Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Adopted during apartheid: The Bitter Olive' author recalls childhood

26/09/2022

Adopted during apartheid: The Bitter Olive' author recalls childhoodIn an exclusive interview, Ronald Samuels details his remarkable journey which unfolded when he was adopted during apartheid.

by Carmen Coetsee

26-09-2022 22:21

in Books

The Bitter Olive' by Ronald Samuels. Image: Supplied/ Ssali Publishing House

South African businessman, farmer and now author Ronald Samuels sat down for an exclusive interview with The South African to talk about his incredible life as told in his memoir, The Bitter Olive.

--

The Bitter Olive has sent shockwaves throughout the country as Samuels shared his story of being torn away from his adopted family at the age of nine because he was not white. Samuels invites readers into his tragic childhood, his challenging teenage years in apartheid South Africa, and shares what life lessons he has learnt along the way.

Using the olive tree as an example, with fruit that starts out as too bitter to eat, Ronald recounts how he made the choice to never let bitterness ruin his life.

ADOPTED DURING APARTHEID: FROM PRETORIA TO CAPE FLATS A week after his birth in 1969, young Ronald was adopted by a white family in Pretoria. Despite his curly, black hair and darker skin than his siblings, his family never treated him differently.

--

He lived happily with this family until the clouds of apartheid that had been gathering, cast a shadow over their lives. Convinced by the church and others who told them that it would be better for nine-year-old Ronald to grow up in a coloured family, his parents made a truly heartbreaking decision.

They sent Samuels from his idyllic and familiar home in Pretoria to the Cape Flats, believing that this was what was best for him.

Confused, lonely and utterly displaced, the author grew up in the dangerous climate of apartheid South Africa in the Cape Flats. Years later, he eventually reconnected with his adopted family back in Pretoria and he was told that he was never sent away because they didn't want him.

--

Adopted woes and tribulations After years of doubt, fear and deep sadness, Samuels finally understood exactly why he was sent away in the first place. However, he still had a nagging question of who and what he really was?

Throughout his military service, he was frequently racially reclassified. At certain places, he was classified as white and at others he was classified as coloured.

But how could this be? After years of questioning, Samuels found out that both his biological parents were white, but he, their son, simply looked coloured. The colour of his skin and the racist government of the time meant that the young Ronald was denied a normal childhood.

But The Bitter Olive is not a tale of woe. Even though it was written by someone who has had to endure more sadness in his life than most, his memoir is a celebration of life. His life story is not recounted with bitterness, but with humility and love.

RONALD SAMUELS: I NEVER WANTED BITTERNESS AND HATE TO WIN' At 07:35, Ronald Samuels give us a taste of the Bitter Olive in the new book. @SABC_2 #MorningLive#SABCNews pic.twitter.com/z44PrsFYeU

MorningLiveSABC (@MorningLiveSABC) May 22, 2022

Samuels never let his past dictate his future. He made his own path, and he has built a wonderful life filled with love and hope. His is truly a remarkable story.

He doesn't deny that his life has been difficult.

You don't get through what I got through without scars. I went to hell and back .

He never allowed anger and bitterness to rule his life, striving to be thankful under all circumstances, no matter how difficult.

Samuels is very passionate about sharing his story and encouraging others who have endured difficult times. He is also a firm believer in not holding on to the past and letting it control your present.

ALSO READ: Risking it All': Elon Musk biography explores the enigmatic mogul

THE BITTER OLIVE': LESSONS FOR YOUNG SOUTH AFRICANS Samuels has always been outspoken about his beliefs. Even though he is someone who has had a life deeply affected by racist ideologies, he still maintains that his generation hasn't done enough for the current one. He hopes that The Bitter Olive will start uniting our broken nation.

He says that South Africa today is too filled with hate from the past. Samuels believes that young South Africans are fighting their parents' and grandparents' battles and not their own.

You are fighting for their past and not for your future .

When asked what he wants young South Africans to know, he had the following to say:

Our diversity is what is ripping us apart, when it should be the thing that unites us. We have to embrace out diversity. Be glad the person next to you is different to you. Leave your parents' baggage behind.

Ronald Samuels One of the most touching things Samuels said in his interview, was: I believe in the goodness of people . As someone who had more than enough reasons to hate the world, he maintains his faith in the goodness of humanity.

AUTHORS ON AUTHORS: WHAT SAMUELS HAS ON HIS BOOKSHELF When he is not farming or travelling for business, Samuels loves to relax around a good braai.

I don't have that much time for reading but when I do read, I like self-help and leadership books. John Maxwell is a favourite .

His idols include Nelson Mandela, his teachers at school, and the people of South Africa.

THE BITTER OLIVE' WHAT TO EXPECT Filled with history, poems and true heart, The Bitter Olive is not one to miss. As a lover of history and a believer in the power of knowing your history, Samuels has taken great pain in including South African history within his own story. The Bitter Olive is not some boring history book, however. It reads easily and Ronald's writing voice makes it seem like he is talking to a friend
LINK: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/culture/books/bitter-olive-ronald-samu...
See more stories from thesouthafrican

Africa Stories

30/11/2022

WATCH: House of Zwide - Tonight's teaser E98 S2

WATCH: House of Zwide - Tonight's teaser E98 S2Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of House of Zwide and Catch the latest ep...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E174 S14

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E174 S14Get to know what's happening on tonight's episode!. Scandal episodes airs on e.tv Mondays to Fridays at 19...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E158 S3

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E158 S3Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of Gomora, and watch the latest episode every we...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E268 S8

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E268 S8Keen to know what's happening on the latest episode of Generations: The Legacy?. Generations ai...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Uzalo - Tonight's teaser E193 S8

WATCH: Uzalo - Tonight's teaser E193 S8Don't get left behind, catch up on Uzalo now! Episodes of Uzalo air on SABC1 from Mondays to Fridays at 20h30. b...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E497 S22

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E497 S22Don't miss out on the latest drama in Muvhango! Muvhango episodes airs on SABC2 from Mondays to Fridays at 21...

30/11/2022

LGBTQIA+ community finds economic solution in GALZ

LGBTQIA community finds economic solution in GALZWhat are the best options for the LGBTQIA community when tackling the economical unstable decades we live in?...

30/11/2022

Ronaldo is a p**s': Influencer insults player on SuperSport [watch]

Ronaldo is a p**s': Influencer insults player on SuperSport [watch]SuperSport has responded to the backlash after one of its pundits' used an expletive...

30/11/2022

LGBTQ+ community still denied freedom of expression in Russia

LGBTQ community still denied freedom of expression in RussiaRussia is set on further restricting freedom of expression regarding sexual orientation and gender ...

30/11/2022

LGBTIQ+ couple DENIED engagement ring at jewellery store

LGBTIQ couple DENIED engagement ring at jewellery storeAn online jeweller has been accused of LGBTIQ discrimination for refusing to sell engagement rings to a...

30/11/2022

That's hilarious': Muvhango' fans react to tokoloshe storyline

That's hilarious': Muvhango' fans react to tokoloshe storyline Muvhango' fans took to social media to react to Thifheli's tokoloshe storyli...

30/11/2022

Daily devotion: Your bible verse and prayer for 30 November 2022

Daily devotion: Your bible verse and prayer for 30 November 2022GOOD MORNING! Here's your daily bible verse and prayer to get you ready and excited about yo...

30/11/2022

Scandal!'s' Nomvelo Makhanya signed with Black Coffee's agency

Scandal!'s' Nomvelo Makhanya signed with Black Coffee's agencyFormer Scandal' actress turned musician Nomvelo Makhanya has signed with DJ Black...

30/11/2022

Bontle Modiselle recognised for the largest Amapiano dance

Bontle Modiselle recognised for the largest Amapiano dancePresenter and dancer Bontle Modiselle has expressed her gratitude after she made it into the Guinness ...

30/11/2022

When and where to watch the Real Housewives van Pretoria'

When and where to watch the Real Housewives van Pretoria'?Here's when and where to watch the Real Housewives van Pretoria' starring Mel Viljoen, K...

30/11/2022

Ntate Kganyago's a red flag': Skeem Saam' fans on Jacobie's man

Ntate Kganyago's a red flag': Skeem Saam' fans on Jacobie's man Skeem Saam' fans are criticising Jacobeth Thobakgale for being blinded by l...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Diep City - Tonight's teaser E173 S2

WATCH: Diep City - Tonight's teaser E173 S2We've got you covered on what's happening tonight. Episodes of Diep City air on Mzansi Magic from Mondays...

30/11/2022

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E213 S5

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E213 S5Watch tonight's episode of The River and catch the latest episode every weekday at 20:00 on 1 Magic, don'...

30/11/2022

Uzalo' December Spoilers: Nkazimulo attempts suicide

Uzalo' December Spoilers: Nkazimulo attempts suicideThe Uzalo' December teasers reveal that Nkazimulo will attempt suicide and Nosipho will get blamed ...

30/11/2022

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E108 S11

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E108 S11Find out what's going on tonight on Skeem Saam!. Skeem Saam episodes airs on SABC1 Mondays to Fridays at 18...

30/11/2022

WATCH: 7de Laan - Tonight's teaser E503 S22

WATCH: 7de Laan - Tonight's teaser E503 S22Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of 7de Laan and Catch the latest episode ever...

30/11/2022

WATCH: The Queen - Tonight's teaser E93 S7

WATCH: The Queen - Tonight's teaser E93 S7Don't miss out on what's happening tonight's in The Queen and Catch the latest teaser every weekday at...

30/11/2022

Queertopia RETURNS this December

Queertopia RETURNS this DecemberThe Queertopia festival is back to raise the Queertopia flag again this December 10th and 11th at Victoria Yards in Johannesburg...

29/11/2022

SKEEM SAAM: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

SKEEM SAAM: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of Skeem Saam? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of Skeem Saam soapie right...

29/11/2022

HOUSE OF ZWIDE: Episode for 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

HOUSE OF ZWIDE: Episode for 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of House of Zwide? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of House of Zwide soapie righ...

29/11/2022

SCANDAL: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

SCANDAL: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of Scandal ? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of Scandal soapie right here. D...

29/11/2022

GOMORA: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

GOMORA: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of gomora? No problem! Just watch all the latest episodes of gomora soapie right here, ...

29/11/2022

GENERATIONS: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

GENERATIONS: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of Generation The Legacy? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of Generation ...

29/11/2022

UZALO: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]

UZALO: Tonight's episode, 29 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of Uzalo? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of Uzalo soapie right here,don't...

29/11/2022

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E212 S5

WATCH: The River - Tonight's teaser E212 S5Watch tonight's episode of The River and catch the latest episode every weekday at 20:00 on 1 Magic, don'...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E173 S14

WATCH: Scandal - Tonight's teaser E173 S14Get to know what's happening on tonight's episode!. Scandal episodes airs on e.tv Mondays to Fridays at 19...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E107 S11

WATCH: Skeem Saam - Tonight's teaser E107 S11Find out what's going on tonight on Skeem Saam!. Skeem Saam episodes airs on SABC1 Mondays to Fridays at 18...

29/11/2022

The difference between a homosexual and a homoromantic

The difference between a homosexual and a homoromanticHomoromantic is part of the new buzzphrase romantic orientation which is the understanding that we have ...

29/11/2022

Baby by the president': LaConco sets American tongues wagging

Baby by the president': LaConco sets American tongues waggingAmerican Tweeps are interested in Jacob Zuma's baby mama' LaConco after watching the ...

29/11/2022

I enjoyed every moment': DJ Hlo scores role in Uzalo'

I enjoyed every moment': DJ Hlo scores role in Uzalo'Musician Hlosiwe Mthalane aka DJ Hlo will start appearing in Uzalo' early next week as a judg...

29/11/2022

Takeoff's little brother says he hates having to move on without him

Takeoff's little brother says he hates having to move on without himBrother of the slain rapper Takeoff has penned a tribute letter to his older brother and...

29/11/2022

Will Smith hopes the slap' will not punish his Emancipation' team

Will Smith hopes the slap' will not punish his Emancipation' teamWill Smith hopes that with the upcoming release of his film Emancipation', peopl...

29/11/2022

Gay pride march in Gqeberha led by learners

Gay pride march in Gqeberha led by learnersLearners and some adults took the streets to march on Saturday in KwaMagxaki to celebrate the LGBTQI community and g...

29/11/2022

Nickelodeon Africa announces SpongeBob SquarePants' in isiZulu

Nickelodeon Africa announces SpongeBob SquarePants' in isiZuluSouth Africans will watch their favourite cartoon TV show Spongebob SquarePants' in isiZ...

29/11/2022

Umkhokha' actress Hope Mbhele opens up about her Uzalo' role

Umkhokha' actress Hope Mbhele opens up about her Uzalo' roleTalented actress Hope Mbhele, who is known for playing MaBusi in Umkhokha' discusses h...

29/11/2022

WATCH: House of Zwide - Tonight's teaser E97 S2

WATCH: House of Zwide - Tonight's teaser E97 S2Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of House of Zwide and Catch the latest ep...

29/11/2022

WATCH: 7de Laan - Tonight's teaser E502 S22

WATCH: 7de Laan - Tonight's teaser E502 S22Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of 7de Laan and Catch the latest episode ever...

29/11/2022

WATCH: The Queen - Tonight's teaser E92 S7

WATCH: The Queen - Tonight's teaser E92 S7Don't miss out on what's happening tonight's in The Queen and Catch the latest teaser every weekday at...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E496 S22

WATCH: Muvhango - Tonight's teaser E496 S22Don't miss out on the latest drama in Muvhango! Muvhango episodes airs on SABC2 from Mondays to Fridays at 21...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Imbewu - The Seed, tonight's teaser E165 S5

WATCH: Imbewu - The Seed, tonight's teaser E165 S5Catch up on what's going on to night on Imbewu. Episodes of Imbewu air on e.tv from Mondays to Fridays...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Uzalo - Tonight's teaser E192 S8

WATCH: Uzalo - Tonight's teaser E192 S8Don't get left behind, catch up on Uzalo now! Episodes of Uzalo air on SABC1 from Mondays to Fridays at 20h30. b...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E157 S3

WATCH: Gomora - Tonight's teaser E157 S3Don't miss out on what's happening on tonight's episode of Gomora, and watch the latest episode every we...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E267 S8

WATCH: Generations - The Legacy, tonight's teaser E267 S8Keen to know what's happening on the latest episode of Generations: The Legacy?. Generations ai...

29/11/2022

WATCH: Diep City - Tonight's teaser E172 S2

WATCH: Diep City - Tonight's teaser E172 S2We've got you covered on what's happening tonight. Episodes of Diep City air on Mzansi Magic from Mondays...

29/11/2022

GENERATIONS: Tonight's episode, 28 November 2022 [VIDEO]

GENERATIONS: Tonight's episode, 28 November 2022 [VIDEO]Missed an episode of Generation The Legacy? No problem! Watch all the latest episodes of Generation ...