1 comment


A Drive Home

After his famous article, ‘Apartheid: The Story Untold’, renowned social critic, James Welsh in his recent story on racial prejudice, asked his readers, one of them a popular actress and model, Samantha Osama-Jacobs, to share their relatable personal experiences on the subject and it’s emotional effects.

      Samantha Osama-Jacobs, replying to the Welsh publications for the very first time, decided to share her own experience—one she had never given complete details of. Using the nickname— Julie, and posing as a college student, she started typing on her computer, a more-than-ready hot cup of black coffee on the desk in front of her.

12, Living Street, 


Dear Mr. Welsh,

    I was born in a bi-racial family. My mother was Caucasian: one of the ‘white-folks’ and my then six-year old sister, Kebi took after her glowing white skin. My father was Negroid, a coloured man and my then seventeen-year old brother, Daniel and I had his very dark skin. 

   We lived in a quiet neighbourhood called Tristan, with a few white-folk. It was where I attended kindergarten and part of secondary school. In Tristan, my father would never be stopped on the High way for questioning. My brother would never be dragged out of his classroom with other coloured boys and searched for anything, including drugs. I would never be asked to leave my seat where I sat with my mother at the white-reserved areas and go to the congested spaces at the back reserved for the coloured. 

   Things started to change when my mother got a job as a newspaper editor in another neighbourhood. This was when we decided to move.

One Sunday afternoon, my very first prejudicial experience, as we drove home from morning Mass barely a week after moving in, we got pulled over by some white-folk police men on the road.

    Few days before we arrived at the new town, my father had given my siblings and I a lecture despite my mother’s stern warnings. He told us that our new neighbourhood was nothing like the old one. He said there was no one like old Mrs. Kipling there, who would give little cakes to her ‘chocolate and vanilla’ friends when my white sister and I come to visit her dessert shop. That in this neighbourhood, I would walk to the grocery store with little Kebi and they would stun me with questions. They would think I had kidnapped my sister. He said we should never argue with the white-folk, no matter what happens. They would be quick to use the gun. He also said that we should not be surprised or angry when they searched us for ammunitions or drugs. That we should quietly obey when they asked us to move to the coloured-reserved areas on the bus seats. He told us to place our hands in front of us when we were in vehicles. He told us to avoid trouble. He told us we would always face trouble.

    So, when my father parked his jeep by the road side and the white police men approached us with guns, I stood still, waiting. We all stood still, my parents, siblings and I, our hands already outstretched—avoiding trouble. My heart was beating fast in my chest. I did not know what I was afraid of but I was scared nonetheless. My father’s words kept resounding in my head. I could not see his face now. He was looking straight ahead.

    We were all silent as my father’s tinted windows were rolled down and the white police man with dark shades and a scar above his left brow angled his head, his eyes on my father.

    “It’s a coloured” He muttered.

My father smiled tightly.

    “Any problem, Officer?”

    “There has been a robbery. We are conducting a search” He replied. 

I looked at the road. Some cars were still making their way through the supposed ‘check-point’. We were the only ones being stopped. When I turned back to the policeman with the scar, another one had joined him. This one had a tan skin, making his body look almost golden. 

    “Name, coloured?” The new officer asked. 

    “Osarodion Osama-Jacobs” My father answered. 

    “I. D?” 

My father gave him his identity card from his breast pocket. The police man with-a-scar glanced at the card and snorted. 

    “Not just any coloured. A coloured from Africa”

Another officer came to our vehicle and looked into the car, his eyes sweeping past my mother at the front seat to my siblings and I at the back seat. I saw his gaze finally rest on my mother, who was looking as pale as snow. 

    “He’s your driver, Ma’am? Those coloured kids behind working for you?”

My mother gasped in shock. “He’s my husband, officer! Those are my kids!”

The policeman seemed confused. He turned sharply to my father. 

   “Did you kidnap her? Did you force her to say those things? You animal!” He glanced at my mother again. “Are you alright, Miss? Did the coloured hurt you?”

My father became tense suddenly. I could see his Adam apple move slowly in his throat from his side mirror. 

My mother’s voice was loud now. “God, no! He’s my husband!”

Kebi inched closer to me then, her hand tugging on my sleeve. 

   “So, you’ve been messing with a coloured, Miss? God! you even had children! Or he been messing with you?”

The other police man eyed my father before hitting his baton in great anger on the door. 

   “Come out! Come out of this vehicle now!” My father struggled to open the door and the policemen dragged him by the collar out. My mother screamed and they held him to the body of the jeep, his hand behind his back. 

    “Daddy!” Kebi yelped.

   “Check his body for ammunition! Check his pockets, under his socks! There must be something, somewhere!” One of the men screamed, his white pallor turning red. I watched as my father’s body was held to the door and his clothes were ransacked by the officers. His blue Sunday tie was thrown to the floor from his neck and his starched and ironed shirt became rumpled. My mother opened her door and tried to run to his side but she was restrained. She fought the grip on her arms, her face turning crimson. 

Kebi started screaming, tears streaming down her face. Daniel held her in place. 

   My hands in front of me were shaking in fear. 

   “Keep your hands that way, Julie! No matter what happens, do not provoke them! Dem white-folks won’t hesitate to blow your head off”

    “Open the trunk! What is in that place? These people do not go anywhere without drugs or something” One of them was shouting now. I heard the trunk open and close. 

   My eyes went to the window now. Cars were still moving past, no one being pulled over by the police men. I watched the cars for a while before it finally hit me. They were all white-folks. The white-folks did not get pulled over. It was just my father. Because he was coloured. 

They had released him when I turned to the front seat and his free arm was on the roof of the jeep. His voice was husky as he spoke. 

    “Are you done, Officers?”

    “Ahh…” The police man who managed to reply trailed off. They were no longer focused on us. They were discussing in a semi circle. 

    “The robber you are searching for, Officers…” My father continued. I did not know how he managed to keep his cool after what just happened to him. My mother had gone silent in front and my sister was sniffing. 

   “… Did they say he was coloured?”

The police men continued to ignore him. My father’s voice became louder. “Did they say the robber was coloured!”

The policemen’s chattering ceased and they faced him. 

   “Well…” One of them who had not spoken before started. “Aren’t you all the same?”

Moments later, we were driving on in silence, the atmosphere beyond tense. My father’s eyes were red and his knuckles were white on the steering wheel. His tie hung loosely on his neck and beads of sweat were on his forehead. 

   We never reported the incident. My father told us it was useless to do so. He said the officers were all the same. They would keep on rambling and rambling. Asking unnecessary questions with no end. My mother cried when we got home. She shut herself up in her room till the following morning and she became sick afterwards. 

    My fear of the unknown heightened after that episode—the first out of many. I could never stop shaking when I came close to a white-folk officer, or stuttering when a white-folk asked me questions. The constant anxiousness was overwhelming. My father told me once that I would get used to it. Just as he did. 

    I still haven’t. 

        Yours Sincerely, 


Inspired by Angie Thomas’ “THE HATE YOU GIVE”


August 12, 2019 23:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Melody Easley
20:42 Sep 10, 2020

Very well written. Sad story 8


Show 0 replies