Charlize Theron is giving her children a taste of her South African heritage, but she says she’s being careful not to force her own ancestry on them.
The actress, 43, opened up about her family life during Friday’s episode of U.K. talk show The Graham Norton Show, which she appeared on alongside her costar Seth Rogen as well as Matthew Broderick and Zac Efron.
“I have taught them a little Afrikaans, but it’s a language filled with very conflicted history,” she shared. Theron was born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, which ended when she was a teenager.
“I am raising two beautiful proud black African girls and I want them to find themselves and not necessarily push my ancestry on them,” she shared, adding that she has “taught them two very sweet Afrikaans songs about politeness.”
Theron is mom to 7-year-old Jackson and 3-year-old August.
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Theron previously opened up about grappling with South Africa’s history earlier this year, as she shared how much the success of the Marvel superhero film Black Panther affected her.
“I’m very much a white African who lived and thrived under tremendously dark circumstances and that really marks you as a person. Whether that’s your ideology or not, you’re living in it,” she shared. “When you’re young you don’t know anything different. You know something is wrong but you don’t necessarily understand the broad strokes of it.”
“It was very emotional for me to watch it. Yes, I have two young girls, two young beautiful, black, African-American girls — not from South Africa,” Theron shared during Variety‘s Actors on Actors last December. “But I had a very emotional reaction from it. I still do when I think about it because I cannot wait to share that movie with them.”
The Tully actress continued, “I said to myself, ‘I cannot wait until my girls are big enough to be able to share this with them.’ Because it’s so much more than whether you’re from Africa or whether you’re African American.”
“It’s such a bigger thing than that. That movie broke so many glass ceilings across the board. Not just the fact that there are women in power and they’re black, beautiful, strong, African-American women, African women,” she added. “My children are going to benefit from that [and] I got something cathartic out of that. As an African woman, as a woman just in general. It’s so empowering to watch that movie.”
The actress previously revealed that given America’s current social climate, she’d considered raising her children outside of the United States.
“Racism is much more alive and well than people thought. We can’t deny it anymore. We have to be vocal,” she told Elle last May. “There are places in this country where, if I got a job, I wouldn’t take it. I wouldn’t travel with my kids to some parts of America, and that’s really problematic.”
She added, “There are a lot of times when I look at my kids and I’m like, ‘If this continues, I might have to [leave America].’ Because the last thing I want is for my children to feel unsafe.”
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