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..
2 thoughts on “The Help”
I have to point out that the ever ’emerging black middle class’ is referred to a ‘black diamonds’, yes. I say ‘ever emerging’ in inverted commas because for years economists have been talking about this black middle class who are earning more, spending more… Reality is, the class who the term actually refers to hates it! Myself included. Why is there a special name? What is the white middle class called? Do other races also have a special name to describe their spending habits and position/standing in the economic pyramid? No. Ok that’s my rant for the night.
PS. I loved the book ‘The Help’ too. Don’t watch the movie. I’m going to have to read the book again to untaint my memory of Kathryn Stockett’s writing and descriptions. But do watch ‘One Day’ – though not as moving (I too cried), and though it doesn’t hold a candle to the book, Anne Hathaway and the lovely Jim Sturgess are wonderful in it.
Thanks for your comment my friend.. I have no answer to your question and think you are absolutely right regarding the naming.
I was about to watch the movie this upcoming long weekend, after reading your comment and trusting your judgement too much, I will stay away from it though:-)