After having read “One Day” – the first book in ages that actually made me cry – I didn’t think another book can keep up with it in a long time… Well, wrong assumption. Last night I finished “The Help”. I didn’t cry but it touched me deeply. Maybe this is because the story that is told in the novel is not only relevant for Mississippi in the 1960s, but can easily be applied to South Africa in the 2010s, still.
Black domestic helpers are probably still the norm in white households. Raising the kids, often live-in, part of the family. Oh, and I say “black” deliberately. It might be politically incorrect across the Atlantic, but it is absolutely correct to use the term in South Africa. In fact, the up-coming South African upper class is proudly called the “Black Diamonds”.
I didn’t grow up with a domestic. Even today, it is quite uncommon to have a domestic helper in Germany. If people do, then it it’s usually for a few hours once a week. So, I am extremely grateful to have this luxury in South Africa. Not sure if I’ll be able to get someone when moving back to Germany.. There, I’ll probably spend my Saturdays cleaning my flat and ironing my clothes. We are truly living in luxury when we can afford someone to help us do our domestic work..