I have recently returned from a trip to South Africa, where I was born and spent my first forty-three years in this life.
A week before I went there, serious xenophobic attacks broke out and sadly, many people met a violent end.
I was asked by friends in the UK whether I thought it was wise to go there, and my answer was
When I was young, we were taught to respect people that were older than us, regardless of who they were. I, in my youthful rebellion, disagreed. For me it was far more important to respect people for what they have done and how they have proven themselves.
There is a tradition in my culture that where a person is more than ten years older than me, I am not allowed to call this person by his or her name, because that would be disrespectful.
I recently read a very interesting book, The Bookseller of Kabul, written by Åsne Seierstad. The book provides a snapshot of an Afghan family and their daily lives. From a Western point of view the patriarchal society and the oppression of both women and men is probably shocking, but for those people it is a way of life.
The book raised an interesting question for me. The question does not only cover large issues such as