“I am a Coloured woman of South Africa. The blood flowing through me was despised by apartheid, for it was not pure and it was not white. Because of this, I struggled with feelings of self-doubt and shame.” These were the sentiments shared at a book discussion by author Jesmane Boggenpoel at UJ’s Auckland Park Kingsway Campus.
The UJ Transformation Unit, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, in partnership with the UJ Library, hosted a book discussion with Jesmane Boggenpoel, author of My Blood Divides and Unites, on Tuesday, 05 March 2019.
Jesmane Boggenpoel shared openly about the pain and difficulty of growing up in South Africa during apartheid as a mixed-race person, where she was always treated as someone “lesser,” forced to live in poverty in a gang- and drug-infested neighborhood, consigned to sub-standard schools, and denied simple things like learning to ride a bike or swim. Many self-esteem and identity issues resulted, and her future looked bleak in spite of her intelligence and resolve to succeed.
“I am a microcosm of nations riven by internal strife,” says Boggenpoel. “I reconciled with myself by turning to the conflicts and contradictions within. This forced me to explore my past so as to truly understand who I am and to grapple with my lingering emotions. Our world today is divided and fractured. That is why I urge individuals, communities, and nations to undergo a similar process of self-reconciliation, to explore their stories, embrace their contradictions, and craft new narratives of acceptance, inclusion, and boundless possibilities.”
My Blood Divides and Unites: Race Identity, Reconciliation released internationally on January 8 2019, recounted her poignant coming-of-age tale of oppression, discrimination and marginalization as a young girl growing up during the apartheid in South Africa.
“Now, a quarter century after the fall of apartheid, I understand there is much beauty and value in my blood,” adds Boggenpoel. “I am the product of newcomer and native, slave- master and slave, of White and Black, of German and Jew, and more. I am a reflection of countless conflicts and contradictions – yet my blood unites me.”
Following her tumultuous, yet inspirational journey to reconciliation, acceptance and forgiveness, My Blood Divides and Unites offers a universally powerful message and provides readers with a roadmap to self-discovery, reframing their personal stories, and becoming inspirational leaders for others so that all individuals, groups and nations can look toward the future with hope.
Jesmane Boggenpoel is an experienced business executive and former Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has served on the boards of various South African and international organizations. She is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. Jesmane was honored as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, is a Harvard Mason fellow and a shareholder and founding board member of African Women Chartered Accountants Investment Holdings. Boggenpoel has extensive global experience having studied and worked on three continents, as well as travelling to over 65 countries.
This book is available for purchase in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.