission earlier. By a biological quirk, the pigment of an unknown black ancestor had lain dormant for generations and manifested in Sandra.
I felt at home. Nature had played a trick. She knew Petrus had a wife and three children, but by the time she turned 14, she burned with a schoolgirl crush. Mostly I try just to forget the past. Genetic throwbacks were not unheard of but if there was ever a wrong place and wrong time for this phenomenon, it was apartheid South Africa.Jan 08, · It took 30 years, the death of her father and the end of apartheid for Sandra Laing - a black child born to white parents - to find her mother.
This is her story. When Sandra was born to white parents inher skin was undeniably darker. At 11, she. The Hardcover of the When She Was White: The Story of Sandra Laing: Race and Reconciliation in South Africa by Judith Stone at Barnes & Noble.
FREE. Sandra Laing was born in to Sannie and Abraham Laing, Afrikaners in Piet Retief, a small conservative town in South Africa during the apartheid era, when laws governed officially established social castes of racial classification.
She had darker skin than other members of her family, which seemed to become more obvious as she grew older. During the worst years of official racism in South Africa, the story of one young girl gripped the nation and came to symbolize the injustice, corruption, and arbitrary nature of apartheid.
Born in to a pro-apartheid Afrikaner couple, Sandra Laing was officially registered and raised as a white child.4/5(33).
At the first sight of Sandra no one, not the nurse, her mother, father or neighbours would admit the obvious. Nature had played a trick. Abraham and Sannie Laing were white, their parents, grandparents and great grandparents were white, yet their daughter was dark.
South Africa's Sandra Laing's life story of colorism in the age of apartheid inspired the film "Skin." Kenya N. Byrd Oct, 30, Most can’t imagine being disowned and estranged from their parents for 27 years, but Sandra Laing, a “colored” South African woman experienced that and more during the .Download