EXTRACT

Often I would ask a security guard for directions. Often I relied on the generosity of strangers. Often they would raise their knobkieries and point me towards where I needed to go. Today, I still ask strangers for help. I get lost, I ask strangers. I need an answer for some befuddling knot in my life, I ask my friends and my acquaintances and, mostly, strangers. I want to start a business? I ask talented strangers to help.

I have been lucky. These strangers have largely raised their finger, their voice, and pointed me the right way. That is how humanity, Ubuntu, works.

Not for Brennan Walker, the 14-year-old from Rochester Hills, Michigan, in the US. He was just a boy, trying to find his way to school. His sin was that he is black.

The boy was lost. It was entirely his fault. The 14-year-old had woken up late. Realising that his school bus had already gone past his neighbourhood, he decided to walk. He did not want to miss a day of school. It was a 90-minute walk to school. But Brennan Walker had not counted on the fact that the route could get confusing. He got lost. When I was a kid between the ages of 14 and 16 I would ride the train from Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, to Pretoria and then the Jeppe area in Johannesburg. My friend and I would buy clothes from retailers in Johannesburg and sell them at weekends in Hammanskraal. Being the one usually sent off to buy the merchandise, I got lost almost every time I had to go to a new retailer. Often I would ask a security guard for directions. Often I relied on the generosity of strangers. Often they would raise their knobkieries and point me towards where I needed to go. Today, I still ask strangers for help. I get lost, I ask strangers. I need an answer for...

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