September 18, 2019

Is my broken finger the same as your broken leg?

Natalie Arle-Toyne

Short StorySumbridge Drive, 2019

The piece of land onto which we are born determines our opportunity.

I grew up in Durban, South Africa, during the last of the Apartheid years. When I was nine, a gogo (Zulu for grandmother) and her heavily pregnant daughter showed up at our door and a baby boy was born on my lounge floor.

I was brought up with the adage “my broken finger is the same as your broken leg” – all pain is equal and valid when contextualised. But how do we navigate our own pain and personal horrors watching people flee war-torn countries and unspeakable fates, only to be turned away when they reach a supposed safe space? With the current news mocking “privileged pain”, how do we teach our youth to be grateful for their lot while at the same time assuring them that their troubles are valid?