Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

Apology NOT Accepted #PennySparrow

A few days ago my son asked me, “Mom why are there so many people on the beach and so much litter?”.

I explained to him that at the end of the year most working people get paid extra money AND they get to take leave when it is school holidays.

I shared with him, that “for some people it is very expensive to come to the beach. Most families may have to take two taxies and a train. Some travel for up to two/three hours (both ways) if they come to the beach on a public holiday, like when Uncle Brandon travels back to Parow on a Sunday.”

I explained to him that a trip like this could easily cost a family of four R240 just to get to the beach and back and this is excluding their food. “Yoh mom that is A LOT of money for one day at the beach! It’s just a pity that there isn’t enough bins or bags to put litter in hey?”

This our discussion as we walked to the beach at 6:30pm to help clean the beach.

This short chat with my son reminded me of MY childhood. I grew up in Ocean View, a 30 minute walk to Kommetjie beach and a 10 minute taxi ride to Fish Hoek beach. On Boxing Day, if the South Easter didn’t howl too much, we would WALK to Kommetjie beach. My dad carrying our coolerbox while my mom carried some sweets and chips in a plastic packet.

We were VERY lucky if my parents had money for us to take a taxi to Fish Hoek. The water was a lot warmer and there was (still is) a park. My brother and I loved the water, and it was always a struggle to get us ready for the trek back home.

These are blissful childhood memories, and I am also reminded how some Festive Seasons weren’t as blissful. There were times when we didn’t have money for a day picnic at the beach on Boxing Day.

Today I am fortunate to live so near the beach. Not because I’m rich or privileged, but due to circumstances that required drastic change.

While the country raged on about Penny Sparrow on Twitter, my son and I were watching Transporter 2 where the guy asks the boy riddles. “Sometimes it’s dark, sometimes it’s light and sometimes it’s both. What is it?”

My son excitedly exclaimed, “I know, I know. It is a HUMAN!”

I am so grateful that my son can see people for what they are, just that, PEOPLE.

Dear Penny Sparrow,

If we are “monkeys”, as you so eloquently put in you public Facebook post, then I am sure you will understand that THIS “monkey” can’t read OR understand English. And therefore YOUR apology is DISMISSED and NOT ACCEPTED.


Chevone Petersen



10 comments on “Apology NOT Accepted #PennySparrow

  1. The Blessed Barrenness
    January 5, 2016

    I grew up in Cape Town, my Dad was an avid surfer, I spent many a day on Kommetjie beach playing with kids that we made friends with for the day so your story touched me because as a priviledged white girl, I did not understand as a child what that day at the beach meant for the kids we befriended. I remember a number of times as a child, after a long hot day at the beach, going home, hot, tired, sandy and sweaty and crammed onto the back of my dad’s bakkie with a bunch of kids that we’d befriended for the day and my dad dropping everyone off at Ocean View. It was a different time in so many ways hey? Not withstanding the kids crammed onto the back of a bakkie, so unsafe, we wouldn’t dare do that to our kids today.
    But my point is, as the mom of two mixed race children, I can also not accept Penny Sparrow’s apology. And when I went and read her interview on news 24, I just wanted to shout at her to shut up, because in my opinion, her apology was even worse than her original status! The more she spoke the more it became clear was an ignorant, stupid, racist bigot she is!
    It hurt me as I’m sure it has hurt many of my fellow South Africans, regardless of their colour or race or creed, it hurt. There is no place in any society for people like this and her comments serve no purpose than to damage the already precarious steps we’ve taken in our new modern society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChevsLife
      January 5, 2016

      Saron I could easily have been one of those children having an adventure ride on your dad’s bakkie! I must say that growing up in the Far South community exposed me to diversity which many children in the Cape Flats weren’t exposed to except for their visits to the beach (possibly).

      We have a long way to go and it all starts at home. I refuse to be a prisoner of the past.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jozi Wahm
    January 5, 2016

    This apology does not ring true to me at all. Even her Facebook page is littered with other posts that clearly show a degree of racism. It saddens me that more than 20 years into democracy, there are still people who still show this degree of intolerance for others.

    P.S. Well done to you and your son for helping to clean the litter on the beach!


    • ChevsLife
      January 5, 2016

      Thanks! Yip, groups have been wriggling with racial undertones. And I can’t help but wonder what the message is to the children . . .


  3. the_deal_is
    January 5, 2016

    Growing up, going to the beach was a normal occurrence for our family. Sunday drives around the peninsula and Boxing Day/New Year’s Day celebrations – digging holes in the sand so our watermelon could stay cool. We were made aware of the farm workers who would come to the beach those days. The beach was fun for all. If we felt it too crowded we’d either go home or find another spot for no other reason than we don’t do crowds (makes me feel a bit claustrophobic so I stay away from concerts as well). As kids all this meant was extra playmates and loads of fun. A great kaleidoscope of happiness as folks frolic in the water.

    Sad that someone with such a limited view has people who agree with her (lack of) thinking. Her comments and way of thinking have no place in the modern South African society. I pity her. Maybe one day she’ll see what a foolish woman she is for being so narrow-minded…Or that wishful thinking?


    • ChevsLife
      January 5, 2016

      I also feel claustrophobic when in a crowded public space so I hear you on this. The blatant prejudice saddens me.


  4. julietmartinez
    January 5, 2016

    Every time there is an uproar about racist comments, I have to believe that it is bringing us, step by step, closer to a broader acceptance of the basic unity of the human race. Those who express support by voicing their own prejudices are revealing their true attitudes, something that is necessary if we are to talk frankly about it. And others are drawn out of their comfortable shell, to become more vocal allies and advocates for justice. It is a painful process, but I believe it is necessary to overcome the divisions that have plagued humanity since time began.

    So I send you my solidarity, and I will continue to work on myself and my community over here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChevsLife
      January 5, 2016

      Thank you Juliet! Your solidarity and words of wisdom is appreciated.xoxo


  5. Surviving Jonkersville
    January 14, 2016

    I don’t even have words for the poor woman. And I do mean poor with her backward thinking. I agree with Juliet 100%. We cannot expect healing when we keep on covering the wounds and never take time to cleanse it.

    On a more pleasant note.. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Chev. I remember going to the beach by train or on the back of my uncle’s work bakkie. And the bags we had to cart with us filled with eats. Boiled eggs being one of them. *sighs* Those were the days.


    • ChevsLife
      January 15, 2016

      Those were the days! Thankful that we didn’t have social media back then OR maybe if we did, the comments would have been more positive, reflecting the spirit of the day?


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