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New children's book explains the science of skin colour

CapeTalk logo CapeTalk 2018-03-12
© Provided by KFM Radio a Division of Primedia Pty Ltd

The authors of a new children's book say they hope it will change the conversation around skin colour in South Africa.

Acclaimed South African author Sindiwe Magona and American anthropologist Nina Joblonski, have collaborated on the book called, Skin We Are In.

The book combines science with storytelling and follows young Njabulo as he ponders why he and his friends have different skin colours.

Speaking to Late Nights host Sara-Jayne King, the authors say they hope it will change the way the younger generations think about race.

"Unfortunately systems perpetuate themselves. The people who lived through apartheid were parents and grandparents and we have passed on some of the attitudes which we believed in during apartheid to the new generation."

— Dr Sindiwe Magona, Author

"It is going to take a conscientious effort by all South Africans to rid ourselves of that kind of poison."

— Dr Sindiwe Magona, Author

"These categories [of race] do not exist naturally, they were assembled by people who looked at a limited number of individuals...it was done entirely arbitrarily. People dont realise that race was constructed by a few people who had a lot of authority."

— Prof. Nina Jablonski, Anthropologist

"All of these different features that have been used to classify people, and put them into races are artificial constructs. They don't exist as a cohesive reality."

— Prof. Nina Jablonski, Anthropologist

Skin We Are In is aimed at children between eight and 12 and will be printed in all 11 official languages.

Listen to the full interview with Sara-Jayne King and the authors of 'Skin We Are In'.

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