80 x 45mm Tea Cup and Saucer set, Rooibos Tea, Dye and Epoxy Resin As an Australian, learning about Aboriginal views, values and customs came later in life due to a racist education system in my youth. I have been fortunate to learn and grow my understanding from cultural awareness training and the most important, learning from the peoples themselves. A philosophy I learned was the concept of Milk Tea. The philosophy comes from Aboriginal people talking back their identity from a past destroyed by colonialism and the legacy of the Stolen Generation. The adage goes “No matter how much milk you add to the tea, it’s still tea”. This is a beautiful sentiment to help people of mixed heritage find their way and take back their Aboriginality. As someone who is bi-racial, this adage resonated with me on a personal level. It also has a nice symmetry to the ideology and values of Pan-Africanism. In South Africa, a prominent leader of the Pan-African movement was Steve Biko who after being inspired by Fanon’s writings and the American Black Civil rights movement, created the philosophy of Black Consciousness. He was later secretly executed by the Apartheid State. “ Black people - real black people - are those who can manage to hold their heads high in defiance rather than willingly surrender their souls to the white man… We are oppressed not as individuals, not as Zuluz, Xhosas,Vendas or Indians*. We are oppressed because we are black. We musts that very concept unite ourselves and respond as a cohesive group. We must cling each other with a tenacity tat will shock the perpetrators of evil” - Steve Biko. Internalising both these ideals and views has helped heal a great chasm within my own Sul and identity. To honour this, I have created a literal interpretation of the Milk Tea adage but used the native South African Rooibos tea in honour of my father’s homeland.
*Note, Steve Biko resided most in Pretoria which there was a large population of Indian peoples which is why they are mentioned in this passage over Coloureds. Coloured people were more prominent in the south and in particular in and around Cape Town. This passage highlights that Biko aimed to unite all non-white people under one banner who lived in Africa and had direct African or roots to Azania, as a way to challenge the white supremacist rule of the Apartheid regime.