Black and American During Apartheid

Apartheid was like an ominous, ever-present stranger that seemed to lurk behind me but seldom could be seen when I spun around to look for it. But it was all too visible and intimidating whenever I had to deal with South African government officials or police. I’ll never forget my first impression, standing in the passport control lines at Jan Smuts Airport. The room was ringed with a balcony along which two cops or soldiers paced with their fingers on the triggers of their semiautomatic rifles.

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