Love conquers all in Blend

Love conquers all in Blend

Monique January reviews a powerful story of an interracial relationship

South Africa’s historical racial dynamics still loom in the present in interracial relationships like Monique and Leonard’s and remain constant reminders of the past despite the fight to move forward.

Blend depicts a very real experience of an interracial relationship in South Africa. Director Ashleigh da Silva introduces us to a couple who met at a school science class. While Monique and Leonard may have come to terms with their own past, the entrenched differences they experience force them to negotiate and create a new future in a nation struggling to forgive and renegotiate its vision. Monique and Leonard’s pure love allows them to merge their complex social and cultural differences and become one.
The film captures two opposing symbols in action, the clash of love and entrenched racism. Both black and white people still find it strange to accept an interracial couple, even in this day and age! What stood out for me in the documentary is the different ways in which groups were surprised by the race mix and the way they reveal social hierarchies. Social media messages that Monique receive from white people compare to the remarks that Leonard receives from black people. Black is seen as the inferior race, which Monique should not associate with whereas white is seen as the superior race and are above Leonard’s standards. While both race groups receive the couple with some surprise, the film shows that the levels of acceptance come with different emotions and attitudes.
As a young person in South Africa, I appreciate this film as a synecdoche for a real exploration of interracial relationships in society and shows a desire for South Africa to move forward as a nation. But we find that freedom and embracement of difference is problematised when the majority of citizens are shackled by the ugly truths of racism. The couple are portrayed as pioneers who seek to set a bold, beautiful and educational model for other interracial couples in South Africa. That gives me hope. Afterall, love conquers all!

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