What's in a kiss?

Every now and then one is shocked at the way some people can be racist in their reactions to what many would assume to be normal behaviour.

For instance, most South Africans would no longer turn their heads when they see a mixed race couple holding hands or even kissing in the street, or even a same-sex couple for that matter.

Yet, one of the big talking points on social media this week was the interracial relationship between two of the lead characters on the popular soapie, 7de Laan.

I must admit that I am an accidental 7de Laan watcher. I normally watch out of the corner of my eye while my wife is watching her favourite programme on TV. I pretend to be doing something else, like reading the newspapers.

Soapies have to keep on redefining themselves in order to keep viewers interested. 7de Laan is no different, having dealt with the death and reappearance of one of the main characters, the false imprison of another main character, and even the relationship of the young second wife of one of the characters having a relationship with her husband’s son. Incidentally, the wife was black, the father and son white.

The beauty of television is that often things are left to suggestion. For instance, two faces might approach each other as if they are about to kiss but the camera cuts just before the kiss. Or someone is about to be bludgeoned to death, but the camera cuts just before the blow is landed.

What appears to have upset the racists in our midst is a picture of two young characters on 7de Laan kissing passionately. The man is white, the woman is black. The fact that there have been similar themes on 7de Laan is immaterial. This was the first time that there was a blatant display of affection between two people from different racial backgrounds.

I could not believe the absolute hatred and vitriol that was expressed in comments below the story about this kiss.

I don’t see what the fuss is about but clearly there are people in South Africa who still long for the days when we were forced to love only people who looked and sounded like us.

One can only imagine what they would have said if the people involved in this display of affection were both women or, even worse, men.

South Africa has come a long way from the time when interracial relationships were outlawed along with same-sex relationships. We cannot allow a small minority of people to drag us back to those dark days.