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My life was unique from the day I was born. My mother is a black South African and my father is Greek. My mother was born on a farm in a rural area; my father was born on a sunny Greek island. They met at university and it was love at first sight.
In apartheid South Africa, it was rare to see an interracial couple, but my parents believed that our beloved country would one day change. Despite all the stares and the whispering, they soldiered on. They publicly took walks on the beach and went to movies together which seems very normal, but was like the sighting of an eclipse under the apartheid regime.
At the dawn of democracy in 1994, I was born. I was the little ‘mixed blessing’. My parents had been together for 9 years and now finally had a child. I viewed the world through the eyes of a child. I saw nothing wrong with my family; however people would often stare at us. I just thought it was because my mother was so beautiful.
My views changed significantly when I went to crèche. The children would often ask if I was adopted, which was a preposterous idea to me. They would often ask me humiliating questions about my parents. For a while I felt ashamed of myself and would ask my mother or father to wait in the car and send my older mixed-race cousin to fetch me from crèche.
However, everything changed as I grew up. At primary school there were many other children with parents of different races. They made me feel like I was a part of them. I was no longer the lonely mixed-race girl. I still faced embarrassing questions at times, but I grew in confidence and always had witty replies.
It is now 16 years later. When I go out with my family, we still get the odd look or two. But it doesn’t matter because I know that I am a beautiful mixed race girl. I don’t need to be black or white.
– 16-year-old from South Africa (female)
This entry is part of a series of essays and messages from the publication "Adolescence - Beyond the Stereotypes" - written, compiled and edited by adolescents and young people themselves with support from Voices of Youth and UNICEF.