Thesna Aston
3 min readNov 12, 2021


6 year old me:

De Klerk has passed away in the comfort of his Fresnaye home after a battle with cancer.

I don't derive joy from people suffering. I am neither mourning nor celebrating his death.

Instead, I am curled up under a blanket, crying, traumatised both by a life I never had based on the colour of my skin and the 6-year-old little girl who experienced so much hate and never fully understood why.

The door to the part of me I keep hidden from the world has been wrenched open and here I sit with this gaping wound; a wound I thought was healed until I heard of his death. He is the monster from my childhood nightmares. His face is forever etched in my subconscious as I try to navigate in a world that hates what I look like.

At 6 years old, painfully thin, sickly and living in poverty, I do not have the mental capacity to unravel the brutality I was born into.

At 6 years old, I am down on my knees begging God for me to wake up with blond hair and fair skin so I can feel part of this world.

At 6 years old, I laugh, I play with my friends in the dusty streets of the township, but I have learned to hide my pain of being excluded.

How do I solve an unsolvable problem?

An adult passing me by remarked that I had sad eyes. I didn't understand what that meant until I got older.

At 6 years old, I claw at my skin thinking, hoping it's just a layer of brown and underneath is an acceptable white that will emerge if I scratch long enough. I wait to emerge like a butterfly, beautiful, acceptable and free.

At 6 years old, I wished so many times I could die and finally find peace: peace that will soothe my wounded soul.

At 6 years old, I find my voice and sing with the emotion of an adult that lost love. Not knowing that the sad notes in my voice came from being lost: lost in a world where people who look like me are hated. Hated enough to be killed!

At 6 years old, I am ashamed and learn to hide my pain: pain brought on not from an abusive parent but from a world I am not allowed to enter.

I dream about freedom although I have no idea what that means.

All I know at 6 years old, is that I am not free. I know how to add and subtract but have not learned how to add the one component that makes me acceptable in a world that finds my very presence unacceptable.

Today, I will mourn the loss of a childhood that could have been good, if only I looked different. I mourn the joy that was taken from me because people like De Klerk existed.

(The one-roomed house we grew up in. Not because my mom never worked but because we were not white)

I'm told to move on, to forgive and I have but for today, I am counselling and loving 6 year old me.



Thesna Aston

Writer-The complexities of life are simplified through my Writing. Wellness Coach, Human Rights Activist. Grateful for my life and family. Writing is healing