I'll never forget Laurens van der Post and South Africa
by Mika Iwasaki
(Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan)
Laurens van der Post
Laurens van der Post (1906~1996) was a great author in the 20th century, who was born in South Africa. He was known to Japanese as the author of the original story of the movie titled "Merry Christmas, Mr. Laurens."
He wrote a lot of works about South Africa. In fact, I learned almost my whole image of South Africa from his works.
On one hand, there is a severe social situation in South Africa. Until 20 years ago, the Republic of South Africa followed the policy of apartheid which segregated colored people from white people. And it is fact that even after abolishment of apartheid, social and economic differences between white and colored people still remain.
On the other hand, there is great Nature in South Africa, and both the native people and descendants of immigrants from Europe live their life, taking root in the mother earth of South Africa.
I am happy to know both sides of South Africa through his works.
The main subject of his works was the deep reconciliation among different opposite things, for example, white and colored, occidental and oriental, light and shadow, man and woman, and so on.
Laurens van der Post was a descendant immigrant from the Netherlands, the so-called Boer people. He was white, but he opposed the policy of apartheid. He actually dedicated his life for the subject of reconciliation in his practice and works.
His works led me to take an interest in the understanding of the diverse ways of life and different people's biological interdependence. Soon I came to learn about cultural anthropology.
Now as I look back, it seems that the problem in South Africa was the epitome of the problem of antagonism and segregation among different people in the world of the 20th century.
I will never forget Laurens van der Post and his home country, South Africa, which made me aware of the problems among different people and the importance of reconciliation in our era.
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