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The unequal battle

Privilege, genes, gender and power

WHEN I WAS eight years old I visited South Africa, my dad’s homeland, for the first time. I’ll never forget flying into Jo’burg, looking down over the houses in the city and seeing hundreds of turquoise squiggles and dots. ‘Wow,’ I said, excitedly, ‘everyone has a swimming pool here!’

My dad gave me a stern look. ‘Not everyone,’ he said. It was 1987, and apartheid was in its final throes.

I learnt a lot on that trip – my first taste of inequality at its most raw. It was Passover when we visited. Springtime in Europe, autumn in the southern hemisphere. I lifted the calendar off my grandpa’s wall and turned the pages. What month must we be in now, I tried to estimate. September? Maybe October? ‘Eh!’ said my grandpa when he noticed someone had changed the calendar, ‘Why is this on the wrong month? It’s April!’

By the end of the trip... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 59: Commonwealth Now © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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