Cape Town - A white Oudtshoorn woman who is married to a local black man says she’s in disbelief that 25 years into democracy and decades after the scrapping of the Immorality Act, interracial couples still receive stares and backlash.
Devinne Stuurman and her husband Thami Stuurman share a one-roomed Wendy house at the back of an RDP house in Smartie Town township, just outside Oudtshoorn.
Devinne, 38, makes a living by doing casual jobs, while Thami, 42, buys food and electricity with the money he receives from his disability grant.
Twice-married Devinne has a 10-year-old son from her previous marriage to Vuyisile Dywili, who died in 2013. She says having married two black men in her lifetime, she does not see colour - despite growing up in a conservative, white home.
“I don’t see colour, but human beings like myself. I am married for the second time now with a black person... I grew up in a white, conservative home, but all those racial teachings that I am a white race and must at all times adhere to the white culture did not stick in my brain,” she said.
Devinne and Thami met in 2016, at a graveyard in Oudtshoorn where he was temporarily employed.
“I was just walking around the graveyard when I met him,” Devinne recalls.
“Thami was cleaning and removing some dirt from a gravesite.
“He was tired and I sat next to him and had a long chat, until he asked me to come visit him again at his work.”
After three months of dating, the couple were married at the local Home Affairs Department office. But Devinne says their happily-ever-after has been a constant struggle of having to deal with the negative reactions and rude gestures she and her husband receive from many disapproving white people living in the small, conservative town.
She’s also had to deal with her own family’s disapproval of her marriages.
“My family don’t even want to know who I am married to. My parents openly told me that I should not bring him to our home. It’s almost as if it’s still apartheid (there).”
“It’s bad to think that whites and blacks can’t live together in this day and age without facing discrimination; it’s a serious shame,” said Thami.