I am Lester Ferndale, the National Treasurer of Compatriots of South Africa. I was born in Willowdene on 13 October 1976 to a loving and hardworking family.
From a young age I always knew I was destined for greatness, but with the limiting beliefs of a young “coloured” boy, chances of me becoming an internationally famous surgeon was a pipe dream. So I settled for becoming an average skilled worker after passing matric. I obtained a N2 and tradesman certificate in 1997 while working as a shopfitter for Adel Shopfitters. This was an opportunity I was really grateful for as it opened up so many doors for me. But through all the years it really bothered me that I could have been so much more had I had the choice and opportunities to do it.
Many of our young people out there are troubled with the same issues I had relating to limiting beliefs. The fact is that there are many opportunities geared at further education and training in South Africa, but the youth of our country, especially those coming from a lineage of “coloured people” fail to recognize it in themselves that they are worthy of such opportunities.
I was fortunate to meet my wife when I was still very young and she with my family is definitely the main reason for my existence. If it had not been for the support and trust I received for her and my family, I would probably not have been who I am today.
Though I am not rich and own a lot of wealthy possessions, my wealth reaches further than just money. My hopes and dreams creates visions in my life which I believe will empower many South Africans alike to become prosperous.
I believe God put me here on earth, more specifically in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth, to make a difference in the lives of other young “coloured” boys by helping them to manage their skills and resources to the best of their abilities.
Seeing doors being shut in the faces of “coloured people” due to the colour and tone of their skin is a concern not only for me but for many other South Africans. We often see that at the debt of health only “black people” are successful in job applications leaving others to fight for a chance at the lower ranked jobs.
Driving past Dower College in Westend, Port Elizabeth, makes me realize that almost 90% percent of the students are “black” in an area constituting of 90% “coloured” people. How does this actually make sense? Especially because we, the “coloured people”, were forcefully removed from Willowdene in the 1980s to be placed in the Northern Areas where only people of our kind could live in the Apartheid era.
Something really needs to be done to boost the beliefs and morale of our people so that they can take possession of that which the government entrusted to us and has now taken advantage of.
When asked why I joined Compatriots of South Africa (CSA), the answer is simple: I am here as a Stewart of “coloured people” to help voice their concerns of the growing negligence of our people.
The ANC represents “black people.” The DA represents “white people.” Now we, the Compatriots of South Africa, will represent the brown people, the natives of our country who stem from the Khoi, San and Bushmen.
We need to be an advocate for our people to fight or equal rights and opportunities. Our people need job and study opportunities that will help in the development and growth of our children and adults. This will ensure that out future is secured and that we do not have to live in the shadow of other racial groups any longer.
With the continuous quest of the “black people” to take out the “white people,” where does this leave “coloured people?” We are caught in a power struggle between a people of the opinion that the tone of your skin and your background dictates which jobs and opportunities you deserve. It is time that South Africans realize that our worth is not just skindeep.
We are all human and at the core of our physical bodies our bones look the same.
We need to get rid of the “race” column on a Z83 form which is creating division between people because of the colour of their skin. Race is an Apartheid institution that should have died out with it. We are all South Africans and should be dealt with equally.
Compatriots of South Africa is the vehicle that will spearhead change in our country. Cast your vote for CSA and you will start to see the change that we all dreamt of years ago.