A Darker Shade of Pale tells the story of life as a person of mixed race in apartheid South Africa.
After the National Party gained power in South Africa in 1948, the all-white government took control by legislating their policies of racial segregation under a system called apartheid.
Forced to live among the sand dunes and narrow streets of Council housing estates, through her mixed ancestry Beryl was classified as Coloured, not white enough or not black enough. This allowed the government to shape her life, where she was allowed to live, to attend school, to sit on the train, to work, and who she could marry.
Growing up in council housing estates on the Cape Flats in the 1960s and early 1970s it wasn’t until reaching high school that she discovered a richer life on the other side of the tracks for those classified as white. The stark reality of the inequality towards her skin colour made her question her ancestry and her parents’ acceptance of their classification. She was drawn to joining rallies to fight the government but at home any such discussions were strongly dismissed.
It is a remarkable story of the resilience of her parents, particularly her mother Sarah who recognised that the future for her children was through education. Sarah, faced with many challenges – the death of a young child, a husband suffering ill-health, five children to feed and to keep a roof over their head powered the way forward to increase their chances of a better life should apartheid crumble.
A Darker Shade of Pale is a moving account of Beryl’s family and community life in segregated South Africa – the injustices, humiliation and challenges and finally finding acceptance when she moved to Australia in the 1980s.
Release date: 17 April 2018