She works at Noble Ink and Toner in Pierre and has a lot to say about the topic of work.
“It gets put out there that this is the land of opportunity and you can have the American dream. It’s not as easily obtainable as what it’s made out to be. They put it out there that you can come here and you can realize whatever dream you want, you can pretty much obtain your dream lifestyle, but it’s not like that. It’s still a struggle, it’s still an everyday struggle. You know what I’m saying? You come here and people say, Oh, it’s the land of opportunity, you can do do this, you can realize any dream. But when it comes to saying, ‘OK, I’d like to buy a house’ – well, you’ve got no credit history. ‘I’d like to buy a new car’ – you’ve got no credit history. You kind of run into that. How do you build up a credit history if no one is willing to extend it to you, an immigrant?”
South Africans get it, she suggests, by working hard. And that, she believes, is in contrast to some Americans.
“I think the younger generation of the Americans are very lazy. I’m not being rude when I say that at all. It’s just as an outsider looking in, I think they’re not prepared to go out and get a job. There’s a saying back home, ‘They’re looking for a job and hoping not to find one.’ That’s why a lot of South Africans find jobs here, because they’re hard workers. The younger people want to work.”
She finds parallels in the United States and South Africa in the troubled history of racial relations.
“I think in the South, with the segregation, it’s very similar to what we had. We went through that as well. I can definitely see a change happening in South Africa for the better. I think people are still pretty racist here …You can definitely tell that there’s still that racial issue. I see that as a foreigner and what gets me is they’re quick to point fingers at South Africa and go, ‘Oh, but you had Apartheid.’ Well, it’s no different than segregation. It’s the same thing. We just had a different word for it. But the racism that goes on – yeah, it’s just exactly the same.”