The Black people of Azania, the ancestral name of South Africa, were insulted when De Klerk was referred to as the country's president.
F.W. de Klerk was the last overseer of South Africanapartheid.
He was surrounded by his loved ones and top-of-the-line medical staff when he died. The nation is still reeling from the effects of a grotesque regime that still grips the nation 27 years after so-called freedom.
My 3-year-old self was held captive by the de Klerk regime. The Black people of Azania, the ancestral name of South Africa, were insulted when De Klerk was referred to as the country's president.
FW de Klerk and his wife attend the Red Carpet event prior to the 2010 Soccer World Cup Final Draw at theCTICC on December 4, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Organising Committee of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
I was born in a place called iNanda in the province of Kwa-Zulu-Natal, which is now called South Africa. I was born on the land of my ancestors, which was fought for and kept by my great great-grandfather.
In this land of my ancestors, I was taught to firmly plant my feet and walk back straight, shoulders back and head high, where my umbilical cord was ceremonially planted in one of the few sacred rituals that my family and others like us were able to still preserve in resistance to de Kle
The planting of the umbilical cord is meant to serve as the cord that will always connect one to home, no matter how far away they are.
Former South African President F.W. de Klerk attended the official memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. The photo was taken by Chip Somodevilla.
I faced the police for the first time when I was two years old. They were looking for teenage anti-apartheid freedom fighters. The teenage freedom fighters were tortured, killed, and thrown in mass graves, which we later learned was the reason they disappeared. Without the death rituals that unite them in peace with their ancestors and God, they were lost.
As the military tanks roared toward us, we ran for the nearest shelter. When I close my eyes, I can still hear the heavy breathing and whispers of my neighbors, and I feel the heat from the sweat and tears of my neighbors as we all instinctively held tight to one another. For a long time, my memory was scattered, with my mother yelling my name out of the shed, people crying, the shed door being cracked, and me being pushed out.
My grandmother who had already escaped to the United States would tell us about how people were protesting. We were forgotten in daily life. As civil conflicts increased, my grandmother began to arrange for us to escape to the United States, but we could only do it as visitor visa holders because no refugee status was issued for black South Africans.
Dan Kitwood is the photographer.
During the height of the crack epidemic, my mother was exiled from all she had known and began her life in Harlem, New York. She was alone in a one-bedroom apartment with four children. I struggled being a Black immigrant girl with a name that requires you to take your time in my new life. I was surrounded by people who looked like me, but they didn't greet me with smiles.
I fight for documentation for millions of immigrants who have stories like mine, who have been disconnected from home, family and culture. If the Build Back Better Act does not include a pathway to citizenship in the form of green cards, American leadership will fail me again.
31 years ago, I dedicated myself to human rights and social justice. I have hosted an elected South African president, organized an international conference, and advocated for the creation of the temporary status I now have, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals.
I have lived a limited life professionally and personally, even with all the years of achievements, including having my first son without citizenship. I will bury my hands under his great-great grandfather's soil in South Africa next year and plant a piece of Nkanyezi's umbilical cord there, even if it means starting life over again.
I will keep my son's connection, his cord to home, despite F.W. de Klerk and the U.S. government.
Yolisma Cele–Khumalo Hadebe.
The director of narrative and media at the UnodcuBlack Network is Yoliswa Cele.
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